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Round Dance Tips by Tim Eum—

Timing

We often try to describe the timing of steps by using abbreviations such as “S,” “Q,” “&,” and “a.” “S” means slow and generally denotes a step or action taking two beats of music. “Q” means quick and generally denotes a step or action taking one beat of music. Thus a Walk 4 is timed as SSSS and a Run 4 is timed as QQQQ. A Two Step is QQS and a Foxtrot measure is SQQ. Waltz, Jive, and Cha-Cha timing is usually described with numbers. For example a Waltz figure is often just 1,2,3. 

When you take two steps of equal time in one beat of music, the timing is denoted using the “&” to mean a half beat. Thus a Forward Basic in Cha Cha is timed as 1,2, 3&, 4. Note how the "3" becomes a half beat when combined with the “&.” 

Sometimes when you take two steps in one beat of music you do not take them with equal timing. The “a” refers to the shorter of the two steps and officially is given “one quarter of a beat” for timing, thus giving 3/4 of a beat for the other step. For instance, many Jive steps are described with timing as 1, 2, 3a, 4; 5a, 6. 

There are times when you, as a dancer, can alter the timing of a figure to emphasize one part of it more than usual. You do one step of a figure faster than usual so that you can retard the step you want to emphasize.


Tim Eum originally prepared these Tips for
Calls 'n' Cues, (WASCA);
reprinted in the Dixie Round Dance Council
(DRDC) Newsletter, February 2010

 

 


If you would like to read other articles on dance position, technique, styling, and specific dance rhythms, you may visit the article TOC.

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Past DRDC Educational Articles by
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Harold & Meredith Sears, 2005-present

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Gert-Jan & Susie Rotscheid


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