Classic ballroom dance songs

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by ms.m, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    How interesting

    I suppose you meant this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK74kZoyEXw

    But how interesting. Is the usage of the word "march" for "foxtrot" widespread in your part(s) of the world? I would only call rather military kind of music a "march". March was invented actually much earlier than foxtrot which is an offshoot of ragtime.
  2. mummsie

    mummsie Member

    We use March music in Australia for New Vogue (Sequence dancing). Here is an example of some kids doing a gypsy tap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMoxL19lMGc and 4th dance in is the Open couples doing the same dance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkLXVp7PJrc The other dances in the event are Twilight Waltz, Excelsior Schotissche, Tango Terrific, Gypsy Tap and Barclay Blues. Music varies greatly, however the usual music is the one the kids are dancing too as it has a better beat. mummsie
  3. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: march

    thanks so much, mummsie :)
  4. ms.m

    ms.m New Member

    Wow. Thank you so much for all your help. I am feeling slightly less clueless now. We are in America. I don't know the skill level of the dancers, but I'm going to guess beginning to intermediate, or maybe a range of abilities. They asked for about half waltzes.

    So I have couple of extra questions, after reading all your very helpful information:

    • Do dance songs usually have introductions, or do they just start right in? Will playing an introduction (or not) confuse the dancers? If there's no introduction, do the dancers start exactly with the orchestra, or do they just come in whenever they want to?

    • What minimum and maximum length guidelines could you suggest? Is five minutes for a song too long?

    And again, thank you, thank you. I am pretty clueless about dance, and your responses have been more helpful than anything I've been able to find with Google so far.
  5. old dog

    old dog Member

    If you have any beginners or novices, a steady tempo and clearly audible beats are especially important. All of the waltz music examples I suggested above (post #8 in this thread) are "slow" and all the samples I referred to have tempi appropriate for American social dancing.

    Very difficult to start dancing with the start of the music. An intro of at least 2 or 4 measures is good. It will have clues and cues as to what is coming up and allows time for the dance partners to address each other and find their place on the floor. Good dancers will want to start their dancing with the start of a musical phrase... as soon as they are in a "ready state." (Thus the need for an intro.)

    Popular social dance tunes run from two to four+ minutes. Faster and more energetic dances might tend to run a little shorter. Slower dances may be longer. If you have a short-duration piece that the dancers seem to like, it is OK to follow it with another piece of the same type, but most social dancers seem to like a nice rotating variety of dance rhythms and tempi.
  6. GGinrhinestones

    GGinrhinestones Well-Known Member

    Introductions to find a partner and get settled and ready to dance are good. However, introductions that don't establish the rhythm or type of song are useless - in other words, dancers use the first few bars of an introduction to determine the type of song and what is the appropriate dance. Nothing worse than walking onto the floor for one type of dance only to have the song really kick in and it's some other dance completely, especially if turns out to be something you don't know.


    IMO, yes, 5 minutes is pretty long for a social dance in the ballroom world. 3-4 is about the maximum. Too much longer and the dancers will get a) tired, b) bored, or c) both. Variety is a good thing.
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Usually couples find each other within two or three minutes. But inexperienced dancers want to hear rhythm, speed, and style first, or need some help in the form of a short announcement.
  8. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i more or less echo the sentiments previously expressed in terms of tempo/duration/etc. and add the following clarifications drawn from my experience as a paid DJ:

    everyone dances for different reasons. it follows that what appeals to any given individual musically may not appeal to the person dancing next to them. i have playlists that are well received by those with more of a musical background (i have both classical & jazz training) that result in a corresponding lack of affinity by a different segment of the dance community that is primarily beat driven and would dance as lyrically if they were listening to a metronome. and vice versa. it just is what it is. i would recommend going to the greatest common denominator which in IMO would be more clearly defined beats vs. adding syncopated rhythms or counter-melodies that might confuse a portion of the crowd. for example: for your chacha's, include a 4&1 ostinato rhythm in the percussion to help dancers identify where the "cha-cha-cha" occurs in the timing. more legato phrasing would be preferable for waltz, less so for foxtrot, and actually more staccato phrasing for tango. no segues - people want time to find another partner for the next dance. that kind of thing. better yet, find a generic ballroom dance music CD and use those arrangements as templates.
  9. piimapoika

    piimapoika Member

    I agree that introductions must be short and give some idea of what is coming. Jealousy, as written by Jakob Gade, has a very long intro that sounds nothing like the tango which eventually follows, and most dance orchestras substitute their own.

    The only marches I have ever heard in a ballroom are for sequence dances such as the Boston Two Step, Military Two Step, etc. For sequence dances an intro is an absolute necessity, so that everybody knows where the start point is and can all start together. Furthermore, music for sequence dancing must stick to sequence as well as tempo.

    I would forget about the pasodoble altogether. I learned it in 1962, and since then I have heard it played twice at ordinary social dances, both times as part of a "round the world" mixer dance and lasting about 30 seconds.

    I would expect to hear dances played in pairs: two waltzes, two quicksteps, etc. This is probably a European thing. In Argentina they play "tandas" of 4 or 5. Ask the organisers what they want.

    No need to worry about particular tunes. El Choclo is a fine tango, and Anything Goes is a great quickstep, but nobody will complain about their absence as long as they get some good tangos and quicksteps.
  10. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    I just want to chime in with the uncertainty about marches. We have now heard from dancers in Australia and the UK who do sequence dances (all couples doing the same moves at the same time) to marches, but since you're in the US, I'm not sure whether or not the same things apply. Personally, I've never been at a social dance that included marches. So that's one that you might want to ask the organizer about, to get a clearer idea of what they're looking for.
  11. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    One other logistical thing to clear with the organizer: sometimes there are playlists printed out and distributed telling which songs and dances will be played in which order. This can be nice for dancers to plan out their dancing, though only very beginning dancers will depend on it to know which dance to do. In the city I used to live in, no one ever provided playlists; in my new home, they almost always do. So you might want to check what the convention is where you are.

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