How to work on musicality for dance
This might be the best exercise you can do to improve your musicality. So while you want to know what I'm talking about, let me ask you this question.
Can you dance exactly the same way you listen to music?
This question is very important for the subject today.
To illustrate my point, Here is an example: I remember some years ago when I was at Yugson's place, he invited me to have a quick jam. Yugson, for people who don't know, is one of France's pioneers in the underground scene.
So he put on the music, we started dancing, and then he analyzed what I was doing.
I started dancing, and then he stopped the music and said, okay, I'm going to put on the music again. Listen to the song. I started listening to the music, and he said, okay, can you hear this? Can you hear this on the music? I was like, yes, I can hear that. He said, all right, that's good.
Now try to dance and take what you are hearing. I then tried to catch the things I was hearing, but for some reason, I couldn't because he was trying to pick some very subtle beat in the music, things that were not
the most obvious.
He stopped the music once again and said I'm going to put the music; listen carefully. I said okay. He put the music back.
And then he asked, okay, can you hear this?
I was like, yeah, I can hear that. I understand this, but I struggled when I had to do it with my dance.
At that moment, he taught me a big lesson.
What I was listening to, I could not execute flawlessly.
My listening was in advance to my way of moving. I understood that this was something that I needed to work on because there were so many things, very subtle things, that were happening in the music. I couldn't catch them. I became obsessed with this, and I tried to find a solution to get better at this.
So, every time I was on the train or even when I was training, I put on the music and then started listening to the music and tried to dance with my fingers.
That was the first thing I started to do. I was not moving my body, just my fingers.
If I were dancing for real, I would catch the beat this way. So I was practising this. This is going to be the first exercise.
Even if you are an advanced dancer, you can still do this. Put on the music, start dancing and play with your fingers to check how you listen to the music and how you would play.
You can have many different vibrations with your fingers. You play whatever you want. You do it however you like. So I'm going to show you an example of what I would do If I were only dancing with my fingers.
That would be the first step. This will help you check how you listen to the music and make it more physical because when you listen to the music, you might hear a lot of things, but the moment you start hitting them with your fingers, it's more like you can actually see the beats more because you can't catch everything with your body yet, but you can play with it with your fingers.
And I was doing this all the time. Playing and trying to catch the beat. If I had the crazy musicality, I would do this; I was always having fun doing this.
And then, I started to move to the second step.
If I can play the music with my fingers like this, I can catch the music so easily with my fingers because of this short distance.
It doesn't require a lot of control to move my fingers precisely on the music. But moving my entire body to the music requires much more control.
If I do that with my fingers, how can I start integrating it into my body?
I started doing minimal movement. And then, I started transferring the same energy in my body, hitting the beat with very small movements.
And I was gradually integrating these into the exact way of listening to the music. I could start implementing it in my body, and I was doing those small movements, starting with my fingers and transferring this energy, this same musicality in my entire body, but I kept it small to make sure that I hit everything.
I'm going to show you an example of this as well. You can better understand what I'm talking about, and then I will give you more details about this.
If you start slow, if you start small with your fingers, just to better understand how you listen to the music, you can now see how you are listening to the music. And now you start transferring this in your body because you start dancing, but everything is small and starts being integrated into your dance much more easily.
And this is where I was struggling because I wanted to dance the way I usually dance, but I was trying to hit the beat the way I listen to the music, and I was struggling. It was like, all right, can you hear that? Yes, I can. Now do it. I can't. That was the struggle.
That was my approach to start understanding more how I listened to the music and how I could implement it in my dance.
The next step is the more I started to feel very comfortable with this. I began to transition to my natural way of moving.
I can make big moves, come back to slight movement, and still be very precise, so now I can hit the beat the same way. And I'm doing big movements as well. It's easier for me to do this now because I've gone through the step of understanding the way I listen to music.
Secondly, once I understand how I listened to the music, I can now transition to transferring this energy in my body and see how I can implement the same thing, even if it's small. Now I get used to hitting the beat the same way with my body, and then thirdly, I can do big movements and still be fine.
So I'm going to show you an example with the same music.
You can see the evolution, fingers, small movement, big movement.
Once you can easily play with all of them, it will be easier to replicate what you hear.
Many dancers have good listening but can't implement exactly what they are hearing.
Spend more time truly understanding what you listen to and how to implement it. By utilizing this, you can start seeing what you are listening to. When I'm doing this, I see everything I'm listening to.
Then I transfer it to my body and play with it, big and small. And that's not a problem anymore.
That's it for today; I hope you find value in this video.
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