Do you sit out the fast songs? Or maybe do the same dance, only faster when the music moves along at faster speeds? Learning to play with "half-time" or occasional "out of time" moments is a huge win for partner dancers. You do have to know the music timing very well, but this skill changes your fast song strategies and make them a joy rather than a workout for your partners.
[Going back to 2007]
A few weeks ago I'm teaching at an all day dance boot camps, and we take a break. We start the music playing so people can practice and have fun until "break-time" is over. The place starts buzzing with ladies trying out their new styling moves, and in a few minutes there are twenty couples laughing and having a good time on the floor.
I run over and turn off as many lights as practical, making it feel more like a club than a training studio. The next song on the play list was a smokin' fast salsa, with a very upbeat, happy feel.
I find this very attractive woman and ask her to dance, and she looks at me and says, "This is way too fast for me." I turn on my best, "It's OK, I'll take care of you" charm and gently guide her to the floor. She clearly wasn't thrilled but she looked resigned to getting through the dance.
After 30 seconds, her face lit up, and she started enjoying herself. Rather than doing a long series of intense moves, I did lots of simple moves, including some fairly complicated moves in slow motion (AKA "half time"; where you take 16 counts to do a move you would normally do in 8 counts). I was going back and forth between normal tempo moves for a few bars, then giving her time to catch her breath with a move that seemed slower too her, but was really just in half time. I watched her reaction and kept adjusting based on her responses.
A few times, I started into a pattern that fit the music, but we got behind the time, so I stretched the move out, ignoring the time for a bar or two, then restarting back in time at the next logical musical phrase. She said, "I always hated fast songs, since I feel like I can't keep up and guys just keep doing patterns and I can't catch my breath. This was more like making love with ebbs and flows..."
There is nothing like hearing a woman say, "great dancing is like making love." Well, it should feel that way...when we're doing it right.
I Didn’t Do Anything Special
I realized I didn’t do anything exceptional, but I approached the song differently than most guys. I established that I knew exactly where the time was, and then ignored it where it made sense. This allowed her to keep up, and when she was struggling I did some moves at half their normal speed. This included some fun, challenging material, along with easy, sexy moves to keep it interesting but also backing off if I saw her getting toward the edge.
With every partner, you should be looking for logical musical points to let them breath. When you are not dancing, listen to the horn soloists in the band, they do that all the time. They blast out a set of notes, making a musical statement, and then they take a breath before starting the next sequence. The make some blasts short and some longer, but obviously they have to breath at some points. The faster the song, the more important it is to break things up. Complex moves and patterns, followed by another complex sequence is like holding your partners head under water for the duration.
Most of us guys want our partners to feel like dancing is like making love; it should move between fun, playful, powerful, restful, and intense with a nice ebb and flow. On a faster tune, be sure to think about letting your partner breath in between your best moves. It'll make you best even better!
Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like
and give her a house.
Breaking In At A Congress Or Event
Dance Books by Don Baarns:
Music4Dancers: Free YouTube Musicality Series
This site and the Music4Dancers video series are supported by your donations. No other ads!
All contributions appreciated!
Connect with me:
Facebook.com/UnlikelySalsero ("Like" the page)
Google+ (Don Baarns)