In March of 2018 I was able to spend a full day with WCS legend Skippy Blair. At the time of my visit Skippy had just turned 94 years old. Skippy was instrumental in naming west coast swing in the ...

Categories:
Musicality

In March of 2018 I was able to spend a full day with WCS legend Skippy Blair. At the time of my visit Skippy had just turned 94 years old. Skippy was instrumental in naming west coast swing in the ...

Categories:
Musicality

This video with Robert Royston and Melissa Rutz dancing a Jack & Jill at Grand Nationals was one of the most popular videos we shared on our facebook page in 2016. It shows WCS musicality at its fi...

Categories:
Musicality

Accents in the Chorus

October 15, 2014

As we continue dancing to Maroon 5’s song Maps, we’re discovering ways to express the layers of music within a song. Last week, we turned up the energy for the chorus. Now we’re going to dive into ...

Categories:
Musicality

The Chorus

October 8, 2014

In this post, we are going to continue dancing to layers of music in Maroon 5’s song Maps. The chorus is the first section of the song that has a high energy level, so let’s find out how to express...

Categories:
Musicality,

Repeating the Intro

September 17, 2014

In Maroon 5’s song Maps, we started the dance extremely quiet, with a few subtle body movements to acknowledge the guitar. As you listen to the song, notice the shift that happens when the introduc...

Categories:
Musicality,

The Quiet Intro

September 10, 2014

In the first part of this series, we listened to Maps by Maroon 5 in order to build a mental picture of the song. Now, it’s time to start breaking down the song so that we can dance to the layers. ...

Categories:
Musicality,

In a partner dance, it’s easy to be pulled off time by your partner. The pro dancers, however, have learned to use their bodies to adjust so that their feet can maintain the dance’s rhythm. In this...

Categories:
Musicality,

Hearing More in Music

February 5, 2014

What should you listen for in music? If all you know is the where to snap and the chorus line, you’re missing a lot! Last week, NPR published 4 Ways to Hear More in Music, which is a great summary ...

Categories:
Musicality

When we dance, we generally think about timing in terms of beats of music or large subdivisions of the beat: & counts or &a if we're being really precise. But humans can be much more accurate. J...

Categories:
Musicality

Why Upbeats Swing

December 4, 2013

If a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes a video is better than any number of words. In this live performance, the swing and jazz musician Harry Connick, Jr. gives an audible demonstration...

Categories:
Musicality

The last post in this series compared the chord progressions in blues music with pop music in order to explain why some songs are built with 32-beat paragraphs, or major phrases, and other songs ha...

Categories:
Musicality

A Two Beat Dance

November 14, 2012

Although west coast swing is composed of six- and eight-count patterns, the actual dance itself is a two-beat dance. Every movement in west coast swing goes through a downbeat-upbeat pair. Those pa...

Categories:
Musicality