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Finding/hearing the beat
Posted by Helmut Licht
11/23/2013  4:29:00 AM
Don't get frustrated about trying to find the beat. I have played for dancers for decades and see it all the time.
Even seasoned dancers lose their beat because they start talking while they are dancing, or they might have to stop suddenly to prevent running into other dancers, etc.
Compare dancing to music to swimming in the ocean. The waves are the beats. Your objective is to rise and fall with the waves (follow the beats). There are two ways you can accomplish that:
1. You can push yourself off the ground each time a waves comes along in order to rise with it - this is unnatural and odds are you will not be in perfect sync with the wave.
2. A much easier, relaxed and more natural way would be to simply float and let the waves lift you and lower you. Such as when you lie on an inflated air mattress. You become one with the waves and never think about 'now I'm going up, now I'm going down'.
So, instead of trying to hear the beat and then tell your feet to move (which takes time), simply sway your body gently back and forth as you listen to the music. Swing one shoulder forward, then the other. Suddenly you are swaying in time with the music. When you have accomplished that then work on moving your left foot forward whenever your left shoulder moves forward, and, bingo, you are stepping on beat.
The expression 'follow the beat' is inherently misleading, because following means something else has to happen before you can follow. It's that minute time delay between the beat happening and the dancer following it which causes him or her to step 'after' the beat. Become one with the music, first by swaying your body, and then stepping out when one of the sways occurs.

Hope this helps!
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