#TimestepTuesday is a fun, social media celebration of tap dancers practicing (or as we like to call it, shedding).
What is a timestep? (0:55)
A timestep is essentially a step that keeps time, but more specifically, there are two types of timesteps:
- The traditional timesteps (single timestep, double timestep, triple timestep)
- The conceptual timesteps (three and a break, AABA)
Three and a Break (1:35)
Choreograph an eight count phrase (also known as two bars in 4/4 time) and we’ll call this phrase your ‘A’. After you’ve choreographed your ‘A’, you’ll repeat it and do it a total of three times. Next, you’ll choreograph a new eight count phrase, which we’ll call your ‘B’ or break (be sure that this phrase is in the same tempo and groove as your A). Do your A three times and then do your B (this is why it’s called three and a break).
AABA is a common phrasing structure in 32-bar jazz standards. We’ll start the same way. Choreograph an 8 count phrase (two bars in 4/4 time) we’ll call your ‘A.’ Do this once on the right foot, a second time on the left foot and from here, create a new eight count in the same groove and tempo as your ‘A,’ which will be your ‘B.’ In the case of AABA, your ‘B’ is called a bridge. Finally, repeat your ‘A’ on whatever foot is most accessible, completing your AABA phrase.
Why I Love Teaching Timesteps (5:40)
- Strengthen musicality
- Gain knowledge on phrasing
- Practical application of technique
- The repetition is an opportunity for additional practice
- Offers students an at-home practice tool
Why I Love Practicing Timesteps (7:27)
- Repetitive nature
- Hone your technique
- Strive for clarity
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