the only way to dance slowly is to dance slowly.
When bodies begin to move too fast, it isn't
anymore. It doesn't look right to see people moving
swiftly to slow music.
only works to the slowest of all slow music. Try as I
might, every time I danced Nightclub to a song
faster than 75 beats per minute, it was not graceful.
Beauty is in
the eye of beholder. What might seem fast to one
person may not seem fast to another. So, yes, some
people might think dancing at 78 bpm is okay. Or
perhaps they could care less about moving fast to slow
music. But what about 84 bpm? With each
increase, the "Look" of the dance becomes further
In my opinion,
Slow rhythms call for slow motion.
Nightclub so popular is that the unique footwork allows
people to move and travel. For dancers, standing still
on the dance floor goes against the grain. As long as
you stick to the right speed of music, Nightclub is
smooth, graceful and not too fast.
But when you try
to use Nightclub to faster tempos, the dance changes into something
else. At that speed, the "Romance" element disappears.
For Slow Dance to lead to Romance, the dancing needs to be
gentle and unhurried.
my 1 to 5 ratio, I decided to look elsewhere for more music.
I had an idea. Why not try Rod Stewart's
Grammy-winning 4-CD collection? I looked at the list.
These were wonderful songs created by some of America's most
famous song writers - Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin,
George and Ira Gershwin, and Jerome Kern.
I figured this
shouldn't take long. Surely there were plenty of great
songs at just the right speed for me to use.
After all, I had over 50 songs to choose from. So I
put the first CD from the Great American Songbook
into my computer and got out my stopwatch.
Minute" is a common way for dancers to measure the speed of
a song. The most accurate way to get a beat count is
to count the beats for 60 seconds. But that isn't very
practical. It would take me over an hour to count every song
in this collection.
It is much
easier to count the beats for 20 seconds and multiply by 3.
That cut my job down to half an hour. So that's what I
did. I began to count each song. I was upset at
what unfolded. Song after song clocked in at over 75
beats per minute.
At the end of
the first album, I had 2 songs the right speed out of 14.
One was We'll Be Together Again. The
other was That's All.
Unfortunately, I had never heard of either song.
Gamely, I tried the second album.
Until the Real Thing Comes Along and
Crazy She Calls Me were the only songs I could use
for Nightclub. 2
songs out of 14 were the right speed.
So what about
Album 3? This time only What a Wonderful
World clocked in at Nightclub tempo. 1 song in 14 was the
And what about Album 4?
Nevertheless was the only one. 1 in 14.
This was ridiculous.
Out of 56 songs,
6 had the right speed. One in nine. And not
a single one
of them was a favorite song of mine. You are welcome to
look for yourself. I posted the speed for
I was very
discouraged. Here I had this great dance that I really
liked, but Nightclub was virtually useless to the
vast majority of the songs.
So I gave it
some thought. Why force Nightclub to speeds
was not meant for? I decided to let Nightclub handle one
range of music and use my Ballroom training to develop a
different style of Slow Dancing to handle the faster
Why not add certain Ballroom
patterns from Tango, Foxtrot and Nightclub to standard
Foxtrot moves to create a different kind of Slow
Dance, one that could work to faster music?
So that is what
I did. I created several patterns that work
just fine to the faster tempos. These became the patterns
I taught in my 2011 Sophisticated Slow Dance class.
The class was so
popular that I have made a point to repeat the class every