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. 

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