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The Best Music for Dancing by Genre

Music has been making people dance since ancient civilizations. Dancing and music go together like soul mates. They’re intimately intertwined, and that’s why your choice of music is so important to the art of dance.

If you’re reading this right now, you’ve likely experienced the power of music on the dance floor before. Maybe it was your first slow dance with your crush in high school. Sure, it was awkward, but it’s also one of your most cherished memories. Perhaps you danced the night away on vacation somewhere magical, and you’ll never forget how they played your favorite song three times that night.

No matter whether you’re a professional dancer or just a beginner, you can appreciate the way music impacts how we feel when we move. Why should you pay such close attention to the music you choose? If you’re hosting a wedding, a fun event, or even just dancing in the comfort of your own house, you want to make the most of the situation.

That’s where this guide comes in. Choosing the best music that you can adapt to any style of dance isn’t always easy. Let’s face it; music genres are only the cover of the book. Beyond that, there are chapters and chapters to search through to find that perfect playlist. It’s easy to get lost in the wrong music that ruins the entire experience.

No matter what you like to listen to, there’s a dance to go along with it. Let’s break down the different types of music genres so you can dance the night (or day) away.

1. Classical Music

Of course, if you want to dance to classical music, you’ll probably be doing some form of classical dance style. What’s included in classical? Ballet dancing, waltz, and ballroom dance are all the most common types of classical dance.

Most of these songs will be free from lyrics, though that’s not always the case. In fact, many ballerinas use lyrical songs as a form of storytelling with their dance numbers. If you choose to go with a lyrical number after all, check out these lyrical dance costumes. No matter what you choose, here are some songs to start your search.

  • Waltz of the Flowers

  • The Nutcracker Suite

  • Sleeping Beauty Waltz

  • La Bayadere

2. Jazz Music

Jazz music has been making big waves in dance schools across the country, and some of the top Jazz songs might actually surprise you. Jazz dance originated from jazz music in the late 1800s to mid-1900s. It’s an experimental, fluid way to dance that doesn’t conform to the stricter rules of classical dance.

The magical part about jazz is that many elements of this style can be found in modern popular music. That’s why this list below of the top jazz songs for jazz dance is so surprising. Do you recommend any of the songs and artists below?

  • Video Games (Lana del Rey)

  • A Little Less Conversation (Elvis Presley)

  • Jazz Baby (Carol Channing)

  • Moneygrabber (Fitz and the Tantrums)

  • Ballroom Blitz (Sweet)

  • How You Like Me Now (the Heavy)

People Dancing

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3. Contemporary or Pop Music

Did you know many dancers today are using contemporary or pop music to express themselves with modern flair in their music number? Everyone’s getting down to some of the best tunes on the top charts.

These can be impressive songs when combined with the right moves, and it’s all about mastering your control over the beat. Here’s a good variety of top songs of the moment that work for contemporary or pop music.

  • Chandelier (Sia)

  • Halo (Beyoncé)

  • 7 Rings (Ariana Grande)

  • Bury a Friend (Billie Eilish)

4. Rock Music

Next up is rock and roll. Today, rock includes more options like alternative, grunge, and even indie. We’re seeing an overlapping in the music genres, so nothing is very cut and dry anymore and that just adds to the excitement in dance numbers. From the top rock classics to the brand new, here are the best picks.

  • I Love Rock and Roll (Joan Jett)

  • Walk This Way (Aerosmith)

  • What I Like About You (The Romantics)

  • Lo/Hi (The Black Keys)

5. Hip Hop

Finally, we’ve arrived at hip hop. Nowadays, hip hop is a thriving dance genre. More and more dance schools are teaching students how to compete at hip hop dancing, but it’s also a popular street genre. We can all appreciate the effortless cool of this genre, not only in the top songs but also in the ever-evolving dance moves and super trendy equipment for dance, such as custom leggings and long t-shirt with cool print. Once again, the top songs here are all a mix of classics and some new flavors.

  • Tambourine (Eve)

  • 212 (Azealia Banks)

  • Work It (Missy Elliott)

  • Hypnotize (The Notorious B.I.G.)

Dance with Confidence

Are you ready to rock your next party with the best dance moves? Then start practicing with these dance tracks above. While their artists might not have intended them to become the dance hits that they are, we all love the energy and excitement they bring to any event.

Dancing and music go way back, so why not celebrate this rich history with the best songs for each genre? There are some favorites here to bring everyone out of their shells and onto the dance floor.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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