I made these notes whilst learning the Madison. It's a great dance and looks fantastic when everyone does it together on the dancefloor. And that's the key point. It's rather tricky and you can only do it properly when you know the exact timing for each of the figures. That's what these notes are all about.
Please bear in mind -
The music is The Madison Time by The Ray Bryant Combo. It's available on various CD compilations. The tune is in regular 4/4 time. The whole track lasts just over three minutes and has 13 x 8 bars of music.
The dance consists of a basic step and a series of figures. On the record, Ray introduces each figure and signals when to start with "Hit it". Each figure occupies a fixed number of beats, but they are all different. The charts show you how many beats they should have, so you can stay in time. Don't expect the figures to start on the first beat of a bar or at the beginning of a phrase. They go all across the music. Just listen for the call and go when you hear "Hit it".
The basic step occupies 6 beats. This is one and a half bars, so the step weaves pleasantly in and out of the tune. To begin a figure, Ray always calls "Hit it" on the 4th beat of the 6. This gives you a moment's thinking time before the figure. Always complete the basic step you're doing, then go straight into the figure, whatever the tune may be doing. If you find the call is not on beat 4, then you've done something wrong.
Here are the details.
Bob B, 09-10-99