Ballroom dance steps

3 tips to help you find the beat in music

by Leon Turetsky · 26 comments

Finding-the-beat-in-music-image[Video podcast #3]

Do you want to start dancing to the right beat of the music?

In this video I share 3 tips to help you. Let me know in the comments what you think.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Glenn March 31, 2011 at 10:56 am

Leon, thank for the information.
I think it would be more helpful if you demonstrate the tips with a music example. I know that’s more difficult, but for beginners it would be very helpful. Thank you anyway.

Leon March 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

Hi Glenn,

That’s a good idea. I will consider doing a lesson with examples to music…

Chai Miller April 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm

In Mambo the accented beat is 2 and 4, correct? Are there other dances that have the accented beat on a beat other than 1?

Leon April 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm


Yes in the Mambo, we dance on counts 2 and 4, its not necessarily that the music will have the accent on 2 and 4 though…the more authentic mambo songs will.

More example, in International style Rumba, we dance on counts 4 and 2, but there could be an accent in the music on 1 as well.
Or in ChaCha we try to accent counts 1 and 3.

salida molena April 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Thanks for the tips on counts. Of course they are very helpful but I agree with Glenn that demonstrating the count tips while the music plays would be a lot easier for learners to follow.
Thanks again

Clint April 6, 2011 at 6:37 am

There were a few things there, that I hadn’t thought to use. Thanks for sharing.

New Jersey Summer Camps April 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Terrific points.. I will try it with the beats of music.

dom kwann September 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Very good topic. Like what you said, ‘a lot of people has problem with it’.
please provide more video and sample.
Beat of the music is most important steps

Tony Warnock September 21, 2011 at 8:25 am

The only dances where the beat should be hard to find are some of the fast Latin dance. Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Bolero, Rumba, Cha-Cha, and Swing should be easy. Salsa, timba, mambo, etc., are more of a problem for two reasons. The tempo is fast and the bass line may not match the basic rhythm. A rumba or bolero has a basic bass line of half:quarter:quarter (a ration of 2:1:1, counted 1_2, 3, 4) whereas a salas may have very fast dotted-quarter:dotted-quarter:quarter (ratio 3:3:2, counted 1_2,&_3,4). “Blue Bayou” is a slow example; neither American nor English style rumbas step on the middle beat. Salsa or timba make make this even more complex by tying the last beat of one measure to the first beat of the next measure. The bass never has a downbeat in this style.

The piano does something different. The melody instruments (trumpets, etc.) which are loud enough to follow need not follow the beat (in this or any other dance for that matter.)

In Latin, the claves will indicate the beat, but they are often of low volume.

allen darnel October 1, 2011 at 10:06 am

hi, i need to know if the merengue has an accent over the second E or any other place? and is there an accent mark over the dance movement called nanigo? tnx, allen

Leon October 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

The accent in Merengue would be on count “1″. And all beats are equal beats.

Sunil phirke March 14, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thanks Leon,you have given nice tips on beats n how to count one cos i m too fast while dancing n confused the counts, its my bigginers 5th Salsa class,but ur vedio clips find me very suitable nad easy to understand.i do practice with girl partners remembering your tips.

Leon March 14, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hey Sunil…I am happy you like the tips. Welcome aboard and glad you enjoying the videos Sunil!

VICTOR CASSAR August 4, 2012 at 8:13 am


dhanushka September 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Normally in championship dancing at any dance we start from the second beat of the song, but eg: In the cha cha how do we know when to start dancing?( when the song starts does the beat also start) Give me some tips related to that

Leon September 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Hi Dhanushka,

Yes normally when the song starts the beat starts immediately so you will be able to find the beat.

Bonfic September 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I appreciate very much, for helping me understand where to locate beat and start dancing. Thank you.

Cristhiane February 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Awesome tips! Thank you!

Klarina August 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Thanks it helped

jay March 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Thanks for the tips. I agree with Glenn that can we get the examples with different kinds of music

Sirisha June 8, 2014 at 6:33 am

Thanks Leon for the tips…awaiting for more to come.

maria September 24, 2014 at 3:56 am

Thank you Leon for sharing these tips. It would help me a lot.


Sasha March 6, 2015 at 1:02 am

Thank you Leon! These tips really helped me find the beat and start on time..

Brandy March 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Hi there! Wouldd you mind if I share your blog site with my twitter team?
There’s a bunch of individuals that I assume would really appreciate your material.

Please let me know. Manny thanks.

Steve Peters May 17, 2015 at 5:14 am

Thanks for the tips as to how to start dqncing on the first beqt of the music , I have a problem at times in picking up the first beat, my mind then to go blank in also remembering the figures to ezecut them, can you pleqse help me?

Jennifer May 20, 2015 at 12:41 am

Thank you for the tips, it makes sense.

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