I had a revelation while watching videos, trying to select the ones that demonstrated nice musicality. My realization was that, hey, we are watching performances! And even if we were to select videos of social dancing, we are still watching from the outside.

What do I mean? Well, if I select a video of someone taking staccato steps and highlight that point, I completely ignore what is happening with the rest of the body. And, really, the rest of the body is hugely important – and hard to analyze from the outside. It is hard to really see what two people are doing with their torsos, breathing, etc from the outside. Given the amount that I have written about these parts of the dance, I simply can’t ignore them.

Musicality is a body-wide aspect of the dance. It doesn’t live in the feet.

Some of the best dancing of staccato notes that I have experienced was accompanied by unbroken/continuous movement in the torso. The feet can play with individual notes in the song while the rest of the body feels the musical phrasing. I don’t have a good way to show this in a video, so you will just have to tell me whether or not you agree. (And perhaps this is a case where you either understand or hopefully one day …)

All that said, I will provide one example of a dance in which I see, as an outsider, very nice musicality. This is a demo danced by Homer and Christina Ladas from San Francisco.