General Dance Discussion > What comes first for you, the music or the dance?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by toothlesstiger, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Several years ago my late husband and I were on a dance lesson with a visiting coach (that was back when I was still hoping that we could accomplish something together as an amateur couple), and my husband's complaint was that I was off time and not with the music. The coach looked at us dancing to music together, and he told us that a) my husband was slightly off time and b) I was on time with the music but not with him. The directive to me was that my first priority should be sticking to my partner's timing regardless of whether or not he is on time with the music.
    opendoor likes this.
  2. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    The music to me makes all the difference in the world. I would dance the same cha cha routine differently from Empress Orchestra to Tito Puente.
  3. Nikita Sunshine

    Nikita Sunshine New Member

    The music!!
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Nikita! :)
  5. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I'm responding to this post, since the original was not as focused.

    For about 25 years, I had been brainwashed by my wife that I had absolutely no sense of rhythm and could never possibly ever learn to dance, though it eventually turned out that she had no clue how to teach. I got started with dancing as something that we could do together. I continued after a devastatingly traumatic experience as a challenge to momentarily divert my mind from my life. After I had been repeatedly praised for "having a natural sense of rhythm", etc, I continue mainly because it is my social life.

    Beyond the "what got you started" question:

    I did a lot of Lindy at first and I do very much like to listen to big band and early jazz music, always have. I've slowed down too much for much Lindy that's played, but still love the music.

    I am much more confident in WCS, but know next to nothing about the music I'm dancing to. I would not want to listen to most of it as a listener (before dancing, I had been a listener for over three decades; two different experiences), but when I'm dancing I do connect with it and play off of it accordingly.

    I enjoy listening to some salsa, but not as much as with big band. However, while we considered the music in the swing classes as "additional confusion factor", the music in salsa actually helps to bring everything together, such that trying to dance to the music actually makes it easier.

    Country dancing is fun. I don't like the music (don't hate it either) and I would not listen to it, but the dancing is fun.

    So then, we like to listen to some music and we like some dances. And when a dance is to music that we don't like, we can still work with it within the context of the dance.
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That really is a touching statement !
  7. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    For me it has always been about the music first. My mom was a musician, and growing up there was ALWAYS music on, and she was always moving to it. It could be conducting (in the car or otherwise), car dancing, or dancing around the kitchen, or wiggling her toes in rhythm when nothing else was possible. That got passed on to me. Even without knowing how to dance, it was still music-inspired.

    TT, what you noticed about the music being a prop in ballroom is something that I noticed as well, and generally bugs me. I figured it was just because I didn't know enough about it to be attuned to the subtleties...which is also the case, regardless of anything else. It was something that bothered the hell out of me years ago when I was trying to learn BR--I could feel the music, and feel how it needed to be danced to, but I couldn't do it. It killed me. (Still does, actually.)

    Sometimes I wonder if that's part of the reason why AT clicked so strongly with me. With AT it is absolutely about the music first. Musicality is taught and encouraged from the very beginning; I've heard (directly and via stories from others, perhaps apocryphal) teachers tell students to find ways to be musical from the very beginning, even if they didn't yet have the technique. Try anyway. If your musical bit is ugly right now, well then make it uglier! Go for it! I rather like that attitude.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    IMO its a bit like asking which is more important in a ladder the rungs or the uprights....

    the music has to move you...
    chomsky likes this.
  9. aaah

    aaah Member

    I have always preferred the music and prefer music that inspires me. Recently I have done alot of research on Tango particularly on how it is done in Argentina and come to find out that many Argentines feel that outsiders can never really dance Tango with the passion and absorbtion it demands because they do not understand the lyrics and the story behind the music and so cannot possibly feel the same or dance the same.
  10. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    elitist horsepuckey especially if you speak spanish and do some reading
    danceronice likes this.
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Also horsepuckey if you speak to some other Argentines who don't feel that way. Or speak to anyone who has ever enjoyed music, the lyrics to which they don't understand, or has enjoyed art without having an intellectual understanding of it.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  12. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    this may not be answering the intended question, but responding to the title of the thread:

    having a conducting background well before i started dancing, the idea of correlation of movement to music (tempo, dynamics, attack, sustain, release, overall lyricism, etc.) was already ingrained in me, albeit in the other direction. so for me it's very natural to me to have my choice of movement, figure and styling to reflect directly what i'm hearing in the music.

    becoming a DJ, i had to come to grips with the fact that some people would be completely content doing figures to a metronome, and nuances of songs to which i would prefer dancing are lost on a lot of dancers. there's no right or wrong about it; it is what it is.
    chomsky likes this.

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