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Re: why count eight beats when only four are neede
Posted by JonHamilton
6/4/2012  10:34:00 PM
It has been my experience as a teacher that 1) speaking of musicality, that music is conversational so where 1,2,3,4 might act like a statement, whereas 5,6,7,8 takes the place of a response! This would and could act as a musical phrase! This would be in regards to all 4/4 time signitures. And on another note 5,6,7,8 could be compared to 2,2,3,4, and 2) This idea of seperating 1-4 from 5-8 helps to create a number association with the step or foot that is used. For example, and in specific regards to Salsa, the 1-4 Man's part begins with his left foot dancing left, right, left on 1,2,3 and stays on the left foot through beat 4, sometimes kicking the right foot on "4", followed by 5-8 continuing with the man's right foot, dancing right, left, right, on 5,6,7, and stays on right foot through 8, sometimes kicking the left foot during "8".
This concept truly proves helpful to associate one number with one foot while associating a different number with the other foot. As in the example above, beat 1 danced with the man's left foot where a "5" beat would be danced with the right foot!
As far as Mambo is concerned...since the accented beat to step on is "2" of the 2,3,4 and..."6" of the 6,7,8 then beats 1 & 5 can be used to offer a primary hip action to physically note the beats held and not stepped on! For example, Hip,2,3,4, Hip,6,7,8

Waltz for example proves helpful to dance 1,2,3, 4,5,6 for a L,R,L R,L,R as opposed to 1,2,3, 1,2,3 to eliminate confusion! Of course all these ways are acceptable, however, some seem to prove more helpful than others, of course always depending upon the learning style of the individual student, which we all are!

When competing or performing it proves particularly useful when trying to maintain the focus of audiences and judges, all humans alike to dance "to the music" as opposed to dancing "only during the music" [sarcastic yet realistic], making specific physical changes when the music shares its changes! Phrasing! So you can make your changes every four beats or every eight! Either way, it becomes difficult to look elsewhere, when what you're doing is matching what is being heard, so that the audio and visuals aline! Especially when competing, your dance should look like it was choreographed to match specifically to the song that is being played!

Just sharing some ideas! Hope they prove helpful!
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