Training & Knowledge
Here you will find some training tips and advice that can help improve your practice and or performance. From books I have read, to the most common questions brought to me by dancers. I will share my seventeen years experience as a teacher and dancer, and the practices that are the most important to me.
- Lana Williams
Timing & Ryhthm
In music, timing refers to the ability to ‘keep time’ accurately and synchronise to an ensemble.
In dance, timing refers to the accuracy of moving to the beat of the music.
“Can I keep in time with the music”? - hopefully yes.
In the context of dancing, and everything else, it is a sense of timing.
It is how we sense the duration of time between one moment and another. Rhythm, within dance, could be described as the groove between the beats; the subdivisions of time.
The interesting thing about rhythm is that it often gets mixed up with other characteristics of music, such as the beat, or timing, or style. These things are related to rhythm but are not rhythm.
Rhythm exists in everything. Natural rhythms guide all that we do – our very existence. Our breath and heartbeat are constant reminders of life’s pulsing rhythm that moves within and around us.
A sense of rhythm is a uniquely human characteristic. The sense of rhythm -- also known as the beat -- is so fundamental to humans that we recognise patterns in music even without paying any attention or receiving any training.
- Fleur Bouwer (Music Cognition scientist)
Remember, good timing is what keeps us accurately on the beat and in time with the music. But the rhythm is what happens between the beats.
How will training timing and rhythm improve my Lindy Hop and Jazz dancing?
The more you practice and fine tune your ear to timing and rhythms, the easier you will find it to interpret complex Jazz rhythms into movement. Leading to better improvisations in both Lindy and Solo Jazz.
The better your sense of timing, and the greater your understanding of YOUR rhythm. the more comfortable you will feel dancing Jazz with your entire body, not just your feet.
Whilst timing is universal, precise and regulated, the feel of our rhythm is unique. One fundamental of Jazz dance is its’ freedom for interpretation and improvisation. In order to achieve this, we as dancers must find our own sense of rhythm. Not our teachers, or our fellow dancers - our own! This will bring us closer to finding our own sense of style and groove in our jazz dancing… not the latest swing out variation, or a solo Jazz styling class.
Dancing the Lindy hop with good timing is executing your ‘rock step, triple step’ in time with the music. But dancing the Lindy Hop with rhythm, is about what is happening between your ‘rock’ your ‘step’ and your ‘triple step’.
This is what I call 'The space between’.
The Space Between has become the foundation for all my Solo Jazz classes. This is where I believe true Jazz is found.
Q. What is my top training tip for timing & rhythm?
A. Practising polyrhythms.
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