Ballroom Dance Music - Modern Ballroom Songs
Ballroom Dance's music used to be strictly boring. Many people probably still expect to hear gorgeous dancers to be accommpanied by the ever-green light orchestra which somehow manages to make everything from a waltz to a paso doble sound the same, and heaven forbid that there would be a vocalist! Thank goodness times have changed, with the notable exception of British Open at Blackpool, almost all dancesport competitions are now run with CD's and modern technology means that even if the original of a piece is too slow or fast then it can be changed down or up to suit. Up to date music features in all dances and there is no reason to be bored practising to old "Joe Blow's Orchestra plays..." tracks.
Strict Tempo Dance Music
Competitive Ballroom Dancing is always danced to "strict tempo" or "strict time" music. Every dance works best at a certain speed of music. This is 'strict tempo.' Despite the word 'strict' the tempo can vary by 1 or 2 measures per minute. Here are the most common tempos, in measures per minute:
Foxtrot: 28 - 30
Waltz: 28 - 30
Viennese Waltz: 56-58
Cha Cha Cha: 31
Paso Doble: 60-62
Over the years there has been a definite slowing down of tempi, often accompanied with additional complexity in the steps! Modern Samba choreography, in particular, is almost impossible to dance to Samba music from the 80's or earlier. Most good dancers consider that for a foxtrot or a waltz the slower the better.
Hints for a buying a Ballroom CD
First off if you are more than a beginner dancer you do not necessarily need to buy specialist strict tempo music. Foxtrots particularly show up in CD's put out by people such as Shirley Bassey and Micheal Buble.
Choose a CD which has all the same style of dance together: typically a 2 disk set may include 10 quicksteps, 10 foxtrots 13 waltzes 5 tangos and 3 Viennese waltzes. Get them grouped together: if you want to play them as background music you can always use the random track function on your player, but if you are practising then there is nothing more annoying than having to keep changing track as your waltz become a quickstep! I wouldn't recommend anything less than a 2CD set of either ballroom or latin - combining the two styles on a single CD or even a double will ensure that you are quickly bored with the 1 or 2 tracks of the dance you are practising.
Finding Local Dance Classes
If you happen to be looking for dance classes in New Zealand then check out my new site: Dance Classes Wellington where I intend to post all the local dance scene news plus tips on how to get into dance as a fun and healthy activity
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