- What kind of music should you choose for classical dance?
- The top modern Jazz dance songs
- Best tunes for contemporary dance
- Best Latin music to move to
- Tone your body with Zumba dancing
- Hip Hop: our selection of music
- Rhythmic music to tap dance to
- Ideas for your swing dance playlist
- Romantic wedding songs to sway to
- An endless stream of music
Dance and music are two art forms, intimately intertwined. Dance cannot be without music, and can enhance the emotional experience of a song.
The choice of music is crucial in the approach to dance; the sounds that fill your dance class complement moves in utter harmony.
Whether you are a dance instructor or student, it is essential to choose pieces that motivate and inspire movement.
Depending on the type of dance, you should choose music that is compatible with the style you’re doing.
Hip hop, classic or contemporary dance: there is a style for all, corresponding to anyone’s taste!
Discover our selection of the most adaptable music for your style of dance.
What kind of music should you choose for classical dance?
Whether you’re organising a party or preparing a ballet class, the whole affair hinges on choosing the best music and melodies.
Classical dance is a dance term that covers ballet, Indian classical dance or traditional form of dancing in a number of different cultures.
Ballet dancing is a dance of pure focus: the dancer will pay more heed to the melody of any song, rather than the lyrics. Instrumental music allows the dancer to focus on the melody and sound of the music, rather than adapt their dance to the lyrical content of a song.
To be able to dance to classical music such as, say, Beethoven, a dancer needs to connect to, understand and feel the music.
Some ballerinas take advantage of the relative absence of lyrics in classical music and perform new dance moves as a means of enriching their musical culture.
In fact, practicing classical dance–or the Viennese waltz, the standard waltz and any other ballroom dance–allows dancers to dance to famous tunes composed by the greatest musicians of all time, from around the world.
There are many albums composed wholly of great classical dance tunes:
- La Danse par le disque, barre and milieu, by Colette Altruc
- a complete course of classical dance
- Classical Dance: Complete Course, by Anne Thomas
- Warm-up Music for Classical Dance, by Ballet Jazz Company
- Music from the Paris Classical Dance Class, by Ellina Akimova
- Ballets for Children, by the Royal Opera House, London
- Classical Music, Dance Music, by Trio Raisner
- Classical Dance Music, by Ballet Academy
Our advice? Watch professional ballets, such as Swan Lake or Nutcracker, to discover classical music and get inspired by accomplished dancers! Use these songs in your own practice and use YouTube or streaming services to discover more classical music to dance to.
The top modern Jazz dance songs
This style of expression in dance is the current wave in dance schools everywhere!
Jazz dance emerged in mid-20th century, expanding on African American jazz dance styles, and can be traced back to African ritual dances. With the emergence of dancing television shows like ‘So You Think You Can Dance‘, modern jazz dance became more popular and well-known.
Popular amongst beginners and professional dancers alike, modern jazz dancing can be taught via group lessons or during private dance classes.
The advantage of this style? It is a particularly more open form of freestyle that allows students to learn moves through diverse and variable music.
The dancer can really move through the music and express themselves through movement. That is why the music choice is especially important in modern jazz dancing.
There are endless choices of jazz dance songs to choose from. Pop music is a great place to start. Despite the name, jazz dance doesn’t have to be jazz music!
Here is a small, decidedly non-exhaustive list of popular contemporary music to do modern jazz dance to:
- Breathe Me, by Sia
- Video Games, by Lana del Rey
- Joga, by Björk
- Iron, by Woodkid
- Follow Me, by Muse
- Time after Time, by Cindy Lauper
- A Little Less Conversation, by Elvis Presley
- Je te Donne (I Give to You), by Jean-Jacques Goldman
- Hung Up, by Madonna
- Rock Your Body, by Justin Timberlake
- Play Hard, by David Guetta
- Candy, by Robbie Williams
- Ballroom Blitz, by Sweet
Your choice of music is crucial to achieving any choreographic sequence worthy of the name, and you should choose a song you like.
In order to prepare for an entry examination to a university or school or a dance competition, the aspiring dance candidate is generally permitted expression through free dance.
Rousing, inspiring music is the perfect accompaniment for future professional dancers or ballerinas to perform a spirited choreographed dance that will reveal their passion for dancing. A passionate performance is key to being a great dancer.
Check out Superprof for adult dance classes.
Best tunes for contemporary dance
Contemporary dance is arguably one of the most impressive dance styles today.
Similar to the history of jazz dance, contemporary dance emerged in the mid-20th century and incorporates movements from both classical and jazz dance.
Letting out one’s soul while maintaining tight control over movement and technique is the trademark of a master contemporary dancer.
Contemporary dance is a free-form dance that combines all sorts of dances, from classical to jazz.
In lyrical modern music, dancers use their bodies to interpret the music. The dances are mainly choreographed to lyrical music, and are highly emotional, expressive dances with a lot of heart. Unlike ballet, lyrical dance thrives off of lyrics.
Neoclassical dance is a ballet style which is more expansive than classical ballet–the tempo is usually fast, and the dance is more technical.
Dancers can dance solo or with a partner, which is best done with music suited to the performer’s tastes.
The best way to choose music would be selections that are in line with one’s own technique: some music favours acrobatic sequences, while others allow you to dance exquisitely, at a slower tempo. It’s most important that you feel the music–if the tempo or rhythm feels right to you, go ahead and choreograph a dance.
What do you think of our selection of the best set of contemporary dance songs?
- Come Home, by One Republic
- Chandelier, by Sia
- Halo, by Beyoncé
- Mad World, by Gary Jules
- California King Bed, by Rihanna
- Don’t You Remember, by Adele
- Make You Feel My Love, by Adele
- Adore You - Harry Styles
- Comptine d’un Autre été, by Yann Tiersen
- from the soundtrack of the French film Amélie
- The Scientist by Coldplay
- Come Away With Me, by Norah Jones
- Only You, by Joshua Radin
Contemporary dance is an emotional expression; thus it is recommended to select music according to the performance mood.
For example, you might play Always Midnight by Pat Monahan for a dance with a sad, bittersweet dance and choose an uplifting song such as Say by John Mayer, for a more hopeful, happy dance.
It’s best for the dancer to choose music they connect with, so they can choreograph a dance that they really feel.
Music is an emotional language within itself, and paired with dance, a performance can be beautiful, incredibly moving and act as an emotional release. Choosing music that means something to you will help you to perform an emotional, moving dance.
If you need some tips on where to start, you can find already curated playlists on platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. For instance, you can search up pop music, or even search for something as simple as ‘dance’.
Contemporary dance students are advised to create an original playlist for their performance, perhaps on their favourite music streaming site like Apple Music or Spotify.
Find dance classes in Melbourne on Superprof.
Best Latin music to move to
“Dance is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire made legal by music.”– George Bernard Shaw
Latin dances–merengue, bachata, cha-cha, paso doble, rumba and others–are a celebration of love! The dance has taken on many forms in modern times.
Thanks to the choreography, both delicate and rhythmic, the Latin style of dance leads dancers to discovering their body’s innate sensuality.
Latin dancing should not be confused with salsa dancing, even though both styles of dance have the same origin, share some traditions and quite a few moves.
This genre of social dance is often included under the broad umbrella of ballroom dancing, but maintains itself as a separate discipline from the more formal footwork of dances choreographed for the ballroom, such as the foxtrot, swing or tango.
Latin dances are generally a couples’ dances; getting close to your partner is key to creating the intimate moves of South American dances.
Due to the emergence of Latin pop music, Latin dance lessons are growing in popularity.
Dance teachers can hardly train all the new students seeking to learn the choreography of the frenetic Latin rhythm!
Here are our top Latin music selections to move your body to:
- Loca Loca, by Shakira
- Bailando, by Enrique Iglesias
- Despacito, by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber
- The Lambada, by Kaoma
- Zouk Machine, by Maldon
- I Belong to You, by Lenny Kravitz
- Let Go, by Collective Mixed
- Obsession, by Aventura
- Enamorame, by Papi Sanchez
- Lo Que Paso Paso, by Daddy Yankee
- I Know you Want Me, by Pitbull
- The Camisa Negra, by Juanes
Follow the rhythm of these tunes and let yourself shine in your Salsa class or your mambo course!
Tone your body with Zumba dancing
Before being considered an art form, dance should be thought of as a sport in its own right.
Zumba and Aquazumba, pole dancing and even step aerobics: these are all examples of how music can influence physical fitness through dance.
Zumba is an exercise and fitness dance, choreographed with four rhythms, including cumbia, salsa, reggaeton and merengue. The idea of Zumba is to make exercise fun, and what better way than to dance to upbeat, exciting music.
To obtain a slender, toned body, one must train regularly. Before training, warming up is essential, and not just because it provides a good dose of motivation for the workout session ahead!
To be motivated during lessons in sports dance with a famous choreographer, a dance lesson or during any self-taught course, the whole matter is made more enjoyable by dancing to the rhythms and the beats you like.
Dance teachers usually create a lively atmosphere by playing a mix of popular songs, to please as many class participants as possible while getting fit together.
Here are a few suggestions of music to get you moving!
- Vamos a la Playa, by Loona
- Feels, by Calvin Harris
- Bangarang, by Skrillex
- Animals, by Martin Garrix
- Wake Me Up, by Avicii
- Get Low, by Zedd and Liam Payne
- It Ain’t Me, by Selena Gomez and Kygo
- Lean On, by Major Lazer and DJ Snake
- Now you’re Gone, by Basshunter
- Heaven, by DJ Sammy
- Hello, by Martin Solveig
- This One’s for You, by David Guetta and Zara Larsson.
In sports dance music, it’s all about rhythm and beat! Exciting and motivating music is the best music to exercise to, and faster tempo will have you moving your body!
The songs played during online Zumba or step dance classes are generally the same as during club dance classes.
Now you can learn to move your body to the songs of the most famous DJs in the world!
Hip Hop: our selection of music
Street dance, freestyle, new style or break dance: break out your groove with hip hop tracks to count yourself among the world’s most popular dancers!
Besides being a sports discipline, hip hop is a lifestyle that demands concentration, motivation and agility.
Thanks to the lively atmosphere of hip hop dance classes, students of street dance definitely get a cardio workout.
Hip hop dancing has become so popular that in all of its variations, it is now taught in fitness dance clubs around the world!
Here is our list of essential songs for the aspiring and professional hip hop dancer:
- In Da Club, by 50 Cent
- Unforgettable, by French Montana
- 99 Problems, by Jay-Z
- California Love, by Tupac
- Turn Down for What, by DJ Snake
- Humble, by Kendrick Lamar
- Money in the Bank, by Lil Scrappy
- Memories, by David Guetta et Kid Cudi
- Juicy, by Notorious B.I.G.
- Empire State of Mind, by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
- I Gotta Feeling, by Black Eyed Peas
- Low, by Flo Rida
- Work It, by Missy Elliot
- Hypnotize, by the Notorious B.I.G.
- The Way You Move, by Outkast
There are so many hip-hop artists who create music perfect to hip-hop dance to. You could go through your favourite rapper or artist’s albums and discography to find the songs that you can move to with total ease.
Rhythmic music to tap dance to
Tap dance is all about rhythm! Tap combines the art of dancing and percussion all in one and adds a form of expression to any musical piece.
Tap dance includes types of dance styles such as jazz, classical, Broadway and contemporary. The history of tap dance is expansive–the rhythmic dance is thought to have emerged in the mid-1800s and is a modern form of step-dance, a dance popular amongst many cultures.
Focused on choreography, formations and rhythms, any music can accompany tap dancing, however there are several styles of tap: rhythm (jazz), Broadway, classical dance and post modern. Just like jazz musicians, jazz tap dancers focus on improvisation.
Tap dance is about expressing yourself through rhythm. Depending on what style you’re tapping to, you can pretty much choose any song you love!
Here are our song ideas for all forms of tap to try out:
- Jumpin’ Jive, by Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers
- It’s a Hard Knock Life, from Annie
- Uptown Funk, by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
- Am I Wrong, by Anderson .Paak ft. ScHoolboy Q
- I’m Beginning to See the Light, by Ella Fitzgerald
- Hit the Road Jack, Ray Charles
- Take 5, by Dave Brubeck
There’s no limit to the music you can tap dance to–where there’s a beat, a tap dancer can find a rhythm. You make any amount of playlists to tap to, and the more unique and personal, the better!
Ideas for your swing dance playlist
Swing developed in the 1920s, developing popularity in the 30s and 40s, but it’s still popular dance today!
The swing style of jazz music influenced the choreography of swing. Depending on the type of swing, whether it’s jitterbug or jive, the timing of swing is everything. Even though swing music is often in the 4/4 time signature, dancers usually dance in a six-count or eight-count swing.
Here is our short list of songs to swing to:
- Mambo No. 5, by Lou Bega
- Candyman, by Christina Aguilera
- Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, by the Andrew Sisters
- Jump Jive an’ Wail, by the Brian Setzer Orchestra
- Mustang Sally, by Wilson Pickett
- Shake Your Groove Thing, by Peaches & Herb
- The Sweet Escape, by Gwen Stefani
- In the Mood, by Glenn Miller
Swing may have been popular in the 40s, but you can still swing to modern music and find local swing classes.
Romantic wedding songs to sway to
The most sentimental and romantic dance of all is the first dance at a wedding. Whether it’s the classic sway or slow dance, waltz, tango, rumba or foxtrot, the dance needs to be accompanied by the perfect song for the occasion.
The choice of song could be anything from what played on the radio in the car after the first date to a current popular love song the newlyweds both adore.
Booking a band to play popular love songs is a beautiful way to enhance the wedding day and make the dance even more sentimental.
Here is a list of the most famous love songs that are perfect for the first dance at a wedding:
- Can’t Help Falling In Love, by Elvis Presley
- At Last, by Ella Fitzgerald
- God Only Knows, by the Beach Boys
- Something, by the Beatles
- All Of Me, by John Legend
- Come Away With Me, by Norah Jones
- I Found You, by Alabama Shakes
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours, by Stevie Wonder
- Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, by Frankie Valli
- My Girl, by the Temptations
These are just some of most classic love songs fit for ballroom dancing at a wedding.
An endless stream of music
Do you want to learn a new dance, but don’t have a vast collection of music for dancing?
The ideal way to access new music is to stream it.
With platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube or Apple Music, whether you’re performing in a club or a student in school, you can always find tracks to dance to in between classes. You may need to purchase a premium version of one of these platforms to access them without ads, so you can practice dancing without any interruptions.
What’s stopping you from expanding your repertoire and learning the choreography of your new favourite song?
To find inspiration, take a look at the most popular quotes about dancing.
Or if you’re interested in reading about dance films, follow this link.
You can find a Superprof tutor to learn with in Australia.