When we think of the topic ballroom dancing usually we think about slower tunes involving string arrangements and the like.
This was certainly what would have been played many, many years ago. In its earlier incarnations, this type of dancing tended to be done to the sounds of the cello, the violin, and the acoustic guitar.
This type of music was well-suited to ballroom dances of the era since they were done in a meticulous, slower-paced manner.
Of course, with the change of time, ballroom dancing evolved, and so did the music that went along with it.
No longer do we primarily hear the acoustic music of stringed instruments.
Nowadays, there are all sorts of different varieties of music used for ballroom dances.
Depending on the type of dance it will determine the kind of music played.
Broadly speaking, ballroom dancing encompasses roughly ten categories of traditional dances and a range of permutations within each. Clearly, each will have its own style of music.
Here we are going to review many examples of the musical styles suited to each kind of dance:
Best Music for Ballroom Dancing: Waltz
Here is one of my favorite waltz song to dance to and I think is perfect even if you’re a newcomer:
The name of the song is Take It To The Limit by The Eagles.
Best Ballroom Dance Song: Rumba
I really like this song by Vicente Y Leticia – Quién Como Tú
Best Ballroom Dance Music: Foxtrot
This is another favorite Foxtrot song: Ian Lumley – Capone
Let’s Dance to a Tango
This Tango song is called Waiting For The Night
Best Music for Ballroom Dancing: Chacha
I love to dance to this one called Whatever Lola Wants
The Spanish style of dance based on the movements of a bullfighter, the Paso Doble is a popular form of ballroom dance. It is often the case that the female dancer is representative of the bullfighter’s cape.
This is a truly dramatic and fiery type of dance, and the music is a reflection of that.
Generally, music for the Paso Doble is instrumental, fast in tempo and intensity. It is necessary to keep Spanish themes in mind when choosing tunes that feature maracas, guitars, and brass horns.
Here is an example of pasodoble music and dance by Derek Hough & Chelsie Hightower with Mark Ballas on guitar. This is one of my favorites:
Jive is known to be a fast-paced, light-hearted style of dance that provides an opportunity for free-wheeling expression.
The movements are kicky and quick and there is a good amount of twirls and spins for the female partner.
Jive is primarily done in a relatively stationary spot, with less movement across the floor than in other varieties of dance.
“Hound Dog” by Elvis is, of course, a jive classic, but all songs with a similar tempo can be used for jiving.
Here is Elvis performing Hound Dog:
Here you have a demonstration by Julianne and Derek Hough performing the Jive:
When you blend the jive and the swing together, you get the quickstep.
This is another sharply defined, fast-paced type of dance that is perfect for instrumental tunes.
Some ideal song choices for quickstep routines include “Flash,” “Big Band,” and the like.
Common to these songs is their cheerful nature and feel of the ’40s. dance club appeal.
Right now you’re getting ready to see Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova dancing quickstep:
Among the best-loved of all ballroom dance styles is the foxtrot. However, it can be quite difficult for people to learn.
A dance that features great fluidity and grace, one must master the progression of pace in order to get it just right.
This is considered a formal sort of dance, making it hard to pick just the right music.
Remember that the tune should not be exceedingly fast, but capable of following the distinctive step pattern.
Now first, I like to share with you the international style foxtrot.
International Style Foxtrot Technique by Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova
Now here you have American style foxtrot, that way you can see both styles:
Chacha is a dance that is flirty, vivacious and always a lot of fun. Heavy use of the hips combined with quick-stepping set this dance apart from the rest.
In terms of selecting music, the chacha is a bit less daunting than other ballroom dance styles.
Here’s Riccardo Cocchi & Yulia Zagoruychenko at 2014 Washington Open DanceSport Competition:
Here’s a favorite from my friend Abraham & Trish dancing chacha. Awesome chacha song to dance to: