Pietro Braga – Dancing to Timing vs. Dancing to Music | Tips from the PROs

Dancing is a real art, but what else is new? The crucial element that will turn your dance into an art is actually feeling the music. Now, hold on with your “I already know how to do that, I’m a professional dancer” attitude and listen .

In my first article I mentioned biomechanics, and what I look for in couples as a judge.

What I am going to share with you in this article isn’t me bragging and boasting about my lectures, teaching skills, or my accomplishments as a professional dancer. I want to bring to the table what I learned so that you can start thinking from a different angle about dance. I believe that thinking outside of the box actually  switching up the things you already know or that are new, and for me that introduces to the dance equation musicality and what it actually means “to feel the music”.

Now, I also believe that you might be confused with what you just read, so without further ado, let’s clear up that confusion.

Why dancing to timing isn’t enough?

Of course that if you just started training or are going to social classes, you first need to learn basic steps as well as how to count. Then, you learn to dance to timing. After that, you gradually work on the technique and improvement. So, dancing to timing is the first step on your way to becoming a dancer.

However, the thing is so many dancers never learn to dance to the music. I know that sounds absurd. But, if you think about that for a second, you’ll notice that many dancers only touch the surface of things, you know, and they overdo the performance. In their attempt to keep up with the timing and steps, they forget the basic meaning of the music – to let everything go. They just use their feet, not the core or hips.

When I see couples that dance like that, even A-level dancers, I get bored. They can have the best choreography in the world and great technique, but where’s the energy, the passion? I need; I want to see that. That’s why I am a strict judge. Dancing to timing simply isn’t enough to put a show on the dancefloor.

No matter how far you’ve come in dancesport, you mustn’t forget the importance of feeling the music. I know that you want to be the best, to give your best, but you’re doing it the harder way. Make things easier for you – feel the music, go with the flow, set your body free. You get the point.

That’s one of the elements of becoming a top-level dancer. When you master dancing to music, other elements (technique, coordination with your partner, creating your own style) will be a whole lot easier to improve as well.

Let the music be the leader of your couple

I know what you’re thinking: If dancing to music is such a great thing, then why not everybody’s doing it? The answer to that is simple – dancing this way is very hard. You need to be fast enough, like you’re ahead of the music. So, the second you hear the music, you respond to it. When you dance to timing, you’ll always be late to the music. Because by the time you hear it, you won’t have enough time to do a certain move.

It takes a lot of practice to teach your body to dance naturally. But, those who managed that, and those who are willing to do it, experience dance at a whole new level. That’s where the “real” dancing begins.

By saying this, I don’t mean to underestimate your effort and hard work. I’m just referring to what it means when you don’t follow all the rules, but instead, you create your own style based on the way YOU feel the music.

That’s the beauty of dance. We are all unique, and so are our ways of perceiving the music and dance. Also, our bodies are exceptional. What’s hard for you, may be a piece of cake for someone else. In other words, what works for one couple, probably won’t work for another. So, there’s no point in forcing everyone to dance in the same way. Besides, we would look like robots.

And this brings us back to the music once again. When you let the music lead you, you’re being brave and authentic. Your body becomes your instrument. You take advantage of gravity resistance, and use pressure to connect to the floor. You move from the center of your being, making every step live and energetic, while bringing in the passion. Your lady is also your instrument. Together, you can play with the music and have fun while creating a seducing performance.

When I see a couple who dances like that and who isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, that impresses me! That couple is so easy to notice in a room full of couples that dance to timing. They are so confident and natural, while their every step seems so effortless. They own the moment and the floor. They’re dancing!

So, to summarize what dancing to the music means:

  • You connect to the music;
  • You use your creativity and imagination;
  • You have fun while dancing because you feel so natural and confident;
  • You’re using your whole body;
  • You bring passion, energy and authenticity to every move you make;
  • You and your lady stand out from the crowd since you created your own style.

And once again, I’m telling you that dancing to timing is okay for beginners and those who are dancing for fun – there’s nothing wrong with that.

But, if you want more, you have to feel more. I hope this article gave you a new perspective and inspired you to unleash your energy to make a memorable performance.

Photography: hksportsfinder.hk


Pietro Braga taught social dance at only 16 years old and finished working for the WDSF. A man who believes there has to be a perfect balance between music and dance.


Tags: musicality Pietro Braga professional teacher timing

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