how to improve musicality in dance

How To Improve Musicality In Dance

I have decided to do some research and write this article on how to improve musicality in dance, as a couple of my pupils had issues with their musicality in dance in their recent exams. Most of it I know is due to nerves, but I am sure many of you would like to know how to improve your own musicality in dance.

So What Is Musicality?

Musicality in dance is how a dancer expresses music in his or her body. If you want to know how to improve musicality in dance you must know that “Musicality is understanding music on a technical level, and then dropping all of that knowledge so you can sit deep inside the music,” “It’s dancing inside the music, as opposed to floating on top of it.” says choreographer Wade Robson.

Being on the music means that you reach the correct position on the appropriate count.  Being late or being behind the music means that you are not on time with the music.  Being musical isn’t about just being on time with the music, it is also the ability to hear subtle qualities and nuances within the music and then communicate it through your dancing.

If you are musical, you are enjoyable to watch. Dancers with absolutely no musicality are often stiff or seem disconnected when they dance.  They are also unable to show emotion in their work.

There is an essential connection between music and dance.

“Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance.” – Ezra Pound

“A strong but non-musical dancer is like a painting without any colors. I’d rather watch a musical dancer with less extension and not-as-pretty feet.” – Feijoo
how to improve musicality in dance

How To Improve Musicality In Dance

Dancers, be careful of taking your music for granted, or using it merely as a means of keeping time.  Next time really listen to it and see if it inspires or motivates you in any way.  What does the music make you feel?  These are the things that develop artistry and help you to become a better dancer.

Try to make out the personality of the music.  If it is loud and bold, make your movements bold and big.  If soft and twinkly, be delicate and light.

It is a proven fact that playing classical music to babies is very beneficial.  The earlier children are exposed to music, the better. Musical training and learning to read music can help you tremendously as a dancer.  Dancers who play a musical instrument have a greater sensitivity to the music.

At a minimum try and listen to music often to try and improve your musicality in dance.  When you listen to music, train yourself to identify the rhythm and allow your foot to tap in time to the beat of the music.  Clap the rhythm. Try to listen to different types of music, even music you don’t like and trickier syncopated and jazz music, as it will give your ear a different training.  Don’t get too used to one type of music.

Musicality helps to solve problems in dance too.  If you are battling to turn, for example, listen to the rhythm and accent of the music.  You may improve your turn simply by changing the rhythm or accent.  If you work on how to improve your musicality in dance, your dancing can only improve. Music can inspire you to get through a long and tough dance exercise, and when you run out of energy, simply ride the music and let it give you the energy to carry on.

Some dancers can hear the music, and for those who can’t, learn to count your music.  In a group dance, it is essential to count as it gets everyone moving in unison.  Some music, on the other hand, is extremely difficult to count and the dancer has to learn to listen to nuances, highs and lows in the music in order to dance in time.how to improve musicality in dance

Have music discussions in your class.  You have probably heard of ‘phrasing,’ but do you know what it is?  Phrasing is the way the music is organized within its measures.  In dancing choreographic phrasing is similar, as steps are organized within a musical phrase.  For instance – which steps move through the music, and which steps are syncopated, and which are on the beat.  The musical phrasing tells choreographers when a step should move quickly and when it should be stretched out.

A dancer needs a great sense of rhythm to hold the audience’s attention.  Each dancer can also do the same piece but it will look totally different as each dancer will have her own unique way of interpreting the music.

Musical Exercise For Dancers:

This one will definitely help you on how to improve  musicality in dance. First, find a song that you really like and listen to it as you normally would.

First, find a song that you really like and listen to it as you normally would.

Now play it again, but listen only to the drum.  Try to block out every other sound and follow only the drum through the entire piece.  Ask yourself if the drum changes or stays the same throughout the entire piece.

Now play the song a third time and focus on another instrument like a keyboard.

Repeat this exercise until you have followed each instrument in the song or piece.

Even if you have to listen to it ten times or more to go through all the instruments. Now listen to it normally again.  This will help a lot with your dancing, and you should be able to dance to rhythms you have never even thought to listen for.  This is an excellent exercise for all dancers to do.

After all, dancing is the joy of making music with your body.

I trust that the above information has helped you with your question of how to improve musicality in dance.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any other ideas on musicality in dance.

 

 

9 thoughts on “How To Improve Musicality In Dance”

  1. I’m very interested in dancing myself. Matter of fact my next goal on my bucketlist is to learn to dance and perform in front of people. I’m holding off on that until my current goals are finished.

    Anyways, yes dancer these days are making music for themselves. It’s almost as if dancers are using their bodies as instruments to create music. It’s just jawdropping and amazing to see these dancers “create” music with their bodies. Now it’s not about just creating motions with their bodies keeping up with the rhythm but be one with the music itself. It’s just purely beautiful.

    Reply
  2. Hi Michel. As I went through your article I felt like remembering something, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Suddenly it struck me. The way you explain Musicality sounds exactly the same as when I try to explain the way I feel while in meditation. It’s like being without being. You just let yourself immerse in the moment and time loses any sense. Great way to let us know what Musicality is.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Hi There
    I am not a professional dancer but I would like to say that I love dancing.

    Given that , I know understand from your article, the concept of musicality in dance.

    It feels completely different when you are in rhythm with a song when you are dancing as opposed to when you dance just for the sake of it.

    I like your lesson about dissecting a song by listening to each instrument and then going back to focus on another instrument.

    It is sort of getting your body and mind more comfortable and accustomed to the song so that dancing to it will become second nature. You will be more open to doing routines and grooving along. Am I understanding it correctly?

    Lovely article by the way
    Take Care
    Roopesh

    Reply
  4. I am not what you would call artsy by any means….or should I say what I think many people refer to as artsy.

    But as I read, re-read your article, it made more sense. I would probably use different words to describe what you are saying( and that’s because I am not artsy lol) but in the end, I know exactly what you mean.

    I never took drama or acting. Yet I perform infront of many people, whether it is one on one, in a small group, or in front of a large audience, and the common thing I find most when people love my performance, is that I performed from something, that I really believed in, I really could feel the words, and I was passaionate about.

    So I know what you mean when you say that musicality is more than just keeping time, it is sharing your story, it is allowing the audience to feel, what you are feeling at that exact moment……now that is musicality! 🙂

    Reply
  5. I found this post to be so interesting! I’m not a dancer, but I’m a musician and I can tell you that a lot of the processes you described, for getting into the music and really feeling it, apply to musicians as well. I think it’s just about being genuine with the connection of your emotions and the piece you’re performing. I can definitely see and feel the difference when I see a dancer or a musician who is actively connecting to the piece, it makes all the difference!

    Reply

Leave a Comment