Music Cut for New West Coast Swing Routine

MIxing West Coast Swing MusicAnd so begins a new year! Anna and I have been discussing choreographing a new West Coast Swing routine for some time now. We have finally chosen a song out of 3 possibilities. Of the two that we did not choose this time, one was a slow blues and the other was an artsy song that reminded me of a vignette from Cirque du Soleil. The one that we did select has a folksy-rock feel with a good up-beat tempo and strong positive interpretation.

Although we are not ready to reveal the name or artist of the song, we feel it has great meaning, depth, musical nuance and message. For that reason it was very difficult to chop up the song into parts and restitch it back together.

Mixing the Song

Yesterday, I spent about 2 hours mixing the song into a version that fit within the regulation time of 3 minutes. Considering that I like the song very much and that it tells a meaningful story, it was challenging to splice it into something that made sense and kept the authenticity of the song.

The key to great mixing is to make the splices unnoticeable and keep the meaning/spirit of the song. These two elements forced me to create 4 different versions of our routine. The first 3 versions were too long - one was even 3 min, 20 seconds - way too long for the regulations of the NASDE West Coast Swing circuit. The final version (my fourth), was perfect. Exactly 3 minutes long.

Missing the parts left behind, but happy with the results

Personally, I miss some of the music and lyrics that were left on the "cutting room floor" but after listening to the final draft with Anna on a set of strong speakers, I was pleased with the result. The song retained its crescendo, strength, and message.

A Tribute

Anna and I are very happy that we'll be working with this song. It's going to be a challenge choreographically in many ways. We want to capture the innocence and maturity that occurs within this song. That in of itself is a tall order. However, this piece is also a tribute. We first started this piece while Arte Phillips was alive. In fact, he was in the room when we first began exploring this song. He got to see the first sketches of this piece. We hope he is pleased with the final product.