Disclaimer: Yeah, I don’t own any of the music listed.
Edit (4/3/14): This page will be under ongoing revision. As I find new songs, I’ll update this post. It’s one of the things I love about ballroom.
Do pardon the pun. I couldn’t help myself. It’s been a while since I’ve posted something more substantial, but I had finals on December 10th and 12th. During finals, I listen to a variety of things. Classical music stimulates my intellect, and YouTube videos are great for a break, but dance music gives me energy. I may not dance that much physically during finals, but I still dance. It’s just in my head.
(Note: I know more songs for certain dances than I do for others, but I’ll try to do as many as I can for each. I want this to be a long post, but I’ll stick with dances that I think my readers might be familiar with.)
This is a more recent discovery dance-wise. In fact, I only began learning last year. It’s been called the “music of bitterness”, and it’s a wonder I haven’t gotten tired of it because I listen to it a lot. One of my friends asked me why I liked this but not country, since they can have similar themes. I told her it’s harder to get tired of something I can’t understand very well.
“Be My Baby” covered by Leslie Grace (The Ronettes originally performed this song.)
“Corazon Sin Cara” by Prince Royce
“Hermanita” by Aventura
“No Es Una Novela by Monchy y Alexandra
“Promise” by Romeo Santos featuring Usher
“Stand By Me” covered by Prince Royce (According to Wikipedia, Ben E. King performed the original song.)
“Te Extraño” by Xtreme
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” covered by Leslie Grace (The Shirelles originally performed this song.)
This cheeky, Latin dance is quite flirty. Compared to Bachata, I’d say it’s more playful as opposed to sensual. It’s also surprising how many of my generation’s songs fit into its rhythm. I dislike the genre, but dancing makes it tolerable.
“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
“Drive By” by Train
“Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston
“Mercy” by Duffy
“No Tengo Dinero” by Los Umbrellos (There are several versions of this song, but this one makes for a nice Cha-cha. It came out in 1997, but I don’t really remember it.)
“Oye Como Va” by Santana
“The Way I Are” by Timbaland (This isn’t a favorite. However, one of y’all might like it. That’s the purpose of posts like these, to introduce music you might not have known you could dance to.)
ECS (East-Coast Swing)
There are a variety of dances that belong to the “Swing” genre, but this one is the most familiar to me. ECS can be danced in single or triple time. Time refers to the series of steps taken when dancing. Single time involves stepping on each foot, then rock-stepping. Triple time involves two series of triple steps, toward the right and left, then a rock-step. All these songs, in my opinion, are best danced in triple time but, all of them can be danced in single time. Note that dancing in single time to these songs will significantly slow the dance down.
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce
“Happy” by Pharrell Williams, from Despicable Me 2 (I had no idea this was ECS when I first heard it. This is a nice pace for a triple-time song.)
“Jump, Jive an’ Wail” covered by the Brian Setzer Orchestra (I had no idea this was a cover until I did my research, but the original artist is Louis Prima. I’d highly recommend you stick to single time for this one.)
“Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel (I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the lyrics, but I just tune them out and dance.)
“Rock This Town” by the Stray Cats (Stick with single time.)
“Rocket to the Moon” by Colin James & The Little Big Band
“Stuck on You” by Elvis Presley (This one is pretty slow even if you triple-step to it. I always use this one as a “cool-down” swing.)
“Stutter” by Maroon 5
“Surely (I Love You)” by Colin James & the Little Big Band
“The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News (Remember McFly skateboarding while holding unto the back of a truck? I asked Mom if it was dangerous, and she replied with a very emphatic “Yes, Alaina. That’s dangerous.”)
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
“Your Mama Don’t Dance” by Loggins and Messina
Ah, I have some great memories associated with this dance. It was the first dance I ever learned when I began ballroom dancing. I’ve heard people at the studio call this the “get acquainted” dance. I’m not sure if that refers to getting acquainted with dancing itself or the partner you’re dancing with. I guess it could be both. The great thing about Foxtrot is that you can dance to a lot of older music.
“Ain’t That A Kick in the Head” by Dean Martin
“Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin
“I’m Beginning To See The Light covered by Bobby Darin (This jazz standard was written by Duke Ellington, Don George, Johnny Hodges, and Harry James.)
“Just in Time” by Dean Martin
“Just One Dance” by Caro Emerald
“Love and Marriage” by Frank Sinatra
“On an Evening in Roma” by Dean Martin
“Sexy Silk” by Jessie J ( People seem to like this song, but I’m not the biggest fan. It’s probably because they play this one a lot at the studio.)
“You Make Me Feel So Young” by Frank Sinatra
I’ve had a consistent love-hate relationship with this dance. I love it because it involves a good deal of acting but hate it because it can be very difficult. However, I’ve always loved the music. I think this dance is similar to Bachata in its sensuality and physical intimacy, but I’ve always viewed this dance as more artistic because I feel the need to really sculpt my body as I’m dancing.
“Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz
“Andar Conmigo” Julieta Venegas
“Cuando Me Enamoro” by Enrique Iglesias featuring Juan Luis Guerra
“Dream Lover” by Bobby Darin (Oh, Bobby Darin. I think we can all relate at some point.)
“Fallin’ For You” by Colbie Caillat
“Fire” covered by the Pointer Sisters (Bruce Springsteen originally wrote this song.)
“Fly Love” by Jamie Foxx
“How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees
“My All” by Mariah Carey (It takes a lot for a song to move me emotionally but holy crap! This comes pretty dang close to the perfect rumba song.)
“I Melt With You” covered by Nouvelle Vague (Modern English originally performed this song.)
“The Other Woman” by Caro Emerald
“Ring My Bells” by Enrique Iglesias
“She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5
“Smooth Operator” by Sade
This was the dance that started it all. I had a crush on a boy in middle school that knew Salsa, so I wanted to learn, too. That crush went away but dancing didn’t. Since a majority of the song titles are in Spanish, I had to look them up, and listen to them first, even if they all were musically familiar to me. Like Rumba and Bachata, I need to look more into my musical choices. That’s one of the disadvantages of only speaking English.
“Abuelita” by Hector Lavoe
“I Love Salsa” by N’Klabe (Doesn’t the title say it all?)
“La Rebelion” by Joe Arroyo
“La Vida Es Un Carnaval by Ceila Cruz
“Lloraras” by Oscar D’Leon
“Que Precio Tiene El Cielo” by Marc Anthony
“Ran Kan Kan” by Tito Puente
“Valio La Pena (Salsa Version) by Marc Anthony
“Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony (This is my salsa jam right now! This is the Latin/Salsa adaptation of Khaled’s “C’est La Vie.” The latter is an interesting mix of French and Arabic musical stylings, but both songs are owned by the same producer, RedOne.)
“Yo No Sé Mañana” by Luis Enrique
Just for clarification, this is Ballroom Tango. I’m still new at Tango Argentino and don’t know any music yet. To differentiate between the two, Tango means the ballroom version, while I’ll say the more wordy Tango Argentino for its social counterpart. It’s like saying Waltz and Viennese.
“Cell Block Tango” from Chicago (This one is definitely PG-13. If you know anybody with delicate ears, I’d put in headphones.)
“El Choclo” (I think the two dancers in the video are actually dancing Tango Argentino. I have a faster version I bought on iTunes. It’s from the movie Tango with music by Lalo Schifrin)
“El Tango de Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge!
“Hernando’s Hideaway” from Pajama Game (Personally, the castanets can get annoying.)
“La Cumparsita” (Sorry for all the parenthetical commentary, but I think the dancers here are also dancing Tango Argentino. You can still dance Ballroom Tango to it.)
“Mi Confesion by the Gotan Project
“Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel
“Reflejo de Luna” by Alacran
“Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)” by the Gotan Project
Hey, it’s my “favorite” dance. I may try to glue myself to the chair whenever one plays, but my teachers’ insistence has made me into a decent two-stepper. The real reason I don’t like this dance is because I listened to country way too much as a little kid, and I grew tired of it as I aged (not that I’m that old anyway). That, and I think it’s deceptively hard.
“Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson
“Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band
“Drunk on You” by Luke Bryan (This one is nice and slow, good for newer two-steppers.)
“Little Bitty” by Alan Jackson
“She’s Country” by Jason Aldean
“Stuck Like Glue” by Sugarland
“Wagon Wheel” covered by Darius Rucker (According to Wikipedia, Bob Dylan initially wrote this song, and Ketch Secor finished it.)
This is the original waltz. It’s my newest dance, and I’m even more in love with it now that I’m actually doing it. It’s very technical and quite challenging. However, I don’t feel like I’m living unless I stretch myself. My favorite waltzes are classical, but I enjoy contemporary pieces, too. For the former, I’d buy an edited version from a ballroom album off iTunes.
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
“The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II
“Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
“Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter movie series
“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain
“Keep Holding On” by Avril Lavigne
“Kiss From A Rose” by Seal
“Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica (Who’d a thought a group like this had a Viennese?)
“Tales from the Vienna Woods” by Johann Strauss II
“Thinking Over” by Dana Glover
“Time” by Chantal Kreviazuk
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. This is the last one. To any regular readers, my stance on waltz is well-known. Both Waltz and Viennese are pure magic in three-quarter time. Both are number one on my list, but this particular dance is inexplicably special to me.
“Are you Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley
“Come Away with Me” by Norah Jones
“Open Arms” by Journey (This one is a bit fast, but it’s not too bad.)
“Take it to the Limit” by The Eagles
“Under the Bridges of Paris” by Dean Martin