So you think you can choreograph a dance? Here are a few pointers for choosing your music!
While there are so many songs out there that it would seem easy breezy, there is an art to choosing the right song for your dance piece. Here are a few things to consider when selecting that perfect piece of music:
What is the style and the occasion?
Be sure that the style of music you choose is complimentary to the style of dance you’re choreographing. This may go without saying, but we all know how confusing it can be to watch or to do a dance that just doesn’t go with the music. It’s also important to keep in mind the purpose of your dance; you may want to choose a different song based off of whether you are competing a routine or creating a dance for performance purposes. Performance pieces can be a little more forgiving because there’s not a built-in expectation. Always keep the style, occasion and your audience in mind so they stay engaged throughout the dance.
Is it dynamic?
Choreographing a dance is somewhat like telling a story. There is a beginning, a middle and an end, so choose a song that allows your choreography to build and progress. Be sure your music has variety, with layers of melody, rhythm, a good beat (if appropriate to style) and musical nuances to allow for a variety of movement and interpretation. We want to explore all the instruments being used to see and feel them come to life through our movement, and that can be harder to do with a song that is too simple or too repetitive.
Is it too main stream/over-used?
A few years ago, every body wanted to use the “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” cover by Lorde from the Hunger Games. In fact two of the top tier competitors at UDA College Nationals both used that song! The chances are, if there is a current song that inspires you, it’s probably inspiring other people, as well. Consider searching for songs that are a little less mainstream, and you will most likely strike gold! The Spotify “Discover Weekly” feature is a great way to find new music. Spotify takes the music you already listen to and creates a special playlist that is based off of what you already like. You can also always search other people’s playlists on Spotify or Soundcloud. There is so much more music out there for us to discover and utilize.
Does it make you feel something/inspire you?
We know what it’s like to love a song and really want to move to it. Then we get into the studio and find that it’s not that inspiring past the intro or for longer than the chorus. If this happens, go back to the drawing board and choose another song! You want your music to guide the movement and be natural, not too forced. The goal is to captivate your audience through moving with creativity and heart. Your music is your guide and is going to set the emotional tone and tempo for your dance, so be wise and thorough when picking your song.