Dance Card: 2 A Certain Way to Beguine

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Lura Johnson, Piano

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Instrumentation: Piano

Total Dance Card Timing: 20 Min.

Beguine Timing: 3 Minutes


A Certain Way... is dedicated to:
Francesca Monroe

The beguine has its 19th C. origins in the melding of polka with Dominican folk dance, evolving from a Spanish bolero rhythm into a slow and sensual rumba, and coming to the U.S. in the early 20th C. from Guadeloupe and Martinique. Today it is remembered in the U.S., if at all, only because of Cole Porter's 1935 song Begin the Beguine.

My beguine (from the French word for flirtation) doesn't stray far from the rhythmic structure and romance (think palm trees swaying in the moonlight) of the beguine model. In A Certain Way to Beguine the characteristic slow-quick-quick rhythm occurs in three layers: melody that alternates between a solid and a syncopated pulse, syncopated middle voice wherein the second-half of each measure finds the rhythmic pulse quickening, and a bass line emphasizing the 4/4 meter while also reinforcing the "quickening" aspect through its dependable half note - quarter note - quarter note rhythm.