Taking the phrase “there’s an app for that” to the most literal of levels, technology in the year of 2014 is quite remarkable. Apps and various pieces of entertainment software and hardware are weaved into our daily lives and for the most part actually serve to help us out with a variety of problems such as calendar organisation, cross-country travel, weather prediction, and of course gaming for all inclinations and preferences. While many games are for pure entertainment (take Finger Dance for example), some lay on the exercise-based instructional side of the spectrum such as Zumba Dance, but this review is looking at an app that is purely instructional and whose sole purpose is as a tool that can be relied upon by dancers of almost any style. Dancetime Deluxe is a paid-for app that has the potential to be your guiding light as a beginner trying to pick up the rhythm of a variety of dancers or for advanced dancers simply looking to improve.
The official description of the app revolves around the claim that it is the complete rhythm-based practice app for dancers, allowing for rhythmical backing to a wide selection of dance styles that can be utilised by beginners or expert. After opening up the app it soon becomes obvious that the developers are true to their word. This is no dance instruction/entertainment hybrid like Zumba Dance for iOS or console game Zumba Fitness World Party: this is a pure utility app that is designed to allow beginners, instructors, and all kinds of dancers to dance to a backing track and optional metronome in a huge range of styles.
The app’s function first and foremost consists of a database of rhythms from a wide selection of dance style that can be played out loud at any tempo you wish. The interface is extremely simple and user-friendly, displaying the bars and beats per minute at the top, a tempo slider beneath, and beneath this a selection of six options that can be turned off and on at the user’s discretion. At the heart of the app’s function is the database of different dance rhythms that can be accessed by pressing the ‘select’ button in the top right of the screen. This brings up a list of dance styles including American Tango, Bachata, Bellydance, Flamenco, House, Mambo, Quickstep, Salsa, Street, Waltz, and many more.
After selecting the dance style you wish to have a backing for, you are returned to the main screen where you can press ‘play’ to begin the rhythm. This is where the six options in the 2x3 grid come into play, with the ‘rhythm’ button playing a sound clip loop in the selected style. Each option can be turned on and off simply by touching the respective buttons. The rhythm can be turned off for example and the ‘normal’ button can be pressed in order to sound a spoken-word count (One, two, three, four) or a bar count (one, two, three, four, two, two, three, four etc.). There is also a handy metronome which allows for a solid counting of the rhythm with clicks instead of spoken-word numbers. All of these options can be turned on simultaneously or can be enabled/disabled separately depending on your preferences. The tempo slider also allows you to go at your own pace, slowing down and speeding up the rhythms as easily as swiping your finger across the screen
The app effectively solves the problem that many new dancers have of finding backing tracks of the appropriate style that can be used as a backdrop to learn new moves to. Not only does this app provide this function but it also allows the dancer to start and stop the music at any time and has optional counting functions as well as a metronome to drill down the absolute timing of any dance. Its design is simple and based around one main screen which makes it ideal for pretty much anyone to use no matter what your experience with technology is; the clear illustrations for each button also makes is obvious which function you are selecting from just one glance.
While Dancetime Deluxe isn’t ideal for all dance styles, the skills learned from other styles of dance that are included in the app can be applied to many other. The metronome in particular can be useful for any style of dance and will make dancers more aware of the set tempo and enhance their ability to stick to it in spite of the external distractions that area an inevitability of live performance. It could even improve your performance in light-hearted dance and music games by React Music and Just Dance. Developers Wimbledon Sound ensured that this app is accessible for all and as varied in its genres as possible, making it an extremely useful tool for dancers and performers of many different styles.