Time Signature is written to explain to the musician how many beats there are in one bar of music and what musical note represents one beat. A time signature of 2/4 is used for Tango, 3/4 for the Waltzes and 4/4 for Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep.
Rhythm is defined musically as the regular recurrence of accents in each musical bar. The dancers will use the accents to promote their musical feeling and expression. The body can create rhythm in many ways, but generally it is felt most strongly in the rotation of the large group of muscles making up the thighs and lower body. Rhythm may also be defined for the dancer as their choice of when to move.
There are also different ways of expressing music.
Staccato. To make each movement sharply distinct.
Legato. To make a movement in a smooth flowing manner.
Rubato. To make a movement that temporarily ignores the strict tempo rhythm that is usually expected. A dancer wishing to use this type of rhythm would need to discuss this in detail with a teacher.
Teaching Tip. With perfect posture and balance you move when and how you want to move, with poor posture and balance you move when you have to move.
Rhythm given in the description of each figure. The first figure(s) indicate the beat(s) in the musical bar (measure), being used on each step; the bold underlined number is the bar of music being danced, which indicates the number of musical bars required for each figure and as an aid to Phrasing. The figure in brackets gives the beat value; that is the number of beats or part of a beat being danced. The final letter gives the rhythmic count (except in Waltz) of Slow, Quick and &.
Beat value as follows:
Slow-signifying a beat value of two beats.
Quick-signifying a beat value of one beat.
&-signifying a beat value of 1/2 beat. Therefore Q& is 1/2 beat, 1/2 beat. S & is 1.1/2 beats, 1/2 beat.
a-signifying a beat value of 1/4 beat. Therefore Qa is 3/4 beat, 1/4 beat.
As some figures may be danced in more than one dance, Rhythm is given for each dance suggested.
The Waltz is given as usual in number count.
Please see the Tango section for a description of rhythm in this dance.