Why it's important to choose the right music and dance steps

Choosing the right music and moves for your dance can make the difference between a fun or boring dance. At first glance, it seems like a simple process. But whether you are planning on dancing for your friends and family at a special event, or performing in a competition, there’s a lot to consider.
The music should mean something to you. But it should also have a strong rhythm, the right tempo and time length, and match the context of your performance. Inspiration and creativity are an important part of the process. The music should be fun for you, but it needs to function with your routine. It should highlight your moves, not contradict them.
image credit : dancefusion.com.au
Each dance has its own rhythm. The right music can make the dance fun and exciting, and make the rhythm and tempo feel natural. Today’s ballroom dancers perform to all kinds of music from oldies but goodies to modern pop and funk.
The music doesn’t have to be traditional or boring to have a good rhythm. For instance, dancing to the Cha Cha to “Chilly Cha Cha” by Jessica Jay is fast, but the count is really clear so it’s hard to get lost. Or, the Cha Cha can be danced to any song with an even eighth note beat. If groovy is more your style, try Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars.
The tempo of the music is important, and it’s often harder to find music with the proper tempo than it is to find a good rhythm. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, different dances and dance styles require specific tempos. For instance, An international style waltz is typically performed to music that has 84-90 beats per minute and 28-30 measures per minute whereas an American style waltz is faster and requires a tempo of 90-96 BPM and 30-32 MPM. The opposite is true for the Cha Cha, which is slower in the American style (120 BPM and 30 MPM) than in the international style (124 BPM and 31 MPM).
If your dance is for a special event instead of a competition, the tempo is important but you have much more freedom. It’s best to choose a tempo that you and your partner are comfortable dancing to. If you have your heart set on a specific song but the tempo is awkward, a good DJ or computer program can slow it down or speed it up without distorting it.
The length of many songs might be too short or too long but that doesn’t mean you can’t use that song. Length can be adjusted in the same way as tempo. Most studios recommend keeping a wedding dance to one and a half or two minutes. Competition dances have specific time limits so be sure to look up the rules for your competition while you are putting together your music.
Emotional and Contextual Content
Dance is about communicating feeling through movement. The music should help convey feeling, and your movement should match the context of the music. For instance, an upbeat dance rhythm goes better with a song with upbeat lyrics while a romantic song makes a dramatic waltz.
It’s important to choose music that has the right tempo, beat, and lyrics for any performance. But that doesn’t mean that the music has to be boring. Mashups, such as swinging to a pop hit or doing the rumba to a country song, can be just as entertaining as traditional arrangements.
Stylistic Elements of Choreography
Matching stylistic elements of choreography to a particular song or a special arrangement makes performances powerful and moving. Whether you are performing a wedding dance or dancing the tango in a competition, music and movement go hand in hand. For example, a dip can create a dramatic pause in the middle of a foxtrot, or it can provide a charming finale when performed at the end of the piece.
When music is matched well with dance moves, both are accented. This is true for any type of dance. Dancers and instructors create musical arrangements to match the choreography of a dance piece for dramatic effect. It doesn’t matter if you start with the choreography and arrange the music to match it or vice versa. What matters is that the music complements the dance and the movements flow naturally with the music.
Inspiration and Creativity
Music is what moves us to dance. Though movement alone inspires some dancers, most people are inspired to move by music. This truth sparks a creative process that seems simple on the surface but is more complicated. The dance piece must inspire both the performers and the audience.
Whether you’re searching for music that inspires your movement or for music that complements an existing choreography. You need to think about your audience and peers, but most of all, look for music that you love. Your performance will be lackluster if you don’t like what you’re dancing to.
Fun and Function
Dancing should be fun and music that inspires you can make the difference between a boring or entertaining dance. But, the function of the music is important too. If the music is jarring or at an uncomfortable tempo, you won’t have as much fun and your audience will be distracted.
It pays to keep your audience in mind too. That special song that means the world to you and your partner may not be the right piece for a memorable performance. To function well, consider technical details such as length and tempo as well as your audience. If you value and respect your audience more than your artistic vision, you’ll still be true to your vision and you will be able to better communicate it to your audience. Remember, competitions have specific requirements for tempo, time length, and pace. Otherwise, feel free to adjust the tempo of your music to a speed that is comfortable for you and your partner.
Whether you are dancing in a competition or putting together a piece for a special occasion, it’s important that your music has the right tempo, rhythm, and function. But, it should also make the dance fun and inspire you and your audience. Your dance will be memorable and inspiring to everyone when the emotional context of your music and the stylistic elements of your moves work together.

Author Biography
Steve Platt
Steve Platt is the proud owner of five Arthur Murray franchises including Arthur Murray Riverside.  Do you want to get motivated? Go to your PC and print out calendars 2016. Then, write out some goals of what you want to do with your life. Write in goal dates of when you want to take your first dance lesson, perform your first routine, and compete in your first competition. Plan your weight and exercise goals.Write it down, make a plan, then inch-by-inch it will be a cinch!

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