Story Time – Change gon come

I’m married! For anyone who didn’t already see, I married the love of my life on February 17th 2024. It was one of the best and most beautiful days of my life.As we all know, first comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes a potential name change! (Sorry, no babies right now 😏) It was an easy decision for me to want to take my husband’s last name, and I’m proud to do it.

But holy smokes…. The PROCESS to change your name…… SHEESH!! It is not a one and done kind of thing. There are multiple steps and waiting periods between those steps before you can officially settle into your last name.

I’ve officially gotten it changed with Social Security, but I still need to update my passport, driver’s license,vehicle title and registration info, voter registration information, update my name with USPS, update my bank accounts, get new credit cards, and finally update ALL my other personal accounts…. Bruh! So many steps to truly finalize my name change.

But thus is life though, right?

In order for anything to change, it’s going to take multiple steps. Think about something in your life that you’ve wanted to change. Maybe you want to get a new job. Is it just a matter of applying somewhere and suddenly you’re hired? Of course not! Although that would be nice… But no, you probably need to update your resume, search for job openings, apply, receive many rejections, get a first interview with one of the companies, not get the second interview, apply to more jobs, interview some more, then you FINALLY receive an offer. (Be sure to negotiate!) All of that might take several months. It can be so easy to feel deterred within that process and just give up.

But any big change worth anything is going to take time and a lot of action.

If you want to change something in your life, here’s what you’ve gotta do:

  1. Make a list of the necessary steps (which might include habit change)
  2. Take each step, one at a time
  3. Trust the process and keep going
  4. Assess and adjust steps as needed

Of course, I’m over simplifying. But that’s what it boils down to. Make a plan, execute the plan, and down give up. Understand that in most cases making a change is not going quick nor simple. Like me changing my last name – it might take a while year before I get through all those steps. But for me, it’ll be worth it.

So be patient and trust the process. Keep going…. You’ve got this!

Dance Tips – The PreGame tactics you need before taking your first ever dance class

OK, you’ve finally decided after a few months(or years) of watching dance videos on the internet that today is the day you will take your first dance class. You’ve actually made your mind up a few times but you chickened out because you just don’t want to embarrass yourself. However, tonight is the night you hold yourself accountable. 

Well, we have a few things to help prepare you for your 1st experience. 

First Order or Pregaming – Embracing Your Nerves 

Nerves will always be a factor in most first experiences. As instructors we are aware of this and we want you to understand that it is completely normal to be nervous. This happens because we want to make great first impressions or not make a fool of ourselves. 

Pregame Tatic- Take several slow deep breaths and embrace being human

Please understand that if this is actually your 1st dance class ever you won’t need to evaluate your performance as a professional. Do not set an expectation or compare yourself to a professional dancer. Professionals train for several years and have taken several thousands of classes. With that said, take the pressure off of this experience and recalibrate your perfectionism to enjoy your first time. If the class that you are attending is a beginner or level 1 class then the instructor has prepared meticulously to guide you through what you need to know. Therefore, trust the professionals that have prepared to instruct you. 

Second Order of Pregaming – Be Open-Minded to the Process

You are going to enter this dance class with preconceived notions about how to learn choreography. It is inevitable and that is also normal. However, be open to adapting or adjusting your plan in the moment. You are going to make mistakes and even turn in the wrong direction. Maybe even forget a few moves. 

Pregame Tatic – Listen to your instructor

Watch your instructor closely. Move more than you think you are moving. If they are singing, sing with them. If they are using sounds, echo those sounds that match the movements you are learning. If they are counting, count with them. This is the major tool to utilize when learning choreography. Most instructors spend time preparing how to help you connect your movement to the music with no music while they are instructing. Therefore, they have to design how they deliver each count of 8 efficiently by making the sounds of the music or the lyrics to match to their movement as closely as possible. 

Don’t try to remember every piece of movement with your brain. Invest most of your energy into the movement you are learning and use the tool that all professional dancers use by saying whatever the instructor is telling you to say. It will seem silly at first but the faster you adapt to what the instructor is telling you, the faster you will get the rhythm or connect your movement to the song. 

Third Order of Pregame – Focus on you

Comparison is a thief of enjoyment. We all like to compare our journey to those around us to see if we measure up to the challenge. When we do that, we either confirm that everyone is struggling with you or we confirm that you are struggling the most which creates a negative experience. Whatever the results of this outside evaluation is when you do it, know that you are doing it as a distraction from a challenging moment. You either want to be a part of the majority or prove that what you are learning is a bit more challenging than you expected. And Maaaaaaybe you are considering that you want to quit. 

Pregame Tactic – Refocus and pay closer attention to what ‘YOU’ are doing

Adjust your focus at this point. It is easier to look around for false narratives that will not serve you. 

You are now at a point where you need to pay closer attention to your instructor because you will have to learn something you have never done before. Therefore, you study your instructor’s move with more intention, and ask a question if you are still lost. Most of the time, it is a transitional step or weight transfer that you missed that you have never seen or experienced. Again, remember it is totally normal to make mistakes. In fact, making mistakes in a beginner class is more normal than actually getting the choreography right. The objective of a beginner class is to help you reshape your movement to fit the choreography. Mistakes are inevitable in that process. So don’t be hard on yourself. 

Fourth Order Pregaming – Give yourself credit for showing up but also getting a few things right

If you are able to get everything correct in your first class then you will need to go to our level 2 class for a challenge. Meaning, you are not a true beginner. With that said, no true beginner gets everything right on the first week and sometimes even the 2nd, 3rd or 4th week. You are going to get a few moves exactly how the instructor intended, and in other sections you will be  unsure. 

Pregame Tatic – Celebrate what you are getting and work on the parts that are not yet clear

We have a tendency to label an entire experience as ‘I did horrible’ instead of actually saying I did some great things and there are other areas I need work in. That is the mindset that you should always have when taking your first dance class or learning something completely new for the first time. Be easy on yourself. We are going to miss a few steps while learning choreography but always remember it is not a reflection of the entire experience. Be able to recognize the raw truth about what you did well and then filter down to the next thing of what you could have done better. Then make adjustments or ask the appropriate question to help the instructor guide you through those rough patches. 

Those are our Pregame tactics that will always help you through your first time in a dance class or new skill you want to learn. We recognize that doing something new for the first time comes with a few mental barriers and we want you to get a head start so you can actually enjoy an activity you have always wanted to do. We hope you take these pregame tactics and apply them to as many 1st time experiences as possible. Why because it takes more than one experience to learn or become decent at anything new. After reading these pregame tactics you can enter a dance class with even more confidence that your first experience will be worth it. 

Dance Tips – How to make your movement dynamic with texture

If you were to hear a balloon pop, how would you mimic that sound with your movement? Maybe you might make a sharp chest isolation like it’s bouncing off a wall to come back. Or you may dime stop a movement. Now what if instead of a balloon popping, you stuck a small needle into the soft part allowing for it to make a hiss sound as the air slowly leaks out… Now what would that movement look like? Probably something slow, controlled, and steady in a downward or collapsing motion. In both scenarios, air was leaving the balloon. Both scenarios take us from point A (balloon full of air) to point B (balloon with no air). But the way you go from point A to point B in both scenarios is very different. And the same should go for how we dance! As a dancer, you would visually portray each of those balloon popping scenarios very differently. This is what we call texture in dance. In short, it’s how a move feels.

But how do you know what textures to create?

It’s all going to be driven by the music! 

Here are 3 steps to start creating more textures within your dancing:

1. First you have to know – What are you dancing to on that given move? Is it the lyrics, the base, hi hat, ad libs, etc.?

2. Now what does that part of the music sound like? Is it sharp and staccato? Is it deep and drawn out? Is it light and airy? Smooth? Gravely?

3. Once you can define what a specific part of the music sounds like, then you can create a feeling with your movement. How can your body mirror that sound? This is where your technical training comes into play; This is where you use your core and muscle control

Let’s go back to our balloons – The balloon pops. You can make a quick movement such as a rotation on the ball of the foot or an isolation within your torso to mirror that sound, and that might look ok. But let’s step it up a notch! How can you truly mirror that popping noise? How would you describe it? I would say it’s sharp! And it has a quick stop. So how do you create sharp movement with a quick stop? If you guessed with your core, ding ding ding! You’re correct! Press down into the ground and brace through your core so you can control that movement as it is quick and sharp and comes to a complete stop – just the same way that when a balloon pops, it happens quick and suddenly.

As an artist, there’s so many ways to interpret and shape sound. And the beauty of this is that you have the ability to make a viewer hear something and expereince music in a way that they’ve never heard it before through the visuals you’re creating. Adding texture will transform your dancing from just movement to a story that others can connect to.

So next time you’re in a dance class, level up your dance execution by figuring out how to create texture through your movement. Connect to the music and what you’re specifically dancing to and ask yourself, what does this sound look and feel like? And if you can recognize that some texture is needed, but you’re not sure How to create it, ask! Your instructor should be able to guide you to that feeling and give you the technical components needed to create it.

Dance Tips – Think Less, Dance more

The hardest part about learning dance is trusting your movement without thinking. Thinking when learning anything new is a natural reaction but any activity that involves movement is more successful when you do it intentionally instead of thinking through it. 

We have been taught to think and focus by deactivating our bodies so we can invest every ounce of our being into solving this zigsaw puzzle of movement that is bouncing around in our heads. No matter what the instructor tells us to do we have a tendency to revert back to figuring out what we are seeing with our brains instead of our bodies.   

There are many activities where thinking is more efficient than the actual activity we are performing. For instance, we 100% think faster than we can speak at times and we definitely think faster than we can type. Some people can solve math problems faster than they can write it out on a chalk board. However, when it comes to dance or anything where the foundation is movement, we should always invest in doing more and thinking less. 

I know this is easier said than done but dancing more or doing more and thinking less is a process. This won’t happen over night so I have a few tips to help you improve your process of becoming more of a dancer or do-er than a thinker. 

First thing first, if you are learning dance, pay attention with your body and your eyes simultaneously. What does that mean? As humans, we are great at coping visuals that we see, however, most times when a visual is in motion we try to record it with our eyes as if it is going to automatically download from our brains to our bodies. Next time you are learning choreography or movement, use your eyes to see the movement as it is happening but don’t think it through, do it. Immediately use your body to copy what you are seeing to the most microscopic detail from feet to head and use your eyes to correct what you see in the mirror if it does not mirror the instructor’s movement.  

Secondly, check the postion of the instructor’s feet. Are they under the hips or outside of the hips? Are their toes pointing out like a turn out, facing inward or facing forward? Are their heels lifted? Are their toes pressed into the floor? That is how detailed you should be and as you are moving you should make those adjustments and log how they feel within your body. 

Additionally, after you have figured out their feet, you should then work your way up to their hips, then their torso, their hands, and finally the position of their head. 

The third thing as I alluded to above is becoming familiar with how the movement feels. After you have corrected what you see, then tune in to how the movement feels. What is your core doing? Is it engaged or loose? Are you hinging are you not? Where is your weight or location of your hips, torso or upper body in relation to your feet? This has never failed me. If you can feel what you are doing then you have a very high chance of remembering the movement without using your brain. From my experience, it is the most effective way to remember choreography. 

The fourth thing to employ while learning is to quiet your mind by using the sounds of rhythms, instruments, counts, or lyrics of the song the instructor is verbally sharing to get you connected to the music. It will help to drown out your own thoughts of uncertainty and will teach you to find a connection to what your are doing more efficiently.

Lastly, If you are still having trouble connecting these things after a couple times of trying and correcting, ask the instructor to clarify. That is what we are their for. I guarantee that 6 other students have a similar question that they are shy about asking or dont even know that they needed clarification. Asking a question will also help you to settle your internal frustrations and get you back on track with what you’ve learned so far. 

Yes, we all have memories, some are good and others are not the best. I believe and know that some of us have the capacity to remember 16 counts of 8 without moving but if you can’t perform it physically in a dance class it is counter productive. We can’t learn choreography by just utting the puzzle together mentally, we have to actually take our bodies through the routine physically. Building a physical memory through repetitive movement and associating that movement to how you feel creates a more dependable memory in a dance class. Those methods of remembering choreography are more accessible at the speed of movement than trying to remember a series of movements with multiple transitional steps. 

Taking these things and applying them in class will not happen at the snap of a finger but if you listen to your instructor(aka known as us) we echo these tips multiple times in every class. You just have to do your best to use what we are sharing to get out of your thoughts and into your body as well as your feelings. Take one class experience and apply one of these tips at a time until you gradually become less and less dependent on what you remember and more about what is happening when you are moving. It sounds complicated but it is the simplest form of learning dance that I know will help you be the dancer you’ve been waiting to see emerge when you are fully performing what you have learned. You will appreciate class experience more and most importantly you will enjoy dancing more.  Now go do it. Think about it after. 

Dance Tips – 3 Mistakes we see new dancers make (and what you can do about it!)

We get it. Taking a dance class for the first time can come with a host of different emotions… excitement, nerves, curiosity, apprehension… You’re gunna feel all the things!

And in all of our years of teaching dance, we see new comers tend to make the same mistakes over and over again.

IMPORTANT! If you’ve ever made any of these “mistakes” as a new dancer, no judgment! This is a learning process and all you can do is continue to grow.

So as you get ready to take your first class, we want to help you steer clear of these 3 mistakes:

1. Stand in the far corner of the room 

Yes, we can still see you! As much as you may try, you can’t “hide” in the back of the class. By trying to hide behind others or putting yourself in the corner where you can’t see yourself in the mirror, you’re already setting yourself up for a more challenging class (real talk). 

→ Better option – Stand where you can clearly see the instructor through the mirror as well as yourself. This will allow you to not only see the movement the instructor is demonstrating, but also watch yourself at the same time so you can more easily see things you may be missing and make corrections as you learn. 

2. Not go “all in”

Sometimes as humans, we think it’s better to just dip our toe in to first see if the water’s fine when approaching something new… Trust us, the water is a perfect 82°… Jump in!! Lol But in all sincerity, when you let the worries of not being perfect or looking silly get in the way of you fully immersing yourself in the learning process, you’re not giving your body the opportunity to feel the movement and get comfortable with it.

→ Better option – Get out of your head and trust the process! If the instructor tells your to count the rhythms out loud, do it… Loud and proud. If you’re instructed to hinge at at the waist and bend your knees, you should not only be changing your level by 2 inches… We wanns see you get low! Stop watching, start doing! Commit to the process. 

3. Quit after one class

We understand that sinking feeling when you go to take a dance class, hoping for the best, but leave feeling like you failed because you didn’t get all the steps. It can be so easy to think that dance is not for you and to never try again.

→ Better option – Focus on why you wanted to try dance in the first place. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take in a class because you grew up watching music videos and wanted to dance just like those artists and their backup dancers. The reality is that those artists and backup dancers all started right where you are! They all had a first dance class experience where they struggled to learn the choreography. But they kept going in order to get to the level they’re at today. We know you might not want to be a professional dancer, but instead of viewing the challenges you experience in a first class as a failure, we encourage you to look at it as a huge success. That first class was literally the first step onto you becoming the dancer you truly want to be. But the only way you can become that dancer you visualize in your head is to take that second step by signing up for another class. Give yourself the opportunity to suck. It’s going to happen, and it will be okay, because your instructor is there to guide you through the process.

So what now?

If you’ve been thinking about taking your first dance class, be sure to:

  1. Stand where you can see the instructor and yourself
  2. Get out of your head and commit to the learning process
  3. Take at least a few classes before you decide if dance is for you or not

If you’ve already taken a class, and you made any or all of these mistakes, here’s what to do:

Give yourself some grace! There’s no need to beat yourself up. Try again. Sign up for another class and then see steps 1-3 above to help make sure that you walk out of your next class feeling accomplished. 

Dance Tips – 4 habits that make you a better dancer

If you’ve been feelin stuck as a dancer and are not sure what you need to do to progress, here are 4 habits you can create that make you a better dancer. 

We have been asked this question more than a few times over the years. Here’s how we became the best versions of the dancers we want to be and learn choreography more efficiently. 

1A – Pratice at home, or better yet, teach the choreography to someone you know, or most importantly, back to yourself

One of the most instrumental tools of getting better is practicing at home. If you can find 10 to 15 minutes within 24 hours at home to go over the routine you learned in class, it will help you improve your movement quality as well as your ability to learn/retain choreography at a much faster rate. 
Sometimes, we place a lot of pressure on learning every bit of choreography in class that we forget to focus on what is most important, and that is to dance. At times, there is so much over stimulation in class that you can miss key details or transitional steps that help the choreography to flow seamlessly. 

I can almost guarantee that when you  practice at home, you might forget a few steps at first…the rule of thumb is to practice within 24 hrs to keep the routine fresh in your body/mind. Every day or 25 hrs that passes without practicing a routine you freshly learned, you lose key sections of the routine, especially parts that challenged you in class. 

Taking yourself through what you learned helps you to find your blind spots in your learning process as well. If you can’t remember a step, it usually means you weren’t being intentional with your movement at that point, or you were distracted (in some capacity) and missed a few steps. One of the best tools to help you remember the routine is to teach it back to yourself or to someone you know if they are open to learning it. 

So teach your momma, your sister, your brother, your daughter, your best friend the awesome dance you learned if they are open to it. If not, pretend you are teaching it back to yourself, and you are your favorite student. 

2nd, aka 1B – Practice in the mirror

Sometimes, we believe that when we learn choreography, we look exactly how we feel. However, before you lock any movement into your body, take a second and dance in front of a mirror or even record yourself dancing so you can watch it back. I know that might make you a little nervous or anxious, but we promise it is the 1B to practicing at home. We cannot explain how many times we thought we were doing a move correctly or we thought we were giving full effort and the lie detector test determined that was a lie in the mirror or when we saw the video.

Though you shouldn’t go crazy over details, the mirror will help you adjust your body until you are familiar with how a move is supposed to feel, look, or flow. You will become more familiar with details like levels, what part of your body you are isolating, your hands, your angles, textures, etc… 

3rd – Use YouTube!

Ask questions about the origins of the steps and grooves you learned in class. Then, do some research on YouTube to find those steps/grooves and use the tutorial to sharpen your skills. Also, watch even more dance videos. 

We know you already watch dance videos if you love dance but continue to watch even more. If it’s a video you enjoy, then try to find the foundations we teach in class in the performance. Or if you see something you like, take notes or mentally make a note and ask us what the dancer is doing to achieve that visual or feel. As you learn from our instructions, it helps to see similar moves on other dancers’ bodies. Also, we learn so much when we are still and observant. 

4. Attend dance jams or dance battles or dance ciphers 

One of the most incredible tools that helped us in our own journey was going to multiple dance jams and battles. When you are able to see what you are learning in person from a spectator perspective, then it becomes more of a reality. It inspires you to keep working. Why? Because the energy of dance inspires you! The characters, execution, intention, and enjoyment of the art make you want to master your own movement. These jams or battles once happened with regularity in Buffalo, but it has fizzled out over the years. However, over the past 2 years, a couple of jams, sessions, and battles have been popping up all over Buffalo. We share them when they do, so pay attention to our social media accounts and attend one when we post them. We promise it will be extremely helpful. You might even see one of your instructors there.

If getting better is something you are interested in, then incorporating these 4 habits into your post class regiment along with taking more classes on regular basis will definitely build the dancer you see in yourself faster than just coming home and waiting for the next class. These are habits we live by, and if there were blogs that existed like this when we started, we would be even better than we are today. Just imagine that. Now it’s time for you to take these jewels and evolve who you are as a dancer. 

The Missing Piece – Dance Tips

You guys, something is missing…. 😬 We’ve seen so much growth in our clients dancing, technique, and overall confidence in your movement. But we’ve realized there’s a detachment between the dance and the song…

Are you CONNECTED while you DANCE?? What are you thinking about.. What are you FEELING? If you struggle with connecting to the music or your performance during class, keep reading… 👇👀

You are an ARTIST. 👩‍🎨 Yes, YOU! It’s your job to bring the movement to life and make anyone watching feel something.

So when you’re learning choreography, how do you make it your own to tell your own story?

➡️ You need to connect to the message of the song and the routine. WHAT DOES THE SONG MAKE YOU FEEL? What is the artist singing about? If the song goes, “You’re the coffee that I need in the morning,” could you imagine if the artist singing it was completely dead in the face as they sang?? 😧🫣 That would look insane! You might expect them to show a feeling of bliss or longing for someone. That’s because they’re connected to what they’re singing. And that’s exactly what YOU need to do as a dancer – Connect to what you are dancing to.

Here’s some practical tips to take into your next learning experience:

1. If you know what song you’re going to be dancing to in class, listen to it ahead of time – Yes, listen for timing purposes, but also just listen to take the song in. How do you feel as the music swells or as the vocalist sings? Even if you don’t have time to listen to this song ahead of time, make that a priority while the song plays during the class. Tap into the song! 🎵

2. Ask the instructor what the routine is about – Many times the routine might be inspired by the words of the song. But there should be a reason why you are dancing a given routine. If the song is about love, can you make up a love story in your head that goes with the movement? If it’s about a breakup, what would that look like emotionally? Tell your story.

3. It’s ok to be vulnerable. Our classes are an open space for you to be you or to try to tap into different characters. Try out different things. See what feels good.

Do you have any tools you use to connect to a song and perform in class? Let’s chat in the comments! 👇

Dance Tips – Dance through your Core

You may ask….What does dancing through your core even mean❓️😕

Let me explain!!! Take notes📝📋

The engagement or disengagement of your core muscles (pelvis, lower back, hips, butt, and stomach) determines the type of visual your movement depicts.

To have control over your movement, you need some level of engagement of your core. Like an athlete, it prepares you to move and execute or express specific movement with more visual accuracy.

When you dance through your core, you also create this term we use constantly in our classes – Groundedness. Groundedness is achieved through different intensities of core engagement. Once your core is engaged, you are able to manipulate textures as well as articulate your movement to shape what you are hearing or how you want to express it.

Now, there are different levels of core engagement. A slight engagement allows you to be soft and graceful. A stronger or complete engagement allows you to hit stronger beats or make a statement.

That is the beauty of dancing through your core when it comes to movement. Whether your core is slightly engaged or completely engaged, it allows you and your limbs to be relaxed enough to flow with your body. Even the complete release of your core creates a specific visual like a puppet detached from its strings. So think of your core engagement as the puppet master of the movement you create.

So, if you find yourself struggling to recreate the movement that you are seeing, it is most likely something you can’t actually see👀. That is the intensity of your core engagement. Once you understand the engagement level of your core, the rest is elementary.

Dance Tips – Don’t forget to actually DANCE

Hinge! Check your feet. Are you in the ball of your foot? Where’s your angle? Dang, it’s hot in here. Are you bending your knees? What was the step before that? Oh yeah, don’t forget to have fun!

Anyone else relate to these thoughts rolling around their head for the entire dance class? There’s soooo many things to balance when taking a class. It can be so easy to solely focus on making sure you have the moves “right.” And don’t get us wrong; technique is important. However, these are dance classes. So if you’re moving like a robot, are you actually DANCING?? (With the exception of actually doing the Robot Dance lol.) 

We want you to have the freedom to feel through your movement and make it your own. That’s what makes dance so special! It’s an expression of YOU.

So here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you’re actually DANCING when taking a dance class. 

1. Get loose – Relax your shoulders and bend your knees. When we learn something new, people sometimes have a habit of tightening up and becoming stiff. If you feel that happening, I want you to take an intentional, deep breath in, and as you exhale, let your body sink down and relax. Or even shake it out!

2. Don’t over think it – As you take that breath, know it’s OK to make a mistake. Going back to #1, I think we tighten up as a way of having control over an uncertain situation. It’s time to let go of that need to control how you look, cause it very well could be hindering your growth as a dancer. It’s time to get out of your head, and see #3.

3. Own your swag – You don’t need to look like anyone else in the room. The way you naturally move and feel the music is beautiful. We’re just there to give you a little structure with technique, but you still have something special to bring to your dance… YOU! So never apologize for or question your swag.

Next time you take a dance class, we want you to ask yourself, “do I feel like I’m actually dancing or just copying the moves given to me without feeling it?” If you check in and realize you’re dancing like a zombie, it’s ok; there’s no need to be heard on yourself. Just follow these simple steps…

Take that deep breath, shake your body loose, tell yourself it’s ok to not be “perfect,” and own what you’ve got right now!

Do you have any other tips you use to make sure you’re dancing in a dance class? Let us know in the comments below!

Dance Tips – WTF is Musicality & Where is Musicality Central

If you have not noticed, we named our dance studio Musicality Central, but we have yet to explain why that is. We as dancers think that the application and understanding of musicality is one of the most beautiful things that exist when you dance. It is such a perfect marriage between movement and music that it makes you question which one came first, sort of like the chicken or the egg conundrum. 

This blog is the day we finally help completely understand why we value musicality enough to make it the central part of our existence as dancers. (See what I did there)

Research shows that all humans possess an innate connection to music, just as they do for language. All off us can perceive and enjoy music, even if we can’t carry a tune or if we consider ourselves “unmusical.” Well with that notion, when you combine music and movement, you get this beautiful visual that shapes the sound you are hearing. That is musicality. Movement that shapes the sound that an engineer or a musician created which is made of a symphony of instruments and signature moments that also creates a vibe that the body cannot resist but then highlights within a metronomical sequence. That’s what we aim for as dancers/choreographers. We listen for any little sound within a measure we can amplify with movement.

I know that was a bunch of poetic jargon, but here is what I simply meant. Any song you experience on the radio is made up of drums, snares, strings (like guitar, or bass guitar), horns, flutes, etc. and any sounds that we are familiar or unfamiliar with in our everyday life. Such as a car horn, screeching tires, sirens, a door shutting, a door opening… Basically you can make music out of any sound. Now in dance, the beauty happens when we either choreograph or improvise movement that represents what that sound looks like. Yes we become a visual instrument that delivers that engineers creativity that was meant to be experienced audibly.

It is one of the coolest things to witness in person or in a video because it shows mastery of listening and moving simultaneously in a way that paints that sound with specificity. Once you experience a song where someone nails the musicality maybe once or for the whole song, you literally never listen to the song the same way again. It changes your whole perspective and experience of a song you may have known your whole life or a song you are hearing for the first time. 
You will notice that it is called different things in different scenes. A freestyle dancer is said to experience ‘blackout’ when they are one with the music or displaying incredible musicality. A dancer executing choreography with timing, precision, clarity, and character is visually captivating/revered on stage. A KRUMP dancer is said to ‘BUCK’ when they are spiritual and one with music, self, and worship. 

OK… OK enough about what it is. How can you get better at it? Well here are some tips. 

You Deconstruct to Reconstruct:

  • Number 1: Listen to an instrumental to one of your favorite songs. Yes, that is without the lyrics. Lyrics have a tendency to distract you from the beautiful layers that are a huge component of why you like the song in the first place. You just didn’t know that because you got so accustomed to focusing on the lyrics not the music. 
  • Number 2: Find the timing of the drums, the claps, the snares, other odd sounds. Is that instrument on the 1 count, 2 count so on and so forth. Then choose one or two of those instruments/sounds and move to them specifically without dancing to the others. 
  • Number 3: Practice switching from one sound to the other. Making sure your interpretation of that sound is different from each other. For example, a bass sound differs visually to a snare sound. Work on that long enough, and you will already be an advanced student of musicality. 
  • Number 4: Listen to the song with lyrics over the instrumental and choose what you want to dance to musically, and if you are really listening, you will realize that artists use how they say words to mimic the sounds of the music. So that alone should blow your mind. Now you can choose to dance to the music or the lyrics or both. It’s all a buffet of sounds to choose from as long as you can articulate clearly what the sound looks or feels like. 

I’m glad we could finally have this conversation about musicality and how to get better at and use it to your advantage. We sincerely apologize that it took us this long to share this with you given our name and all, but all good things come to those who dance with us… I mean wait. Use these tips or exercises we mentioned above, and you will watch a video of yourself shaping sounds that you never noticed in your favorite song then utter the phrase… ‘Dang my Musicality is Dope.’ Cause it is and you know why.  You can take that to the bank or Musicality Central. Corny but I had to do it.