Dance musicality is how dancers hear, interpret, and dance to music. Dancers can demonstrate dance musicality in several ways – which sounds they choose to dance to, how they highlight the sounds, how they emote the mood of the song. Check out these 2 pieces to the same song that are completely different in both style of dance and musicality choices.
1. Superstar (Aluna George) – Charles Nguyen
2. Superstar (Aluna George) – Chris Martin
Do you hear/see the differences in Charles and Chris' dance musicality? Everyone listens to music differently, and as a result, dances differently. Now, watch these 3 pieces to the same song.
1. How Many Drinks (Miguel) – Carlo Darang
2. How Many Drinks (Miguel) – Pat Cruz & Aggie Loyola
3. How Many Drinks (Miguel) – Law Devera
They're all so different, right? And dope, in their own ways. This is because Carlo, Pat and Aggie, and Law listened and choreographed to the song using their own musicality. In addition, great choreographers also have unique ways of moving to music that bring out sounds you might not have heard when you’re just listening to the song. For example, were there any sounds in the videos above that surprised you? Now, you'll never be able to un-hear it!
Choreographers utilize different ways of execution, timing, and textures to portray how they hear the song. Not sure what textures are? Read this: What Are Textures In Dancing?
If you are familiar with the different sounds that make up a song, then you'll know how to execute moves to better portray those sounds. In order to do this, let's study some basics of music theory.
We use an 8-count to break down the structure of the music. In dance musicality, the 8-count is sort of like a map to know when you do a certain move. For example, if a choreographer says that a move executes on "the 5," you're going to count into the music: "one, two, three, four, MOVE."The counts in between – "and" counts – are used to mark 16 counts. "one and two and three and four."
Add an "e and" to mark 32 counts "one e and uh, two e and uh," which splits every count into 4s.As a result, there are more markers in the music – so we use the "and"s and the "and e"s for faster-tempo pieces.
All right, so we got the gist of the timing. Now, what's going on in those counts? Let's give those "sounds" a name.
(*We're not going into every single sound found in the history of music! Just the basics, so as not to overwhelm or overcomplicate.)
You'll discover different combinations of different sounds in layers and layers of any song. Get used to dissecting music so that you can name which sounds are what!
You'll start to see patterns of sounds as you keep studying a song. Maybe there's a bass on each odd count, and a snare on every even count – "boom ka, boom ka" Paying attention to those patterns will get you even more fluent with dance musicality.
Since each texture has a different look, it can match a different sound. For example, a move that’s quick and sharp better matches a snare (“ka!”)
While a move that’s more rounded, resistant
looks more like a long bass. (“boom~”). Because your body needs to understand and movelike the sound, experimenting with different textures is the key to great musicality.
Bianca Vallar from Choreo Cookies puts it beautifully:
“Textures are like dynamics and musical articulation in piano. They accentuate the music and match the changes and flow of the song, as well as add performance technique to a piece. Textures can be staccato, sharp, fast and direct to the point. Or they can be legato, smooth, and flow with the melody. And textures all depend on your interpretation on how you hear the music and wish to portray that to your viewer. Dancers are physical interpretations of music and textures allow people to see the music more clearly.”
In conclusion: to have great dance musicality, listen to the music, and match your textures to those. We hope that this helped you understand what dance musicality is, as well as how to dance with dance musicality! Share this article with a friend or your team!