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Timing, rhythm & music interpretation in Salsa

Timing Training Set$120

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Why is it so important?

In this site we try to offer a music tuition purposely designed for salsa dancers.

Learning how to move in tune with the rhythm and how to execute basic dance movements in correct timing is by far the hardest challenge for most salsa students. Salsa instructors normally can not afford to spend enough time on this subject in their beginners classes. Students are often too eager and enthusiastic to learn cool moves and to progress speedily to focus enough attention to music, rhythm and timing. However, without this component dancing loses its meaning. In producing our timing CD, timing DVD and in setting up this very site, our aim is to provide you with tools which you can use at home, with or without other salsa friends, to complement your regular salsa course. It explains many basic concepts of music in a practical, informal way. It introduces you to more sophisticated musical ideas, like accents, syncopations and musical interpretation. Finally, it leads you through a number of exercises designed to improve your timing and your confidence with different kinds of salsa music. If there was a university degree in salsa dancing, this could provide the lecture notes for Salsa Music 101 :) !!

I have been a musician for many years, and turned to dancing only much later in life. Instinctively, dancing for me was just an extension of playing music, with my body as an instrument. I was surprised at first to notice how little music training is included in most social dance classes. In my dance trips around the world I noticed that professional salsa instructors in NY, and to a lesser extent in Cuba, in general have a deep music awareness. It is no surprise that NY and Cuba produce among the best salsa dancers worldwide. Understating the music does make a difference to your dancing.

At the core of our timing CD and timing DVD are 4 main concepts.

  1. first, dancing out of time is not merely bad dancing, it is no dancing at all !! Rather, it becomes a strange physical activity more akin to gymnastic or acting. You may have a bad posture, no style, or know only a few boring figures, and still be a dancer. Without good timing, you are not a dancer.
  2. Second, there is more to timing than just following the beat, and executing the basic steps correctly. The rhythm structure of different styles of music is responsible for the difference between different kinds of dances. Understanding this allows us to interpret and enjoy the music to a deeper level.
  3. Third, our culture has a long established tradition in music teaching which has proved successful in training generations of musicians. Social dancing teaching makes little use of this tradition, which is a pity and, even worse, a real waste. In this video we include some basic concepts which are used routinely by music teachers to train your musicality as a dancer.
  4. Finally, whether you want to learn nuclear physics, modern philosophy or social dancing, you can not succeed without serious exercising. It is a cruel reality rooted in the biology of our neural system. Having a full time job or endless exams to prepare unfortunately does not change our biology. If you have troubles with timing, the exercises in our timing CD and timing DVD are a must, a bitter medicine which you just have to swallow for a while to cure your timing problems.

This may not be fun. You will not learn exciting moves, nor tricks to impress your friends. What you will learn from this will not show overnight. But with time, I guarantee it will make you a better social dancer. Your dancing will be more enjoyable and creative. And, very important for a social dancer, dancing with you will be more enjoyable for your dance partners.

Ultimately, what we aim at is to become part of the music when we dance. And being part of the music when you dance means understanding rhythm and timing but also its variations and the accents. With the help of our timing CD and timing DVD, this is what we try to achieve. We show you how to listen to the music, how to recognize the different instruments, how to understand their accents and how to coordinate your dancing to all these components. We will also suggest some ideas of how to decorate your dancing, and show you how beautiful simple salsa can be when dancers and the music become one.

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