What Does 8 Count Mean in Dancing?

By Tom Johnson ; Updated September 15, 2017
The 8-count can be crucial to keeping time in dance.

The 8-count is one of the most basic elements of learning to dance. While other counts are used, the 8-count is found in the majority of modern dance forms.

Significance

When learning or practicing dance, most songs are broken up into segments or units called 8-counts. Each of these segments is measured in counts of eight beats, or how long it would take to count out "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8" in a rhythmic fashion. Once the count of eight is reached, dancers start over from one and a new segment begins.

Function

Dancers and choreographers use 8-counts on a regular basis to learn and teach dancing because most popular dance forms are based on 8-counts, which are essentially two 4-count measures back-to-back.

Fun Fact

Even though the majority of dance styles are based around 8-count divisions, the number of counts in each segment can vary. Certain styles of dance can feature 3-count, 6-count, and even 12-count segments.

About the Author

Tom Johnson has served as the lead writer of his copywriting business since 2008. He has extensive backgrounds in psychology and marketing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Guam, and a Level II teaching certification in language arts from the Guam Department of Education.