How to Improving Timing in Dance

There are multiple ways one can improve their timing in dance – being familiarized with the song by listening to it repeatedly, reducing the playback speed of the song to match your moves more accurately, or even counting the beat out loud, literally. As results and progress may differ for each individual, it is best to discover your most suited method to get your desired results.

Source: Elementsofdance

Moving to the beat of the music might sound like an easy task, but doing it in person might seem challenging especially for new dancers who are just starting. 

Although I must agree that some people are naturally blessed with more talents to capture the timings quickly, everyone will get there eventually, with hard work.

When I first started out dancing with professional help, I felt like a LOST SHEEP in front of many other dancers with different backgrounds. I always dreaded the end of each class where we would be grouped into smaller groups to showcase what we have learned for that day. 

Not gonna lie, it was an intimidating experience for me because one - I was so raw and inexperienced, two – I was barely getting the timings right, and three – even if I did get the timings right during the showcase, half the time I was glancing at other dancers to see if I was doing the right move.

Eventually, I decided to keep re-watching our dance practice videos and started taking the initiative to attend ‘supplementary classes’ to catch up with my peers. With time and practice, soon enough I managed to learn quickly while hitting the beats accurately. 

One important thing I realized that worked well for me was that re-watching myself dance versus the better dancers dance allowed me to mark out ways in which I can improve, especially in my timings. I mean, experienced dancers have an edge in getting the timings right since they are generally more familiar with dance, but it is good to watch and learn from them especially if there are recorded dance practice videos. 


Here are some tips that will help to naturally improve your timing in dance:


  1. Play the song on repeat 

Trust me on this. This is a very helpful tool that allows you to be familiarized with the beats and tempo in the music. While the song is being played, you can imagine executing the dance moves in your head according to the music and matching them at the right timings. This is a good starter for people who feel lost like I was. 


I remember I used to save the song on my phone and play it on repeat for no reason, partly because I enjoyed the mashup of the song too. But subsequently, I realized that this has helped me tremendously in matching my dance moves to the right timing and I caught up with my fellow peers in due time.


  1. Practice makes perfect 

Of course, listening to the song on repeat alone and imagining the choreography in your head isn’t gonna get you as far as you’d like. Eventually, you have to start moving and practicing the moves in actuality to get the real hang of it. 


It is perfectly normal to start slow and easy but with practice, I can guarantee you that your timing in dance will improve in time to come. 


  1. Reduce the playback speed 

Instead of playing the usual 100% speed of the song, you could try starting at 60% speed in the initial stages, subsequently increasing the speed to 70%, 90%, and eventually playing the actual speed at 100%. 


This tip is especially useful for amateurs! As you gradually increase the speed of the song, do continue to practice hard to allow your body to get used to the music. 


My choreographers did this method with us as many of us had no prior experiences in dance and we had a hard time following the timings. Eventually, with this gradual increase method accompanied by lots of practice and hard work, we managed to pull off a wonderful performance. 


  1. Count out loud, literally

I’m sure anyone here who has attended any form of dance class would come across the counting of beats, especially if you’re learning a new dance item. Many dance instructors would count out loud during dance classes to allow dancers to capture the dance move at the right timings.  


This serves as an excellent way to improve your timing in dance as well, so if you’re stuck, do try this method to slow down the pace! Alternatively, if your mind is too occupied, you could ask a friend to count the beats for you at the side, and this will allow you to grasp the timings soon enough. 


  1. Watch others dance 

As aforementioned, watching other people dance in comparison to your dance gives you a new insight into how you can improve. Of course, every individual has different flow and styles but, if you’re more of a visual person, re-watching a dance video can help tremendously in improving your timings.


It’s almost equivalent to how Korean fans constantly re-watch their idols’ dance practice videos and the choreography (especially the catchy parts) comes naturally to them after a while. 


Ultimately, it is a test of your resilience as there’s no other better saying than “Practice makes Perfect” to summarize how you can improve in your timing. Perhaps practicing in front of a mirror helps you to identify your gaps and lacking areas too.


Start slow and easy and you’ll eventually get there. Keep dancing and keep grooving!

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Author: Chelsie
Chelsie is a typical student on this sunny island - in her free time, she would either be exercising, watching random dance clips and Mukbangs on Youtube, or Netflixing.
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