Dancing Tips


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Did you know…

…there are at least 25 different elements involved in being a musical dancer?

Now, you probably don’t have the exact same level of skill and experience in each element of musicality.  

For example, you might do a great job of showing the overall feeling of a song while not being very clear with your rhythms (or vice versa).

So if you truly want to be a badass musical dancer…

…you’ll want to improve in all 25 elements because the more ways you improve your musicality:

  • the more musical you will be.
  • the more others will love dancing with you.
  • and the more you will love dancing!

Let’s dive into 22 of those elements and some easy ways to practice improving them.  See the timestamps for each element below this video.

NOTE: One of my favorite elements is the ‘Instantly Reacting (not predicting)‘ shown at 23:00.  It will show you one of the most awesome and underused methods of being musical.   

04:48 Different perspectives can improve your dancing in different ways
09:08 Energy Changes
11:13 Example Energy Change with hand
12:48 Volume Changes
15:33 Volume vs Energy Changes – How they relate and differ
16:47 Overall Feel of Different Songs – Emotion, Description, Story
21:46 Overall Feel within the Same Song – How it changes
23:00 How To Instantly Predict Music – so you can dance musically to stuff you’ve never heard
25:05 Creating A Story – pick a basic,  go outside of it & return, adjust it & return
29:40 Rhythm Timing
31:30 Benefits of focusing on one topic
32:57 Large Phrase Changes – A to B, chorus to solo, etc
36:56 Small or Subtle Phrase Changes – A to A, etc
38:19 Hitting the Horns, Pianos, & Other Surprises
39:09 Call & Response
40:56 Being Your Own Instrument
41:53 Straight (or Even) vs Swing (or Swung) Rhythms – when being your own instrument
43:51 Measure/Bar Repetition
44:42 Tension Builds & Drops – often the same as Measure/Bar Repetition
46:30 Choreography – Surprising Your Partner – or the crowd
48:17 Rhythm Texturing
50:04 Clarity of Rhythms
55:32 Contrasting Simple Versus Complex Rhythms
56:42 Contrast – in general
57:03 Breaking Down Specific Dances  – how well do different dancers dance in these categories… Are there trends based on styles?

MUSICIANS: I apologize.  Some of the words I use will not be the terms used from the standpoint of a musician.  Instead, they are meant to speak directly to dancers who may not have a musical background and so I use the words they commonly use (whether correct or not in musician terminology).  If you feel any of the words below should be changed, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.  

If you like this post… you’ll love our Dance Trainings… check them out below.


Want step by step drills to improve in any of the 25 musicality topics above as well as connection concepts and more?

Join Dance Ninjas Dance Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for improving your dancing.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.


Want step by step drills to teach your students any of these 25 musicality topics above?

Join Teachers Learning Teacher Training and you will have access to a growing library of over 100 tips, techniques, and concepts for teaching dance.  And if what you want to learn isn’t available, just ask for it and we will create it.

What elements of musicality would you add to this list?  Reply in the comments below.

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About the author 

Andrew Sutton

Andrew Sutton is a Vice World Champion Lindy Hop Instructor, and one of the original founders of the Fusion partner dance movement. He uses his extensive research in over 254 cities across 38 countries (& 44 dance forms) to help dance instructors be more successful in their teaching & finances during their pursuit to help their students...Make Every Dance Amazing!

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