Boca Ballroom - Dance Lessons, Discount Dance shoes and Dance DVDs and Videos



proudly presents

Scott's Dance Notes

1st Edition




    After teachingballroom dance for over 28 years, I find one of the most exciting things that people discover about dancing is musical interpretation-- meaning:

"What dance do I dance to what music?"

    I remember going through this very exciting stage when I first became a teacher. Unfortunately, I did not recieve a lot of guidance on the subject. What I did was listen to the song and try the basic step of each dance. If it fit, I figured it fit. And to some extent, that's true. The only problem was, this method did not define dance category or style. The best way I found to teach musical interpretation is this:

    I have divided dance and dance music into 3 categories.

(With the exception of Samba and Tango-they are a little different.)

    The categories are Smooth, Latin and Rhythm.

    You say to yourself "Is this a Smooth song like Foxtrot or Waltz? Is it Latin , like Rumba or Salsa? Or is it Rhythm like Swing or Disco?" Once you know that, you go to the subcategories. Say it's Latin... Is it smooth-flowing Latin, or choppy like a choo-choo train, short/ quick choppy, or even marching-like. And pretty much, you figure it out from there.

    For example, looking at Latin:

    • Rumba is beautiful flowing, like Latin waltz. Some American Rumba's would be (believe it or not) Bob Marley's song "Jammin'" or any Reggae song like that or Jimmy Buffet's song "Margaritaville". Just look for that flowing Caribbean or Latin feel.  good picture 2 cropped
    • Cha Cha has that chugga-chugga choo-choo feel, like Carlos Santana's recent song- "Smooth" or his old song, "Black Magic Woman" and other such songs like that. Remember- choo choo.
    • Salsa is the short, choppy one. I find experimenting with different Salsa music exciting. Like, for instance on the same Santana CD "Supernatural", there is a song called "Maria, Maria." I really enjoy this one.

    I guess I would say when it comes to music and what dance to do to it, don't be boxed in. There is a great big ocean of music to explore. Go swim in it.

    One thing I would say is - be an expert at rhythm and timing of dance. Make your dance rhythm and song timing as absolutely clean and crisp as you can. When you dance, you will either find yourself as an insider or an outsider to the music, meaning that if your timing and rhythms are crisp and sharp- you will become part of the music, an insider to the music. It's like the musicians say:

    "Good dancers are music with flesh on"

    good picture 1 cropped

    .The only time you can see music -- is when people dance.

    Lastly, I would add that almost all music can be danced to. Experiment and Enjoy!

    Until next time, God bless and Happy Dancing- Scott.


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