Match the Dance with the Music

Many times we find ourselves at a dance where the music being played is contemporary, rather than the strict Ballroom or Latin rhythms that we are familiar with. You may wonder, how do I select the dance that would best fit the music being played?

Understand that with the exception of Waltz,most songs have four beats to a measure or bar of music. You may choose patterns from almost any dance and apply them to the music being played.

Consider the tempo of the music and how it makes you feel, or consider the mood it evokes, or the character of the music. For example:

If it is slow and dreamy, Rumba might be a good choice.

If it is too slow for Rumba, maybe Bolero or Nightclub Sway would be better.

Feeling a little bounce to the rhythm? Samba.

Hearing a solid staccato beat gives you lots of options–Cha Cha, West Coast Swing, Hustle.

If it sounds like Beach Music, dance the Carolina Shag.

Maybe it’s a very very fast tempo– New Generation Swing, or perhaps Quickstep.

A Latin sound and fast tempo–Salsa.

Dramatic, compelling, demanding, or romantic–it might be a Tango.

Have fun trying different dance patterns to different tempos of music. The more you know, the more options you have. Remember, Social Dancing is not like being in a dance contest or dancing in a competition to impress the judges, so relax and enjoy!

–Contributed by Lee Briggs

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