In order to learn and execute the figures written in the charts, a basic understanding of musical components is necessary (see also "Music in DanceSport" below).
Timing is the correct use of Tempo (speed of the music) when executing Steps/Actions. This is given for each Step/Action of the chart.
Beat Value is the quantity of a Beat used for a Step/Action and is a derivative of timing.
Artists and performers in the musical world have long ago discovered that in order to produce a performance with high artistic content, some flexibility in the interpretation of established, classical Beat values is necessary.
In classical and jazz music, the principle of Shuffle Timing is frequently used.
Written compositions, where Beats (sounds) have been attributed fixed values for purpose of clarity and uniformity, can be reinterpreted by applying the rule where each Beat's duration can be either increased until it reaches double its original value or decreased until it becomes only half of the established duration.
This is why when listening to the same piece of classical or jazz music, performed by different artists, the effect and overall feel changes slightly, giving the audience a completely different impression every time.
In DanceSport, the timing for each figure is established and written clearly in the charts.
Each of the composing Beats is attributed with fixed Beat Value:
1 Whole Beat
& 1/2 Beat
a 1/4 of a Beat
S 2 Beats (4/4 Time Signature, ex. Slow Fox), 1 Beat (2/4 Time Signature, ex. Tango)
Q 1 Beat (4/4 Time Signature, ex. Slow Fox), ‘/1 Beat (2/4 Time Signature, ex. Tango)
However, fixed Beat values can prove constricting for advanced dancers who, as biomechanical research has shown, tend to personalize the duration of each Step/Action included in a figure in relation to their physical characteristics, biomechanical diversity and personal ability.
As DanceSport is an artistic sport, introducing this principle of Shuffle Timing and giving dancers the possibility to increase the artistic and musical value of their performances can only be beneficial.
When studying the charts, the standardised Beat values should still be observed, however not as fixed rules but as guidelines.
Given the introduction of Shuffle Timing, the inclusion of a column for Beat value in the charts is considered superfluous.