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Updated on October 13, 2014

Lai Rupe's Choreography

"When the song is right, the dance will flow flawlessly from your body. This is the moment when you will clearly know - Dance is your life's purpose. You were born to create."

~Lai Rupe

When choreographing a dance routine there are millions of little things one must think about when creating the dance.

Choreographers think about what style to stick with, how advance to make the movements, what costuming and formations should be included, and what is the best song to portray their choreography. Today we are going to dive into what aspects you should look for as a dancer or choreographer, when choosing a competition dance choreography song. As you look for the below aspects within a song, you will be able to better find a song to portray your dance technique, abilities, and some amazing choreography.

1. Lyrics.

When I am listening to a song, the lyrics generally have a huge impact on me as to whether or not I like the song. Even if the beats and melody are great, if it has awful or pointless lyrics, it ruins the entire song for me.

When choosing that perfect song for an amazing choreographed routine, what the words say is going to strongly impact the storyline, theme, and outcome of the entire routine. Whether subconsciously or consciously, lyrics effect the way a choreographers mind creates movements. Our minds naturally react to words we hear, so picking a song with good lyrics is the first step to finding that perfect song.


2. Rhythm.

Of course, the rhythm, beats, pauses, melodies, and harmonies are what really create a song. When you pull in each of these aspects, a majestic work of art can be heard. As a dancer, our bodies are naturally programmed to move with the music. We feel those beats and pay attention to the underlying harmonies, and this connection to the music helps us become better dancers.

What Things Do You Look For In a Good Song to Dance To?

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When selecting that perfect song for a choreographed routine, it is important to think about the dynamics the music offers. Dynamics are what allow a song to have soft-mezzo piano sections that crescendo into upbeat or louder melodies. This musical diversity helps allow for more diversity and power when a choreographer is creating a routine. It also leads to more uniqueness and options to surprise the judges when the tempo of the routine suddenly changes.


3. Uniqueness

Speaking of the uniqueness a dynamic melody can bring to a perfect song choice, you should also be thinking about how common the song will be for the audience you are performing for. If your dance is for a school assembly, you may want to pick a popular song the students love to "grove" to. If however, you are performing at a dance competition to judges, you may want to think a little outside the box. Naturally dance judges aren't supposed to judge solely on song choice, but they are only human. After hearing "Turn Down for What" 23 times in a row in the hip-hop dance category, as a human you will naturally be ready for a change.


Lai Rupe's Choreography suggests picking a song that is more un-known and less popular for these dance competitions. There are always amazing songs that aren't playing on the radio 24/7 that people tend to forget about. When you are able to create an amazing dance routine to a more unique song, this will immediately grab their attention and intrigue competition judges.


4. Audience

As we mentioned in tip three, knowing your audience is one of the main keys that will help you select the best song choice. You want to intrigue and impress your audience, so find and think about what they would like. Playing a popular song for a high school assembly is going to pump up the audience and make them dance with you. Whereas playing a common song in a dance competition may be too repetitive and lose you points with the judges.

Just know your audience and the way you would like them to react when selecting that perfect song for your dance choreography.

"Moon Trance" - Zombie Jazz Routine, Choreographed by Lai Rupe

5. Inspiration.

The most important thing to look for when finding that perfect song, is to be selfish! By being selfish, I mean think about what YOU want. You want to find a song that speaks to you and inspires you as a dancer. With Lai Rupe's Choreography, we always encourage our dancers to select their own songs. Often times this makes our choreographers work a little harder, but as a dancer and a client of ours, it will make you more satisfied.

Dancers should choose songs that are going to make them happy and make them want to dance. Because we are all individually unique and have different preferences, this makes a huge dancer. As you search for that perfect song, don't forget to be a little bit selfish and pick the song that is going to inspire you to dance with all your heart and give 100%.


When choreographing a dance routine there are millions of little things one must think about when creating the dance and one of the most important is what song to dance to. You need a song to start a dance, so finding that perfect song for your perfect choreography is crucial. By following these song choice tips from Lai Rupe's Choreography, you will be able to pick dance songs that are going to be just what you want for your dance choreography.


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