What’s Old Is New Again

West Coast Swing Online Musicality

In our series on dancing to the music within Maroon 5’s Maps, we’ve shown off the high energy of the chorus and brought attention to the new phrasing of the vocals. But, there’s still more we can do in this part of the song!

Remember how the song began with a guitar accent? Listen again, and as you listen pay attention to how that accent keeps going during the chorus:

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

When the song was starting, there was almost nothing going on and so we had to dance to the guitar lick. As the song built up, we had new elements to acknowledge, so we changed our dancing. But now we’ve danced for a couple of phrases without mentioning the guitar. As a result, we can now show off another layer of the song and create contrast within our dancing by going back to the guitar.

Great musical dancers come back to elements strategically. If we had tried to dance to the guitar for the entire song, our dancing would look mechanical (and probably spastic as well). But, by letting that sound drift into the background and then pulling it out later, we remind the audience of what we heard, and we make the audience hear something during the chorus that they probably didn’t think about consciously. Using your dancing to make the audience hear something they wouldn’t otherwise notice is a powerful experience, and by coming back to the guitar strategically it’s easy for us to show that layer.

When we first danced to the guitar, we used body isolations. There’s nothing wrong with going back to that, but we’ve got more tools in our tool box. This time, let’s show that accent with a small level change.

As you are dancing to the chorus, listen for the guitar lick. When you hear it, use a small level change to show the sound. You can make a small rainbow during the accent: start at your normal height, rise slightly by going into a small relevé during the sound, and finish the sound by going back to normal height. Or, if you are traveling during the sound, you can go into your knees: start at a normal height, bend the knees slightly during the sound to go to a lower level, and then slowly come back to normal height during the next two beats. The rainbow option creates a light and relaxed look; the lowering option (when paired with movement) creates a driving effect. You can mix and match depending on where you are in the pattern when the accent hits. But, in either case, small and controlled is key!

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