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STREETSWINGS  "DANCE RHYTHM AND TIMING"   PG 1

     This page deals with different parts and aspects of dance timing. This should be a help to you if you are just starting your dance adventure. All good dancers need to posses balance, timing, rhythm, and orientation in space while great dancers master it, poor dancers don't worry about this kinda stuff, thinking it's to much thinking, so if your aspiring to be a good dancer ... read on, and if your not, close this page now.

      This page is not a complete source or does it cover every aspect that might be deemed important. It is only a guide to help try and explain the more common questions covering dance timing for 4/4 time dances online ... but is mainly done with the West Coast Swing Dance in mind rather that of the other dances like (Samba, Tango, Minuet, Two-Step, Salsa, Ballet, Waltz ... etc). Were assuming you have some idea of things listed here, other wise you wouldn't be here. (oh, and Classical Music is a whole-nother breed!)

 

 noinfo   Simple Time Signatures or Meters   noinfo

     Simple time signatures tell you how many and what kind of notes per measure are to be played. The number on the top represents 'how many' or the number of notes per measure, and the bottom number represents the 'what kind of note' is to be used. There are the three main or 'simple time signatures' in dance:


    2/4 2/4 Time: Most Smooth / Polka Dances. (2 Up Beats. -/- 2 -/- 4 -/- 2 -/- 4 ... etc. downbeats -/- are silent.)
    3/4 3/4 Time: Mainly Waltz but can be others dances. (1 Down and 2 up Beats 1-2-3)
    4/4 4/4 Time: (aka Common Time) - Rhythm Dances (2 down 2 up beats but alternate 1-2-3-4).
2/4 2/2 Time: is 'Cut time' (alla breve) popular in marches ... see 4/4.

2/4 2/4 is 2 quarter notes (or 2 crotchets) per measure.
3/4 3/4 is 3 quarter notes per measure (or 3 crotchets).
4/4 4/4 is 4 quarter notes per measure (aka common time, also 'cut time' is 4/4).
5/2 5/2 is 5 half notes (or 5 minims) per measure.
6/8 6/8 is 6 eighth notes (or 6 quavers) per measure and so on.

      The bottom number can be 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. There are many more time signatures in music and these are but a few of the examples given above. We often times do dance to these other signatures as well, but for now we are only looking at the basic three above and one in particular 4/4 time for swing dancing.

      NOTE: The above represents 'simple time signatures' and we are not going to get into 'compound time signatures' such as 6/8, 9/8 (12/8 = some blues) etc. or 'irregular time signatures' (5/4. 7/4, 11/4 etc) on this page. If you want to know more try Goggling in the upper right corner of this page.

 

The Pulse or Heartbeat   The Pulse or Heartbeat in the Music we dance to.  noinfo

     The first beat (the "downbeat") is stressed or what we call 'PULSED'; in time signatures with four beats/groups in the Bar/measure (such as 4/4 and 12/8), the third beat is also stressed, though to a lesser degree. This gives a regular pattern of stressed and unstressed or pulsed beats. There are two ways to Pulse in WCS, Up or Down along with this "Stress". This is basically done by lifting/stretching the body Up, or Bending the knees slightly to go down on the 2nd beat. Faster music tends to use the down method and the slower music tends to use the Up method.

 

Units, Measures and Phrases Units, Measures and Phrases noinfo

noinfo 2 Beats noinfo A Unit is 2 Beats or Half a Measure. Beat 1 is Down, Beat 2 is Up. noinfo
Time Animation - Unit!
4 Units: Continuously repeats through out the entire song. (watch animation and notice numbers)
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock
Odd Even Odd Even Odd Even Odd Even
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
 

    A unit is the smallest grouping of beats we use. It consist of 'one down beat' and 'one up beat' as well as any syncopations which we will explain later.  Count is 1-2. When two Units are Joined together or combined we call it a Measure or Bar (below). The "D" indicates Down Beat and the "U" indicates an Upbeat.

noinfo 4 Beats noinfo A Measure (or Bar) is 4 Beats or 2 Units or Half a Minor Phrase. noinfo
Time Animation - Measure/Bar!
2 Measures: Continuously repeats through out the entire song. (watch animation and notice numbers)
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock
Odd Even Odd Even Odd Even Odd Even
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
 
 

     A Measure (USA) or Bar (UK) is two Units or four beats in a 4/4 time signature. Music is generally written in these four beat measures. There are basically two measures with the first one being the primary and the second one being the secondary. When combined we call these two measures a phrase (below). The Primary measure is beats 1-2-3-4 and the secondary measure is 5-6-7-8 = 8 beat minor phrase.

noinfo 8 Beats noinfo Mini Phrase is 8 beats or Two Measures or 4 Units of Music. noinfo
Time Animation - Phrase!
1 Phrase: Continuously repeats through out the entire song. (watch animation and notice numbers)
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Down Up Down Up Down Up Down Up
Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock
Odd Even Odd Even Odd Even Odd Even
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
 
 

MUSICIAN NOTE: Musicians generally count 5,6,7,8 ... 1-E-AND-AH 2-E-And-Ah-3 etc.. and get confused when dancers start counting E-And-Ah-One thereby making Dancers appear to reverse the count. But it is not. Starting with 5,6,7,8-E-And-Ah-1 E-And-Ah-2-E-And-Ah-3 etc. but we just really start counting earlier off the Count of eight (8) as in the example below:

Musician: 5 6 7 8 -> -> -> 1 E And Ah 2 E And Ah
Dancer: 5 6 7 8 E And Ah 1 E And Ah 2 E And Ah
Beats: 4 pre Beats Dancer Moves to > 1 Beat (Down) 2nd beat (Up)

As you can see, its the same thing.

     As stated above when we combine two measures together they form a 'Mini Phrase' which consists of 'four Units' (4X2=8) or 'Two Measures' (2X4=8) generally. Since we are mainly talking about Swing Dancing here we will stick to this part of the phrase only and ignore other variations and time signatures.

     Obviously not all songs are done the same as the above. However this is the basic idea for most 'Rhythm Dances.' There are other 'Time Signatures' as we stated above as well and can make it confusing when trying to count various songs at first such as 2/4 (two-four), 3/4 (three-four), 4/4 (four-four), 5/4 (five-four), 6/8 (six-eight) etcetera.

     Usually the last 'Two Beat Unit' within a 'Mini 8 Beat Phrase' will have the last 'two beats' or some variation in these two beats sounding different than the previous 'six beats' (or previous three units) to mark the change. A good example of this is Will Smith's 'Men In Black' (listen to a sample) song which makes the last two beats a double clapping sound on the "and-eight" (sounds like a Clap-Clap).

 

noinfo  MAJOR PHRASES EXPLAINED   noinfo

     'Major Phrases' are groups of "Mini Phrases" such as 32 beats, 48 beats or 64 total beats.
Example:
4 X 8 beats = 32 beats of music total ... and repeats to end of song.
6 X 8 beats = 48 beats of music total ... and repeats to end of song. (All three of these are called Major Phrases)
8 X 8 beats = 64 beats of music total ... and repeats to end of song.

      * A mini phrase would be similar to one 'sentence' in a book.
1) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #1)

     * A Minor phrase would be similar to Two sentences' in a book.
1) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #1)
2) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #2)

     * Major Phrases would be similar to a 'paragraph' in that same book. To try to give a visual idea ...
1) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #1) A
2) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #2) A
3) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #3) B
4) --1--2--3--4--5--6--7--8--  (hypothetical sentence or Mini Phrase #4) A
The above four sentences (or 8 beat minor phrases) would make a Paragraph. If we think of these four sentences above as eight measures (or four Mini's) we get a Major Phrase (4X8 or 8x4 =a 32 beat Major phrase). These 'Major Phrases' can mix with each other as well and often times do. Example: 32, 32, 32, 48, 32, 32, 32, 48, 16, 32, 32, 32, 32, 32 ... to end of a song. Most songs repeat the same phrasing throughout the song, but not all.

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     AABA Jazz/Swing Phrasing or thirty-two-bar form:
     This is a basic understanding how Tin Pan Alley type music was written using the "Major Phrases" above to create a rhythmic flow within a song, (see clip to right.)
A - Major Phrase or 4 Mini Phrases (8 Measures/bars) verses with similar chords and a similar melody, lyrics may change.
A - Major Phrase or 4 Mini Phrases (8 Measures/bars) verses with similar chords and melody, lyrics may change.
B - Major Phrase or 4 Mini Phrases (8 Measures/bars) bridge builds a contrast to the first two A sections above but using different chords, melodies and different lyrics.
A - Major Phrase or 4 Mini Phrases (8 Measures/bars) repeats the first two A’s sections with similar chords and a similar melody. The lyrics may or may not be different or one of the verses may be repeated.

     In the Flash clip on the right, using "Take the A-Train" as the example song while using text to show you the changes in the 32 beat phrasing (aka Major Phrase or 4x8) and briefly tells you what's going on within the song, very useful here, make sure to read it as it plays and count four 8 counts. Thanks to Grinnell College for making this clip.) [Flash Player| Shockwave]

 

noinfo  SLOWS AND QUICKS EXPLAINED  noinfo

     Sometimes there is confusion with the terms 'Slows and Quick's'. These terms are often times used to describe a rhythmic change of the feet (or body) when applied to music. These calls should not be used to count the dance, and used only to obtain a sense of comparative rhythmic movement. Smooth and Rhythm dances are different.
                                                   Smooth Dance Slows and Quicks Smooth Dances noinfo
Smooth dances such as Tango, Fox-trot, Texas Two Step, etc. or walking dances.
noinfo A Slow call would be the average length of time it would take to do one walking step per two beats of music.
noinfo A Quick call would be the average length of time it would take to do one walking step per one beat of music.
[i.e.: Slow(2) Slow(2) Quick(1) Quick(1) = 6 beats of music] 

                                                    Rhythm Dance Slows and Quicks Rhythm Dances noinfo
Rhythmic dances such as Swing, Hustle, Cha-Cha etc. or Running Dances)
noinfo A Slow call would be the average length of time it would take to do one walking step per one beat of music.
noinfo A Quick call would be the average length of time it would take to do one walking step (run) per half beat of music.
[i.e.: Slow(1) Slow(1) Quick(½) Quick(½) = 3 beats of music]

 

 noinfo BREAKS Explained  noinfo

      A break will usually but not always happen on the 1st or 5th beat of the minor Phrase (8 beats.)      

      Breaks are a break, stop or change in the music's repeating rhythm pattern. One example is the music is playing and all the sudden stops for three (or seven beats) of music. Usually the singer is still talking/singing but the music has completely stopped or some form of background sound like finger snapping every other beat may still slightly be happening. There are partial breaks where the music doesn't stop but becomes a low key background of a completely different rhythm than what the song has been repeating in its phrasing.

      The break will usually have a build up to a crescendo up to the last 4 beat measure of the major phrase then: - 'BAM' - on the first beat and rest on the remaining three beats which is called a short break - bam-5, rest-6,7,8) of the last measure or the long break of seven beats if breaking to the complete 8 beat phrase rather than the 4 beat measure would be as follows: ('BAM-1', rest-2,3,4,5,6,7,8) of the major phrase. The song 'Wade In The Water' is a good song to learn breaks to.

     Multiple breaks do and can happen within a song and are different than described above but with the same Rhythm breaking idea such as the music Bamning on beats one and resting on beats 2,3,4, then again on count five and resting on beats 6,7,8. An example of repeating 'hits' in a song that are treated as breaks would be the song Uhh! by Joe Louis Walker or 'Willing and Able' by Prince that uses breaks on almost every other 8 beat phrase. (note: You can listen to 30 seconds of the songs or you can buy the albums).

A) an example below of the 4 beat "short break" in a (32 BEAT) major phrase.
Phrase 1) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #1)
Phrase 2) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #2)
Phrase 3) da, dee, buh, baba, da, de, Da, Bop (8 beat phrase #3 song starts it's crescendo)
Phrase 4) Da, DAh, DAH, DAA, BAM!, ...  ...  ...  (8 beat phrase #4, Crescendo & Break on "Bam" beat 5) ...new phrasing re-starts below.
Phrase 1) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (phrasing restarts .... Song continues.)

B) an second example below of the 8 beat aka "Long break" in a (32 BEAT) major phrase.
Phrase 1) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #1)
Phrase 2) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #2)
Phrase 3) da, dah, dah, da, dah, daH, DA, DUHH (8 beat phrase #3 song starts it's crescendo -Capitals)
Phrase 4) BAM!, ......, ......, ......, ......, ......, ......, ...... (8 beat phrase #4 - "Bam" being the break on Count 1)...new phrasing re-starts below.
Phrase 1) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (phrasing restarts .... Song continues.)
... (phrasing restarts .... Song continues.)

If using a longer Major phrase such as 48 beats instead of 32, just add two more Min Phrases before #1 and #2, or 4 extra mini phrases for 64 beats.

48 beat Example would be:
Phrase 1) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #1)
Pharse 2) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #2)
Phrase 3) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #1)
Phrase 4) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (8 beat phrase #2)
Phrase 5) da, dee, buh, baba, da, de, Da, Bop (8 beat phrase #3 song starts it's crescendo)
Phrase 6) Da, DAh, DAH, DAA, BAM!, ...  ...  ...  (8 beat phrase #4, Crescendo & Break on "Bam" beat 5) ...new phrasing re-starts below.
Phrase 1) da, dah, dah, da, dah, dah, da, duh (phrasing restarts .... Song continues.)

     Breaks can take a little while to start to hear and react to. When trying to learn how to break, in the beginning you just need to stop moving no matter where you are in a pattern when the music stops (break), you stop, when it starts up again you continue. Later when you get better at hearing them coming you can set up better patterns to "Hit" the break on. Usually the followers will stop for you at first whether you asked them to or not to make you aware that they exist and where, as well as that you can't just ignore them cause you don't know how to break ... you'll learn 'em eventually as a leader.

     Most newer dancers think you have to be familiar with the song (aka: "Know it by heart" kinda thing,) but that is so not true, very helpful tho if you are familiar with the song. These newer dancers are not sure where they are in the music (they don't really listen to the song anyway,) so can only conceive of memorizing the song or being really familiar that it has breaks. THIS IS SO NOT TRUE.!!! ... But I do agree, that it makes it allot easier.

 

A Visual diagram of Seeing Syncopation. The Circle is the whole of Two-Beats.

Visual aid to Syncopation such as One and Two, And Ah One- And Ah Two etc.
... as an example on the lower far left circle above, that count would be 1 (whole beat step) and three short quick steps on count two (O---N---E-&-Ah-Two). See if you can figure the others out, then read on and try it again. (remember to start on bottom of circle (downbeat) and read to right, then go to top (upbeat) of same circle and read to the right). Note the capital E is short for "And".
 

noinfo Syncopation in Dance noinfo

     Syncopation within dance is similar but different than what a musician may think. In basic dance syncopation we would have each beat broken up into 4th's THUS making 8th's (4+4=8) within the two beat unit in using the eight beat minor phrase above ... Confusing you say ... well lets take a better look.

                         - Syncopated Units making up the minor phrase -
      Below is a single 'two beat unit' making up eight parts within that unit:
Unit1 (e-and-ah-one | e-and-ah-two)  Unit2 (e-and-ah-three | e-and-ah-four) Unit3 (e-and-ah-five | e-and-ah-six)  Unit4 (e-and-ah-seven | e-and-ah-eight) ...
So using #1 as an example 'e-and-ah-one'= 4 words and 'e-and-ah-two'=4 words, so in total they make eight words or 8 'syncopations' in one unit structure or 8th's in Two Beats of Music.

      It's easier to think of this at first as a measurement like an ordinary 9" inch ruler in your desk (each inch represents a beat of music with 8 Inch/beats being a phrase ... count 9 being count 1 again). Each inch on a ruler is broken down into halves, thirds, quarters, eighths, and sixteenth's, etcetera.

 
9" Desktop Ruler
 

....... In the example ruler below:
1) The first quarter inch has been called an "E" ......... or (1/4 BEAT)
2) The second Quarter inch has been called "AND"..... or (1/2 BEAT)
3) The third Quarter inch has been called the "AH"..... or (3/4 BEAT)
4) The final Quarter inch has been called the "One".... or (Full BEAT)

9 Inch Ruler with Syncopation Markings
 

     So instead of measuring distance or "Inches" we are now measuring "lengths of Time" along a musical time line (hence the word "Measure" from above). This tells us how long, short, slow or fast and when exactly we need to step or kick, stop, hold/wait, dip/drop, rise/fall or whatever may be done in your movement. Think of your dance rulers being 8" inches (8 beats) rather than 9.
Example count: e-(and)-ah-ONE/e-(and)-ah-TWO/e-(and)-ah-THREE/e-(and)-ah-FOUR.

     Generally a beginner only uses the "And" count such as in a 'triple step' unit pattern: One--(and)--Two, Three--(and)--Four ... etcetera.  ... In our example video on right, we can see the timing as well as hear the rhythm. Plus we can hear how the rhythm changes with speed even tho it's exactly the same except speed.

... But as you gain more experience you will become much more aware of the "AH" count through instruction and start doing your triples above as:
One--()-Ah-Two | Three--()-Ah-Four. Instead of the above way using just the "And" Counts which will give you that "Soul" in your dancing. The () is where the 'and' your now not counting resides, but it's timing placement still exists. The easiest way to count these is to combine the word 'And' plus the 'Number' and make it one word, such as: Oneand, Twoand, Threeand, Fourand, etc. (or Oneand Ah-Two or... Oneand Ah-Twoand | Ah-Threeand etc)

      Whether we count the syncopations in the count or not they still exist.
Count: "One -- -- -- Two" is the same as: "One E AND AH Two" as it is the same length of time whether we count the syncopations or not. (The time here being relative to the speed of the song of course.)

(Q: is an empty glass empty or full? ......................
A: Full ... It's full of air. The container stays the same whether it is visibly (or audibly) being used or not.... its a container. Just because you don't hear a sound at anytime in the phrase doesn't mean the time for it vanished. You would still count it as being there. The silence still occupies the same length of time that the sound would have occupied. No sounds carry the same weight as Sounds, in "Length of time".
@ an example (X=no Sound or beat): Correct: 1-2-3-4-X-6-7-8 | In-Correct 1-2-3-4-X-5-6-7-8. Using this example ... A good song to hear this in a Song is "Fire". There is no 5th beat played as in our example, but it's place is still there. This song would be interpreted or counted as: 1-2&3&4-X-6&7&8. See if you hear it ?

 

noinfo     Backside versus Frontside  (or GGAA)   noinfo

      On a Piano we have the Keys: A,B,C,D,E,F,G.
      One of the basic elements in the Blues structure is one hand plays one rhythm (Usually Left) and the other hand plays another (Usually Right). It is here we can clearly get into the 8th's as described in our ruler above for our rhythm movement.

      Using a very basic Piano Blues structure on a Piano using the keys "cG cG cA cA" (C key gets played along with every G and A at same time thus:
cG-cG or cA-cA or simply GGAA) gives us below : (( []=numerical count conversion | ()=total combined movements))

  cG = + (1) cG = [+] (1)
 cG = 1 (2) cG = [1] (2)
 cA = + (3) cA = [+] (3)
 cA = 2 (4) cA = [2] (4)
which equals 4 SYNCOPATED counts of "Two beats of music", we will call it rhythmically as count's 1234 (this is not four beats but only two ... counted 1234).

   Basically our legs move only one way. We lift the foot, We swing the leg in a direction and we finally step on the foot. Try walking slowly and say the following:
 noinfo (Left foot):   Lift -- Swing---Step (and-ah-One) ... stepping on the number.
 noinfo (Right foot): Lift---Swing---Step (and-ah-Two).... (repeat left and right)
So to make this easy at first think of Lift and Swing as being done together i.e.:
Lift-Step. (simply: combine lift and swing together and call it simply "Lift" or And-One instead of and-ah-one).

... So to "Walk Walk" or Rock Step this would be:
 noinfo c G = [+] (1*) Lift Leg (wait),
 noinfo c G = [1] (2*) Step or walk, ...........(can be Forward or Backward or Sideways etc).
 noinfo c A = [+] (3*) Lift Leg (wait),
 noinfo c A = [2] (4*) Step or Walk. ............(can be Forward or Backward or Sideways etc).

... So to do a "Triple Step" this would be:
 noinfo c G = [+] (1*) Lift Leg (wait),
 noinfo c G = [1] (2*) Step,
 noinfo c A = [+] (3*) Step,
 noinfo c A = [2] (4*) Step.

      So every step you take should have at the least four movements (there can be more depending on more complicated syncopted steps). These 4 movements will be marked with an " * " below which we will refer to later as "1234" rhythmically. This rhythm count of "1234" is 'GGAA' and is not referring to units or measures but syncopation only within each unit. When you rush the beat you are not using your full four movements. A basic six count West Coast Swing Sugar-Push would look like this:                  

  Rhythm Example 1 GGAA (1234) Example
 cGcG-cAcA - cGcG-cAcA - cGcG-cAcA cGcG-cAcA - cGcG-cAcA - cGcG-cAcA. Or +1+2+3+4+5+6
1234 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
* Piano cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA
Count and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6
Beats BEAT 1 BEAT 2 BEAT 3 BEAT 4 BEAT 5 BEAT 6
So using our four count structure above. A sugar push would have you doing:
2-4-234-234 (your rhythmic count) which is: 1-2-3&4-5&6 (your dance count)

    ... So to wrap this up dancing on the more rhythmically correct 'Backside of the Unit' is preferred *(1 lift)234 (not stepping on the 'first cG') of the units. This allows you to take your last step in the unit on *4 of *1234 (the GGAA). Being off rhythmically is 123(4 lift or hold) ... see below

  Rhythm Example 1 GGAA (1234) Rhythm Example 1
  The CORRECT breakdown at a glance ("the BACKSIDE" ------->>> in Green )
steps ---->Walk ---->Walk *------------------>Triple Step   *------------------>Triple Step  
count - 1 - 2 - 3 & 4 - 5 & 6
* piano cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA
*rhtyhm (1) (2) (3) (4) (1) (2) (3) (4) (1) (2) (3) (4)
syncopation lift 1 lift 2 lift 3 and 4 lift 5 and 6
beats BEAT 1 BEAT 2 BEAT 3 BEAT 4 BEAT 5 BEAT 6
It's better to step on the second cG. of the *(1)234 as in this first example 1. The Green rows show the correct rhythm placement of the feet
(NOTE: Steps can happen in this rhythmic *1 in more advanced syncopations.)
  Rhythm Example 2 GGAA (1234) Rhythm Example 2
  ( in Red <<<---- "the FRONTSIDE")    The INCORRECT breakdown at a glance ...
steps Walk<---- Walk<----   Triple Step <-------- Triple Step <----------
count 1 - 2 - 3 & 4 - 5 & 6 -
* piano cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA
*rhythm (1) (2) (3) (4) (1) (2) (3) (4) (1) (2) (3) (4)
syncopation and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6
beats BEAT 1 BEAT 2 BEAT 3 BEAT 4 BEAT 5 BEAT 6

      "Rhythmically IN-CORRECT" but you are STILL ON TIME!!! however it is a very flat rhythm by stepping on the first cG in 123(4) example 2 above. The Red shows the incorrect rhythm placement. 

  Rhythm Example 3 GGAA (1234) Rhythm Example 3
Comparison of the Two Above
count lift 1 lift 2 lift 3 & 4 lift 5 & 6
* piano cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA
steps Walk Walk Triple Step Triple Step
count 1 lift 2 lift 3 & 4 lift 5 & 6 lift
* piano cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA cG cG cA cA
beats BEAT 1 BEAT 2 BEAT 3 BEAT 4 BEAT 5 BEAT 6

Green is rhythmically correct and the Red is rhythmically incorrect. Bottom Tan section shows the Timing. (It's much easier to show all this in person and much quicker and allot less confusing, but alas --- Online is here.)

      Most people get the Walk Walk (or rock-step) part correct however they usually dance the triples "flat" or on the incorrect 'front side' of the units in red.

noinfo   Basic Swing Dance 'Timing'   noinfo

       With everything already explained above we can see that Timing and Rhythm go "Hand and Hand" but are not the same thing, however most people call it the same.

... Timing is simple in swing dancing (Latin dances are an exception). It is aligning your first odd numbered step (say step 1) in line with an odd numbered beat with odd music beats 1,3,5 or 7).

example: omitting the 'and/ah' syncopations for simplicity (you know where they go).

noinfo   Below is Dancing "On Time"   (WCS 6 Count)  noinfo
BEAT 1 BEAT 2 BEAT 3 BEAT 4 BEAT 5 BEAT 6 BEAT 7 BEAT 8
STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 1 STEP 2
------------------------------------------------------------------
noinfo  Below is Dancing "Off Time"   (WCS 6 count)  noinfo
BEAT 1 BEAT 2 BEAT 3 BEAT 4 BEAT 5 BEAT 6 BEAT 7 BEAT 8
- STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 1

     If you notice 'Step 1' is odd (Blue) but is being stepped on 'Beat 2' which is even (Red). The result is "OFF TIME" in swing dancing.

... Now, there are other dances (non American) that start 'Step Count One' (your first step) on 'Beat Count Two' (second beat) and others such as some Latin dances that start on beat two, that is not incorrect but we are not discussing those dances here.

 
 
noinfo Q: How do we dance to 8 beats of music when the pattern is only 6 beats in length.
8 beat Phrase: 1 2 3 4
Beat: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Step: 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2
Basically its simple you can start any pattern on any odd beats 1,3,5 or 7. However you should start your very first initial step of that dance on beat ONE or if you have to restart your dance for some reason.

       Heres a good You-Tube Video on Syncopation plus a little history of it at the same time. Also interesting to note at the end of the second part it talks about laying one rhythm over the other ... A super-imposing of the rhythms to a strait double beat and a triple rhythm laid over the top. That's the same thing we do with music in West Coast Swing dance rhythms to certain musical pieces... check it out!

 
... Well I think that's about it. There is lot here and it seems much more complicated to me here than it really is, mainly because it is in the written word trying to explain movement / interpretation (rather than music writing/reading) and is better and easier to explain in person. I've read it ten times and seems clear to me but, then again, I know it so probably have missed allot in writing it. However, I do hope this helps enlighten and clarify a few things I am constantly asked.
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