Les Twins: Score-less

It is no secret that I absolutely love Les Twins. The intensity of their performances, and their evolution as dancers and as performers is extremely inspiring to many artists in the world, including myself. Something that continues to amaze me is their ability to listen, hear, analyze and react to the music they dance to. Even in the earlier years of their development, between them and another competitor, they are more aware of sequences and particular aspects in the music that they can accentuate and exploit in dance battles. That, combined with their complete control of their body movements, allows them to literally react to what they hear and also "plan" for what will happen in the music. It's this kind of control that I strive for in my technique, and it is also this ability to listen and comprehend what is happening around me that I am continually working on. 

Given that there may not be a score form of the music that Les Twins listen to, it's obvious that they are continually listening to the same songs until they have completed memorized at least the basic structure and most obvious accents of them. You may notice in videos from different years, where they dance to the same music, the interpretations and accents chosen differ. I think that is a good example of how, upon further listening, they are able to notice even more, and experience the music in a different way. Had they had a score, would this have been the same occurrence? Maybe, maybe not, but both scenarios are ways to gain a deeper knowledge of the pieces.

I experience music similarly to Les Twins in the sense that I can hear multiple lines going on at once, and/or choose to listen to only one voice at a time. Because of this, it was very hard for me to take score study seriously in undergrad. Why did I have to see what was going on when I already knew? It wasn't until I had to perform Beethoven Symphony 3 that I gained more appreciation for score study. Listening to the piece I caught all of the main points. What part of the chord I was in every section, who I was playing with, where the themes were and how they developed, who had duets or trios, interesting counterpoints, etc. The thing is, some recordings don't necessarily catch everything that people play. So, while I was prepared to perform, in rehearsal I heard many lines that I was unable to hear in recordings.

I completely support the use of a score in rehearsals and in studying the music now, and I really have come to appreciate it more as I continue my career. I would suggest to anyone to try to listen to a piece of music that they have no knowledge of, over and over again, and see how much you can catch. Then go to the score and see what you couldn't quite hear. For me, this is a good way to internalize the music and to also develop the skill of deep listening and focus. For Les Twins, it's the only way they have to learn the music they dance to, and because of that circumstance, they are adept at this skill of deep listening. While this may not be a practice that we can always do, I think it's certainly something worth trying out and learning from.

And if you haven't seen Les Twins..........