Karina/time perception in dance

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Time Perception in Dance

Previous research in time perspective and cultural diversity has left me with wanting to explore more of Robert Levine’s clock time and event time. Clock-time is a way to perceive time as the clock directs it. Event-time is a perception of when participants feel an event should start or end (Levine, 1998). Levine travelled around the world for research and saw clear patterns in preference between cultures for either one or the other time perception.

This binary division in understanding time can be also found in Robert Wiener’s view on Newtonian and Bergsonian time (Wiener, 1965). He explains this contrast using astrology and meteorology. Newtonian time, just like astrology, is strict and mathematical. Wiener describes, “the positions, velocities, and masses of the bodies of the solar system are extremely well known at any time” (Wiener, 1965, p.32). Newton used this time perception for engineering and space, not as a social human system. Bergsonian time on the other hand, like meteorology, is flexible and more adaptable to human experiences. Wiener continues, “the number of particles concerned is so enormous that an accurate record of their initial position and velocities is utterly impossible” (Wiener, 1965, p.33). Bergson emphasised the difference between Newton’s reversible time in physics - where if the movement of the planets was rewinded, nothing would change - and Gibbsian irreversible time in evolution and biology - where rewinding would always cause something new.

When analysing Levine’s and Wiener’s work, both mention two contrasting perceptions of time: one concrete and mathematical, the other adjustable and human. Newtonian time shows many similarities to Levine’s clock time, due to its strict, mathematical and rigid approach. Wiener explained Newtonian time as “the planets are either very nearly rigid bodies, or where they are not, their internal forces are at any rate of a relatively slight significance. […] The space in which they move is almost perfectly free from impending matter” (Wiener, 1965, p.32). The strict and set structure is fixed and definite - just like reading the time from a clock. Neither of the two cases can be altered by external factors, and both cases could be described as mechanical, structured, fixed, strict, concrete and hard. Bergsonian time, just like Levine’s event time, shows flexibility and duration. Wiener compares “the term ‘cloud’, ‘temperature’, ‘turbulance’ etc., are all terms referring not to one single physical situation but to a distribution of possible situations of which only one actual case is realised” (Wiener, 1965, p.33). Levine’s event time is based on a fluid social decision that has no strict duration and cannot be predicted mathematically. Both can be altered by external factors, and both cases could be described as durational, human, social, flowing, continuous and soft.

Time perception in dance also has two opposing sides: tempo, count and rhythm is strict and precise; not analysing the steps and flowing with the music is fluid and uninterrupted. These contrasting perceptions in time within dance are very alike to Newtonian-clock time and Bergsonian-event time. During my ballroom and latin dancing classes I see two types of dancers; those who worry about the steps and/or count, and those who flow. As I would like to teach dance in the future, I would like to communicate dance using a method of Bergsonian-event time to help people overcome thinking about what they are doing.

During my research into choreology - dance notation - I have seen a trend that they are either mathematically structured yet simple, such as footstep mats (Appendix 1), or could be fairly open to interpretation yet complex, like the 17th–18th century Feuillet system or the works of Merce Cunningham and Rudolf Benesh (Appendix 2-4). Many notation systems fail to describe the notation completely. Rudolf Laban’s notation system (Appendix 5) is still used since 1928, as it manages to incorporate direction, body part movement, duration and dynamics of the movement (Griesbeck, 1996). His notations are not intuitive though, and need a key to decode it. To understand the difficulty in creating choreology, I have conducted an experiment - Experiment #1: Basic choreology analysis (Appendix 6) - to visualise the difference in all the ballroom and latin dances I practice. Breaking the dances down into direction, speed and rhythm showed how changing one, influences another. The speed can change the tone, yet the rhythm must stay the same for the dance style to maintain identifiable. Illustrating rhythm also proved to be harder than predicted, as I had to multitask: count beats by tapping on thigh and say rhythm out loud, while dancing, to see how they all overlap. It was difficult to process and capture so much information in a moment.

For a broader understanding of processing information, I have looked into neurology and memory in Opening Skinner’s Box (Slater, 2005). In 1953 Dr. Scoville’s discovered that memory has a specific location in the brain, in the hippocampus, not scattered around as thought before. Patient Henry Mollison was still able to brush his teeth after his hippocampus was removed, but wasn’t able to create new memories. Dr. Brenda Milner continued her research on Henry and was able to identify procedural, or unconscious memory. Dr. Eric Kandel at the same time tested how information travels through neurones of sea slugs. He was able to prove that every time a task is repeated, the stronger the webwork of carrying that task becomes, the stronger the memory, the stronger and smoother the electrochemical conversation between those particular synapses in the brain becomes. This would explain falling into a flow, whether for athletes, musicians or dancers. The more a task is practiced, the stronger the memory, the smoother the task becomes.

What if I were to challange my flow and memory when dancing? Experiment #2: Jive mix up (Appendix 7) aimed to see how much the fluidity of a dance was disturbed when the order of the choreography was changed. I was aware that the links between my neurones would need rewiring, but to what extent would it interrupt the fluidity? As predicted, it was challenging to grasp a flow. Once we knew which step to dance next, the following 8 counts were easy, as we were using our procedural memory. The moment when one step ended, and a new one started, is when we noticed hiccups in our fluidity. Our brains needed to process new information: what is the new step; in which direction will it go? Memory shows to be vital in maintaining flow. There was too much to think about at once. How much was too much?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi presented his research about flow during a Ted Talk in 2004. He explained how our nervous system is incapable of processing more than about 110 bits of information per second (Ted Talk, 2009). That would explain how new dancers cannot fall into flow when trying to think about the rhythm, tempo, direction and body movement. Csikszentmihalyi continued with explaining how our brains need to feel high levels of challange and high levels of skill in order to be stimulated enough to reach flow. His key points that prove we have obtained it are:

  • Completely involved in what we are doing - focused, concentrated
  • A sense of ecstasy - of being outside everyday reality
  • Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well we are doing
  • Knowing that the activity is doable - that our skills are adequate to the task
  • A sense of serenity - no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the bounderies of the ego
  • Timelessness - thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes
  • Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces flow becomes its own reward

Flow in dancing is also dependant of the communication with a partner. Anticipation and trust in a partner are just as important as high levels of challange and high levels of skill - as it is done together. In Experiment #3: Learning a new dance style (Appendix 8) I have taken up a challange to learn the basics of the Swing in an hour private session and try to achieve flow, with a new to me partner. To begin with I focused on the rhythm, moves and direction in a mathematical structured manner. Rigid like Newtonian-clock time. After a while of getting to know my partner, I started feeling the moves and rhythm without thinking what I need to be doing. I forgot about time passing by and enjoyed the moment, smooth like Bersgonian-event time. It is difficult to fall into flow straight away. Firstly, the links between neurones need to strengthen like Kandel's sea slug experiments have proven. Secondly, there needs to be enough time to get to know the partner to build trust on. To reach flow, we need to first experience the Newtonian-clock time to understand the basic structure, and progress into Bersgonian-event time to allow for flexibility.

I would like to combine Experiment #1 and #2 to create a piece for De Player. I would like to perform a jive with my dancing partner during the launch, yet have the audience in charge of the order of the steps. My full piece consists of two live dancers during the event, a floppy disk with jive-suitable music and coded data and a ‘box’ with a keyboard connecting to a raspberry-pi, a floppy disk reader, a printer and speaker. The audience will be able to select the numbered moves - from Experiment #2 - by using the keyboard. The name of the upcoming move will be communicated through a speaker to my partner and I as we dance, so that we do not break our flow - so called a ‘limited look ahead’. This will happen every 8 beats right before one move finishes and the next is about to start. As we are dancing, ‘the box’ will print out every step in the given order using a modified version of my choreology from Experiment #1. I would like to design simplified stick figures to represent the movement and direction. The printed choreology can be taken home by the audience. As my piece is based on a performance, it will be more difficult for future customers who buy ‘the box’ to reconstruct my performance in full detail without knowing how to dance the jive. The choreology will be available in a printed form for the audience to copy. It, like many other choreologies, may become free for interpretation, but will also be supported by extra content in a form of tutorials and movies on an online platform. The aim for the project is not to teach dance steps, but rather have the viewers understand the functions of the two contrasting time perspectives and how they relate to flow.


Ballroomguide.com. (n.d.). Ballroom Guide - Music. [online] Available at: http://www.ballroomguide.com/resources/music.html [Accessed 24 Feb. 2017].
Beatsperminuteonline.com. (n.d.). Tempo Indications and Beats Per Minute (BPM) Reference for Social Dance Genres. [online] Available at: http://www.beatsperminuteonline.com/en/home/bpm-beats-per-minute-reference-for-dance-genres [Accessed 24 Feb. 2017].
Beauchamp, P. (2006). Chorégraphie; ou, l’art de décrire la danse. [image] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/dance-notation [Accessed 17 Feb. 2017].
Griesbeck, C. (1996). Introduction to Labanotation. [online] User.uni-frankfurt.de. Available at: http://user.uni-frankfurt.de/~griesbec/LABANE.HTML [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
Benesh, R. (2006). Dance notation system devised in the 1950s by Rudolf and Joan Benesh. [image] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rudolf-Benesh [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].
Cunningham, M. (2005). Suite For Five (1956). [image] Available at: https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/cunningham [Accessed 2 Mar. 2017].
Dancing 4 Beginners, (2008). Basic Salsa Steps. [image] Available at: http://www.dancing4beginners.com/salsa-steps.htm [Accessed 15 Feb. 2017].
Gross, R. (2012). Tempo Recommendations for Dance Music. [online] Hollywood Ballroom Dance Center. Available at: http://www.hollywoodballroomdc.com/recommended-tempos-for-dance-music/ [Accessed 24 Feb. 2017].
Laban, R. (1998). Schrifttanz (1928). [image] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rudolf-Laban [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].
Leblanc, S. (2011). Learning the Different Beats of Ballroom Dances. [Blog] Sheri Leblanc Musings. Available at: http://sheris-musings.tumblr.com/post/9776289357/beats [Accessed 23 Feb. 2017].
Levine, R. (1998). A geography of time. 1st ed. New York: Basic Books.
Slater, L. (2005). Opening Skinner's Box. 1st ed. London: Bloomsbury, pp.205 - 223.
Ted Talk, (2009). Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness. [video] Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
Wiener, N. (1965). Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Pr.


Appendix 1
Footstep mats (Dancing 4 Beginners, 2008)

Appendix 2
Feuillet system (Beauchamp, 2006)

Appendix 3
Notation system by Merce Cunningham (Cunningham, 2005)

Appendix 4
Notation system by Rudolf Benesh (Benesh, 2006)

Appendix 5
Notation system by Rudolf Laban (Leban, 1998)

Appendix 6
Experiment #1: Basic choreology analysis

When looking at dance mats which learn how to dance basic steps of dances, I understood why lesson lead by humans are still favoured. The step mats are too simple; they are missing the speed, tone and rhythm that are vital aspects when learning any dance. For each ballroom and latin dance style, there is a strict set of moves. Each dance has a characteristic tone, speed and rhythm. For many dance styles the choreography needs to be performed in a particular order. What would happen if the characteristic aspects were altered?

Changing the speed causes the tone to change too. Taking the Waltz as an example, a slow, graceful and romantic English Waltz, when sped up, becomes a joyful, energetic and playful Wiener Waltz, simply because they have the same rhythm. The rhythm is the back-bone of a dance style. Without it, it would be very difficult to identify a particular dance. Music chosen for dances is primarily based on the count and whether it matches the timing of the dance. It could either use a 3/4 time (1, 2, 3) or a 4/4 time (1, 2, 3, 4).
If I am able to match songs to particular dance styles, and I am able to identify a dance style by its rhythm, would I be able to convert that knowledge into simple infographics?


  1. List all dance styles
  2. Illustrate movement using choreology
  3. Explain rhythm in words
  4. Illustrate rhythm using choreology
  5. Analyse differences between dances

Choreology score1.jpg

Choreology score2.jpg
Cha Cha
one, two, cha cha cha

English Waltz
one, two, three (slowly)

slow, slow, quick, quick

one, two, shu-ffle one, shu-ffle two

Paso doble
a one, two, three, four, a five, six, seven, eight

one, two, step-step

and a one, two, slide

one - and a - two - and a - three - and a - four

Swing / Lindy Hop
one, two, three, a four

slow, slow, a quick, quick, slow

Viennese Waltz
one, two, three (quickly)

Rhythm scores.jpg


  1. List a few songs that (personally) suit each given dance style
  2. Find average BPM (beat per minute) for each song
  3. Research what the average recommended BPM is per style
  4. Compare my BPM range with recommended BPM range

BPM ranges were compared with the following sources:

  • Sheris Musings (Leblanc, 2011)
  • Beats Per Minute Online (Beatsperminuteonline.com. n.d.)
  • Hollywood Ballroom DC (Gross, 2012)

Song Artist BPM
Cake by the Ocean DNCE 119
Mercy Duffy 130
El Chacal Jose Conde 118
Mambo No. 5 Lou Bega 174
Smooth Santana 116
My range 116 - 130
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 112 - 128
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 120 - 128
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 112 - 128

Song Artist BPM
Moon River Audrey Hepburn 92
La Javanaise Madeleine Peyroux 108
Come Away With Me Norah Jones 81
Nocturne Secret Garden 80
My range 80 - 108
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 90 - 100
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 84 - 90
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 84 - 93

Song Artist BPM
Ain't That a Kick in the Head Dean Martin 132
James Bond Theme 116
Dance Me to the End of Love Madeleine Peyroux 137
Fever Michael Buble 128
Orange Colored Sky Nat King Cole 130
My range 116 - 137
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 120
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 112 - 120
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 112 - 120

Song Artist BPM
You Make My Dreams Hall & Oates 167
Doin' It Right Power Blues 165
My range 165 - 167
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 180
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 168 - 184
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 152 - 176

Song Artist BPM
Cielo Andaluz ? 112
El Gato Montes ? 116
El toro de tu sueno ? 120
My range 112 - 120
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings -
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 120 - 124
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 112 - 124

Song Artist BPM
Beatophone Caravan Palace 252
Dramophone Caravan Palace 252
Tangled Up Caro Emerald 202
It Don't Mean A Thing Geoff Love Orchestra 199
My range 199 - 252
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 200
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 200 - 208
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 200 - 208

Song Artist BPM
Chan Chan Buena Vista Social Club 81
Sway Dean Martin 120
Girl From Ipanema Joao Gilberto 128
Those Sweet Words Norah Jones 103
My range 81 - 128
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings -
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 100 - 108
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 96 - 112

Song Artist BPM
Bailar Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo 128
Suavemente Elvis Crespo 124
Lambada 3000 Kaoma, Gregor Salto 127
Tu Picadura Dancelife 102
Dejarè La Puerta Abierta Danilo 100
My range 100 - 128
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings -
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 96 - 104
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 96 - 104

Song Artist BPM
My Baby Just Cares for Me Nina Simone 118
Cheek to Cheek Billie Holiday 145
Volare Dean Martin 130
Ochi Chornya Wingy Manone 165
Just a Gigolo Louis Prima 124
E-Flat Boogie Buster Smith 163
My range 118 - 165
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 140
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 105 - 190
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 136 - 144

Song Artist BPM
La Cumparsita Carlos Di Sarli 116
Santa Maria Gotan Project 118
Una Música Brutal Gotan Project 107
El Tango De Roxanne Jose Feliciano 108
My range 107 - 118
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 120
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 80 - 160
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 120 - 132

Song Artist BPM
Waltz No. 2 Dmitri Shostakovich 187
3 Valses, Op. 64 No.2 In C Sharp Minor Frederic Chopin 230
Love Ain't Gonna Let You Down Jamie Cullum 130
The Blue Danube Johann Strauss 183
Nutcracker Tchaikovsky 208
Sleeping Beauty Tchaikovsky 190
La Valse d'Amelie Yann Tiersen 192
My range 130 - 230
Range: Sheri Leblanc Musings approximately 190
Range: beatsperminuteonline.com 174 - 180
Range: Hollywood Ballroom DC 150 - 180

Summing up this exercise, I can conclude that it was difficult to illustrate the dances that don’t have a specific ‘shape’ in its direction, but rather go around the room. Those dances are: foxtrot, paso doble, samba, swing and tango. Explaining the rhythm in words was the easiest as it is regularly used during beginner classes. The hardest task was to illustrate the rhythm using choreology. I had to multitask: count the beats by tapping on my thigh and say the rhythm out loud while dancing to see how they all overlap.

The second part of the task wasn’t necessarily essential to analyse choreology, yet it was interesting to see how the BPMs from different dance styles compare.The cha cha and foxtrot have similar BPM (cha cha 112 - 120 BPM, foxtrot 112 - 128 BPM), yet the tone is very different: one is youthful and playful, the other graceful and glamorous. I was surprised to see that samba has a relatively low BPM, as it is a very fast choreography filled with constantly changing positions.

Appendix 7
Experiment #2: Jive mix up

A Jive is a faster paced dance originating from African-American swing dances from the 1930s. Unlike many ballroom styles, jive is not danced anti-clockwise around the room. The steps allow the dancers to stay roughly in the same space - swaying left / right / front / back within an approximate 3m radius. Each step, like in many dances, has it’s own name and is usually contained within a count of 8. Unless in competitions, the steps should be danced in their given order. This structure not only allows for a better flow and communication between the partners, but also makes it easy for teachers. Students are required to know specific steps / moves that fall into that category before passing to the next level. Being able to name these specific steps helps with the communication between teacher and pupil.

Keeping that in mind,
What would happen if we broke down the structure / order of the dance?
How will that effect the flow?
How will our memory work?
Will we be more conscious of what we are doing?
Will I need to let my parter lead me more? More trust if less anticipation?


  1. Select 6 steps from a Jive
  2. List them in order using names / terminology and number them 1-6
  3. Roll a die and note down the outcome
  4. Repeat step 3 a couple of times
  5. Rewrite steps in new order using step names / terminology
  6. Dance the re-constructed Jive
  7. Describe experience (use questions from above)

Jive first 6 steps

  1. Basic Turn
  2. Follow the Leader
  3. American Swing
  4. Bump
  5. The ‘1-2’
  6. Windmill + Spanish Arms

New order
3 - 1 - 6 - 2 - 4 - 2
American Swing
Basic Turn
Windmill + Spanish Arms
Follow the Leader
Follow the Leader

The Basic Turn, American Swing and The ‘1-2’ are danced on one axis (left-right / horizontal), Follow the Leader and Bump are danced perpendicularly to that axis (front-back / vertical). It wasn’t easy to always keep to the originally given horizontal or vertical direction, so we needed to experiment whether it was possible to switch the axes once there was a new order of the steps. With some practise, we got a hang of it, and understood that the structure was able to be modified not only by the order of the steps, but their direction too.

It was challenging to grasp a flow while dancing. Once we knew which step to dance next, the following 8 counts were easy, as we were using our procedural memory. The moment when one step ended, and a new one started, is when we noticed hiccups in our fluidity. Our brains needed to process new information: what is the new step; in which direction will it go? Stopping every 8 counts to analyse the further steps broke the flow of the dance. With time we tried to memorise two or three steps in a row to reduce the stopping of the dance, but as soon as one forgot, or remembered a little too late, that reflected on both of the dancers. We needed to communicate ahead of time what step would be next in order to continue the movement. This though still broke the flow, as we were focused on exchanging information among one another, rather than falling into rhythm and simply dancing.

There could be two possible solutions for a smoother dance:

  1. The lead dancer could have the new order written on a post-it, which could be stuck to the forehead of the follow dancer. He would be able to anticipate the next move by reading it ahead of time off of their partner. The follow on the other hand would need to listen more to their partner’s body language to anticipate the next step. Trust between the two partners would play a larger role in this scenario, then when danced in the regular order.
  2. The name of the next step could be said out loud by a spectator ahead of time. This timing would be crucial, as it cannot be said too late. The spectator would have to understand when a specific step is about to end, in order to suggest the next step in time for the dancers to process that information and prepare for this upcoming step. Both dancers have a disadvantage here, as neither can guide the other, like in solution 1. Both dancers need to listen to each other’s body language to flow into the next step, in the same direction.

In conclusion, changing the structure of the dance style, doesn’t necessarily break flow. The short moment when connecting individual steps together in a new order was when flow was interrupted. It was no longer smooth thanks to our procedural memory. Our brains needed to process a collection of information, in a short amount of time, large enough for us to be confused. We no longer danced without thinking.

Appendix 8
Experiment #3: Learning a new dance style

Throughout the years, I have tried many different dance styles: from ballet to hip hop. Ballroom and Latin just seemed to stick with me. One of my favourite dance styles is the Jive. Knowing that it originates from Swing, and that there are many great styles that fall into that category, I decided that I wanted to learn the basics of the Swing. I managed to book a private lesson to see my experience of learning a new dance and to see whether I can achieve flow.

There were many questions in my mind before the class started:
How similar is it to what I already know from ballroom?
How similar is it to a Jive?
How long will I need to learn the first level?
Will I manage to remember the terminology?
Will I remember the dance once I get home?
Will I be able to fall into a flow? How long will it take?
What will be the experience / connection with a new dance parter?
Is Swing just as addictive as they say?


  1. Find new dance style to try
  2. Organise private classes with an instructor
  3. Note down questions that arose before the class
  4. Go to dance classes unprepared (didn’t look up steps, rhythm or what to wear)
  5. Note down experience once the class is done
  6. Conclude with relevant research and possible further research topics

The classes took place in a temporary anti-kraak studio in Rotterdam. During the first few minutes we set up the place: the speakers needed to be turned on and the music chosen from a playlist. Whilst he changed into his dancing shoes, I asked whether my sneakers were fine. He explained how sneakers with a suede sole would be better - less friction - and showed his DIY shoes. It’s possible to do it on a budget. As he was busy setting up, I listened to the music and started to get a feel for the tone.

Our first contact was a little stiff. I wasn’t sure what he expected or how he wanted to approach this, so I was open to anything. He seemed a little nervous or disorganised. He started off by standing next to me facing the mirror wall and tapped out the rhythm. Slow, slow, quick, quick, quick - left, right, left, right, left. He continued and I copied. We repeated it until I would get a hang of it, but soon realised I was making a mistake. I was double-tapping at the end of the rhythm. My body wanted to naturally end in the position it started, but turns out the feet / tap coordination alternates every phrase - count from 1 to 4. Once he added direction into the footwork, my confusion with double-tapping instantly stopped. Did my brain categorise the steps and rhythm once a new layer of information was added to the equation?

Once that was mastered, we started dancing together. He led me up and down the room, taking few steps forward or backwards in no particular order. I really needed to anticipate his every move, whilst still trying to process the rhythm in the background. This proved to be a little difficult, and I really felt the precision in my steps, and lack of connection with the partner. I forced myself to stop thinking about what I am doing, and my footwork, rhythm, and fluidity with the partner instantly felt smooth, at ease, uninterrupted.

Once the basics were covered, he started showing me different moves, which I tried to visualise from a bird’s eye view - just like in Experiment #1. I started comparing them to Jive and other Ballroom styles. Turns out they did not have that much in common. I stopped with the comparisons, because I figured it’s a new dance. No previous knowledge will make a big difference - it may even slow me down from learning something new. The only aspect that was similar was my technique to learning a new dance: listening to the music, not the beat, and trusting my partner, which helps tremendously with anticipating the lead and fluidity in movement.

To smoothen our connection, he gave me feedback to stand a little behind him. As we dance side to side I always have my whole length of my upper arm connected along his, as it’s rested on his shoulder. If I stand a little behind him I could anticipate his next moves better. That tip really made a big difference. From that point onward our communication was flawless as I understood his every lead.

It took me an hour of private lessons to learn the basic level of Swing. During the rest of the session he demonstrated new moves for me to copy, and I would write down the terminology on my phone. With my ballet experience, instructions were always formatted using names of moves. Although I knew how to move, I would need to remember the terms. I knew that I could always search on YouTube any Swing moves I would forget, simply if I had the terminology. I was also afraid I would forget the rhythm once I returned home. During class it was easy as I was copying, but I may forget if I had to perform on my own. I filmed my partners basic footwork just in case. This did come in handy in the end, as I did forget the rhythm a few hours later.

Is Swing just as addictive as they say? Yes! Since the class, I have been practising every day for no longer than a minute. This keeps the newly-learned rhythm fresh in my mind, but it also makes me feel good to jump around and loosen my muscles to great jazz music.

To conclude, as I was learning the new style, I focused on the rhythm, moves and direction in a mathematical structured manner. Rigid like Newtonian-clock time. After a while I started feeling the moves and rhythm without thinking what I need to be doing. I forgot about time passing by and enjoyed the moment, smooth like Bersgonian-event time. It is difficult to fall into flow straight away. The links between neurones need to strengthen like Kandel's sea slug experiments have proven. To experience flow, we need to forget about the strict structure and allow for flexibility.