Music defines the style of dance, and every dance has unique timing. Trying to dance the same dance to every song is a hot mess. Dancing off time to any song is painful to watch. Please—learn to dance on time for the sake of the dance and your partner’s enjoyment!

How to Dance on Time


1. Understand the best tempo range for each dance. Contact me if you want a list. At social dances, bars, or clubs, if the music is too fast for dancing, sit out and wait for a more appropriate song.

2. When listening to any song, snap your fingers or tap your feet to the beat, counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.

3. Walk to the beat while listening to the music. Try this when walking in your neighborhood, in the gym, or in the studio. For dances with quick-slow rhythms, every single count represents a “quick.” A step every two beats represents a “slow.”

Women walking outside to practice dancing on time

4. Walk to the quick-slow rhythm. Cha Cha, for instance, is danced 1-3-5-78 or S-S-S-QQ. (More often, Cha-Cha is counted 1-2-3-4&). Two-Step is counted 1-2-3-5, or Q-Q-S-S. The Waltzes are the exception: count 1-2-3-4-5-6 because there are no Quicks and Slows in basic Waltz timing.

5. Now, try dancing by yourself to the appropriate tempo and timing for a familiar dance.

6. Finally, if you have a practice partner, dance with your partner to the appropriate tempo and timing for a familiar dance.


These steps set you up for success when you go out for a night of dancing. It’s also a good foundation for competitive dance. Check back or subscribe to read my next post, “How to Dance with Rhythm!”


Hope to see you on the dance floor!