Pre-Cues in Beat Punctuation

April 5, 2013 Caroleeena Uncategorized


Beat punctuation is the execution of a specific move at a specific point in the rhythm or lyrics. Before we can beat punctuate we have to do three things:
– decide the beat or lyric we want to punctuate
– decide what move we’re going to do on that beat or lyric
– set up for that move so that we are in a position to actually execute the move when we come to that place in the music.

For example, let’s take the song “Laugh As The Sun” by Rusted Root.laugh as the sun
Link to Listen:

Here is the bit of lyrics I will use to illustrate this point:
…..I get so nervous when the spirits hide
…..I can’t wait until that bright light shines, yeah
…..Never did run, never did hide,
…..Waitin’ to see your bright light shine.
…..We’ll wait ‘til the mornin’ comes,
…..We’ll laugh as the sun.
…..Bright and loud, ha, ha, ha!

If I know I want to stick a z-spin, pah!, when the singer says, “Ha Ha Ha!”, I then take a step backward and think, “What move do I want to do right before that so that I am in the right plane, direction and position to be able to execute the “Pah!” move when it’s time? In this case, I would want to think, “Okay, what’s the lyric before “Ha Ha Ha!” It’s “Bright and loud”. Okay so for “Bright and loud”, I want to be doing something that gets my hand on the outside of the hoop, the hoop in the front vertical plane, with the hoop stationary and not spinning. Then I plug in one of the moves I know that has all those elements.

The line “Bright and loud” is a pre-cue. It’s where you get to set up the move before actually executing the move. It’s also a mental hook that you can hang your choreography hat on when you’re trying to create a dance. Pre-cues help us prepare but they also help us remember.

Some moves or transitions require more prep time than others. For these, I may choose an earlier pre-cue. So if I want to stick a Z-spin on the “Ha Ha Ha” but I’ve just been doing something very different, say, hooping on one leg, it’s going to take me longer to make that transition. I might want to set my pre-cue at “We’ll laugh as the sun!” so that I beat punctuate the word “sun” with a sharp lift off the leg into lasso so that the word “sun” happens at the very top of my lift. Pah! Then, at “Bright and Loud”, change the plane from horizontal top to vertical wall plane in front. I might add details like, “bottom of the hoop touching the floor at my feet (creating a nice line and the largest range of movement). Then, at “Ha Ha Ha!”, stick that z-spin so the spin happens at the very top of the circle! (And, as a finishing touch, while doing the lift, I might bring the toe of one foot to the back on the opposite knee and then rise onto the ball of that foot so that I am in a standing pirouette when the hoop hits the height of its arc.)

So how would I diagram all that? I’d write it in my hoop journal like this:
– “We’ll laugh as the sun”:    Leg hooping–>lift from behind–>lasso
– “Bright and loud”:    Transition to front wall plane, hand on outside
– “Ha, ha, ha!”:     Stick Z-spin, add pirouette pose

Boom! That’s a whole little sequence! Preparation, setup, execution. One or two of these sequences, a beginning, and an end and you have a dance.

Final note: If that’s your main sequence, practice the heck out of it! Don’t stop until you can do it 25 times flawlessly. You’ve got a lot riding on that sequence. You want it to be second-nature and flawless. It will help you remember, it will help your technique, it will help your confidence.

beat punctuationcuesdancepahpre-cues

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by and