The Apache Pow Wow

Choosing Dance Music

Alex Kim, Staff Writer

When choosing music for a dance, theoretically any song would work. For a show or routine, however, it is not as easy, since the music choice is essential to the outcome of the choreography.

When beginning the process, you should first decide on the style of dance as well as the purpose of the routine. Do you want to hype up the crowd? Maybe then, look toward creating a hip-hop or jazz-style piece. Do you want the audience to empathize or reflect? Then, go for lyrical or contemporary-lyrical. Try to narrow it down to a genre that you’re most interested in choreographing, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.

There are several ways to start the search for a song. Depending on the occasion, you may either need a catchy, familiar tune or a completely unique one. If something calls for a popular song, make your way through the Top 50 charts on streaming sites or go for a throwback! However, if you need a rarer song that makes you stand out, the search is much more difficult and may take a couple days. It may be easier to start by listening to other people’s playlists of dance songs, and note some of interest, but Orchesis Vice President junior Scarlet Yang urges avoiding overused songs. She says that when she’s stuck, and if she finds one song that she likes, she’ll “listen to most of the discography of that artist.” Another way is to “scan through a song or artist’s radio,” and you may be shocked at how much incredible music you can uncover.

But how do you know what to look for in a song? When listening to different songs, Orchesis President senior Elizabeth Chang closes her eyes and tries to “visualize movements that go with the music.” She advises that if you cannot think of a variety of motions, move on to the next song, as “you’ll want something that you can easily work with and matches your style.” Some aspects that can help are accented beats, variation in tempo, and a build of intensity. This way, you can change up the choreography from subtle moments to more impactful ones to keep the audience interested in the piece. It is also important to pay attention to every instrument and note so you can choose which ones to emphasize and therefore, create a different effect. Orchesis senior Sophia Hayek recommends, “Instead of only choreographing to the lyrics of the song, try listening to what’s playing in the background.”

Lastly, be creative in mixing different areas. Interpretation of music into dance is where you can show your individuality. From turning a hard-hitting contemporary song into hip-hop to a Bollywood piece into jazz, think outside of the box. Ultimately, what you put out there should represent you, so keep experimenting with music and diversifying your style until you find out what that means!



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Choosing Dance Music