The Last Choral Accents

West Coast Swing Online Musicality & Timing

We’ve spent a lot of time on the chorus of Maroon 5’s Maps because there is so much to show within our dancing. In this post, we’ll cover a couple of last, fast accents.

As you listen to the chorus, pay attention to the rhythm of the vocals during the second half of the chorus:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrP1o6DV5-g

Notice how there’s a really fast set of syllables: “following following following”? We’ve opened up our dancing in order to show the energy of the chorus, but we don’t yet have anything that specifically accents this moment.

Feet are great for hitting fast accents, so let’s change our footwork to hit these words. To speed up the footwork, we need to add actions, but we’re going to try to not affect the rhythm of the dance too much so we don’t force our partner to adapt to us.

If you are doing a triple step when the words “following” start, you can add an action that doesn’t have a weight transfer in order to create more noise. Syncopate the triple as follows:

  • On the & (before the downbeat!), take the first step of your triple. This is sooner than you normally would step, so be ready.
  • On the downbeat, use your free leg to do an unweighted kick or point. Keep your weight entirely over the previous foot, or you’ll get stuck in the next part.
  • On the next &, put your weight on the foot that just kicked or pointed.
  • On the upbeat, finish the triple with one last step.

If you did this correctly, you should have three weight transfers (&, & upbeat) and four actions (every count and half count through & downbeat & upbeat), and your weight should be on the same foot it would have been if you did a normal triple. This is a great way to turn up the energy on your footwork.

Followers: this syncopation doesn’t work when you’re spinning, for obvious reasons. The good news is that spins are already high-energy moments, so if your leader led a spin during this part, you are hitting the music with the pattern. You’re covered!

What if the words fall on a 1, 2? This would be a great time for quad rhythms: doing a ball-change on &1 and another ball-change on &2. Throughout the entire quad, think of keeping your weight primarily over the foot that your weight was on before you started doing ball-changes. You have four weight transfers, but because they are so fast you don’t have time to get your entire body over each foot. The ball-change allows you to put weight into the & counts but keep your body over the beats so you don’t look chaotic.

As you dance, try to add some foot actions to hit the “following”s!

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