Dancing to Dubstep Music

West Coast Swing Online Footwork

Dubstep music is beginning to filter into WCS playlists. Although there aren’t many social songs that are pure dubstep tunes, dubstep sections are increasingly common in Top 40 music. Lots of routines are being choreographed to dubstep, so it’s very likely that an increasing share of the social music will include dubstep tunes in the near future.

From a dancing perspective, dubstep music encourages a lot of elements that are already present in Top 40 and hiphop music—it just pushes them to a further extreme. Remember to not lose the essence of the dance in your styling as you incorporate some of the elements below in your dubstep dancing.

  • Dance to major phrases. Dubstep music is even more uniform in its musical structure than pop music. Become familiar with your 32-beat phrases so you can identify the major accents.
  • Listen for song-specific accents. This is true for all music, but dubstep in particular has lots noises that repeat every phrase or every other phrase. If you actively listen for those elements during the first few musical paragraphs, you’ll be well prepared for the remainder of the song.
  • Use funky lines. Sharp angles and odd positions fit the mechanical, synthesized sound of most dubstep. If you need inspiration, watch some of the dubstep-based pro routines over the last few years.
  • Find volume contrasts. Dubstep, like most club music, tends to build relentlessly. Actively seek opportunities to lower the volume of your dancing so you have somewhere to go.
  • Let the beat drop. The “drop” is a major moment in dubstep. Either the instruments will suddenly burst into the song at the start of a phrase, or most of the instruments will go silent. The drop is one of the biggest moments in the song, so use that to strike a pose or set up a big hit at the end of a fancy pattern.
  • Play to the phrase. Because major phrases are so dominant in dubstep, use play to make the ends of patterns line up with the end of the musical phrase.
  • Use crisp isolations to acknowledge smaller accents. Most in-phrase dubstep accents will be sharp, distinct sounds. Save your smooth and fluid body movements for the quiet moments in the song.
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