Choosing the Right Music for Choreography

When it comes to ballroom dancing, there are lots of opportunities to show off what you’re learning. Whether it’s a studio competition, a showcase recital, your first dance as husband and wife, or cutting a rug at a family gathering, everyone loves to watch ballroom dancers. For this reason, if you’re a student of ballroom dancing and are too shy to get up in front of people, I strongly urge you to get past your fear and do it. Before long you’ll be looking for more time on the stage. But first, keep in mind the importance of choosing the right music for your choreography.

Some basics about choosing the right music for choreography:

  • Set the mood for your dance. For example, performing a high-energy Swing to a smooth Foxtrot song isn’t a good match.
  • You better love the song you pick because you’ll be hearing it a lot.
  • Avoid a long intro…
  • A performance around 3 minutes long will hold the audience’s attention.  In addition, a routine of about 1.5 minutes is perfect for a first-time exhibition.

Knowing some elements of music is helpful.

Choose a song for your dance that has a reasonable tempo, a beat that’s easy to pick up, and rhythm that moves you.

  • Tempo = speed of the music.
  • Beat = accent. Usually the accent is on the first beat of the bar. The accent keeps the partners in sync.
  • Rhythm = the pattern created by the accent and speed.

With its lively tempo, beat, and rhythm, Candyman by Christina Aquilera is a good song for a Swing dance performance.

Music with Lyrics or an Instrumental?

Songs with words are crafted like poetry. The words add to the rhythmic feel of the music. You have two choices with this type of music. You can either act out the lyrics as they are sung, or you can put your own spin on the words by telling the story as you hear it.

On the other hand, an instrumental can be whatever you make of it. However, keep in mind that the composer crafted it to evoke a particular mood. And may even include a few different moods throughout the piece. Take the time to listen and see how the song makes you feel. A song without words may be perfect for your dance.

Use this chart of Mood Words when you're choosing the right music for choreography.

Speaking of moods, emotions, and how a song makes you feel, here’s a Dance Safari post for you. It’s called, “The Saddest Love Song“. Don’t forget the tissues.

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