As a ballroom dance chapter president, I am responsible to select DJ's or bands to play for our Ballroom dances -- I make all prospects aware of the music that is mandatory to play at our ballroom dances. I use the term ballroom "dance rhythms" and typically identify the dances (waltz, foxtrot, rumba cha cha, ECS, WCS etc) that I want as primary and played more often than those I classify as secondary (samba, salsa, bachata, VWaltz, quickstep etc.)for the evening. I was recently advised that the use of "rhythms" was not correct but that I should use the word 'dance styles' --- Your thoughts and help Bob Romeo
"Rhythm" has a perfectly well defined meaning. In simple terms, it's the patters of slows and quicks. I'm not quite as certain about "style," but it may refer to the character of the type of dance (for example Foxtrot and Tango may share some foot positions but if you dance them properly they look different).
Of the two terms you mention, "dance styles" may be a better terminology. Or why not just say "dances"? It all depends on what concept you are trying to convey to the bands.
nloftofan1: Thanks much for sharing your thoughts. I'm still confused.
I guess the safest way is to ask the prospective DJ or band leader if they understand that ballroom dance music has a different dance style than non ballroom dance music (i.e.country for instance). Or perhaps to just include a listing of dance styles (i.e. foxtrot, waltz, tango etc.)will be less confusing. ????
The following was written by a band leader who also dances:
Here are the rules that in spite of my best efforts MOST of our local bands seem to use for dance gigs:
1. Tempo doesn't matter. The dancers will deal with all tempos somehow.
2. Since tempo doesn't matter, NEVER use a metronome to set time in a dance tune. Using a crutch like that will just make you look bad. ALWAYS set the tempo from the seat of your pants. Anything else will damage your ego.
3. The drummer should always play dance tunes using the style of drumming he's most comfortable with. For example a nice 4/4 swing beat really works well with all "latin" numbers.
4. It works even better if you play in a jazz style with all tops and no bass drum at all. Let the dancers listen to the hihat to get the beat.
5. Remember that there are only two kinds of music: The stuff the band always plays and "latin". Any "latin" tune will do. A couple of generic "latin" numbers for the evening ought to keep the dancers happy! Bossa Nova is always a good choice.
6. Always end the dance with some super fast rousing swing tune. That will end the evening with a nice bang (and make sure you never get hired for a boring dance gig again).
7. Even better find a cheap hall and start holding "dances" yourself. Don't worry. Any cement floor covered with sticky "old people wax" will do. Hell, the "premiere" "dance club" in our town regularly holds "dances" out on their blacktop and don't even bother to sweep the stones off. (the wood floors out there are for people to stand around on with their drinks). The best thing about holding your own dance is you can tell all the damn hoofers who $%&*@! about your music to piss off.
8. And Oh yeah, never forget: Tempo doesn't matter.
Who on earth told you that Tempo doesn`t matter. You can find the correct Tempos by going to Dancesport USA. U.K. or Dancesport Australia. Any Dance music recorded by the leading orchestras will be correct. A Foxtrot for instance will be played at 30 Bars per Minute with a 4 Bar Introduction. From there on it will be 8 Bar Phrased. Think of it this way. Each single page of a book represents one bar of music, There are Eight pages to each Chapter. There are usually Eight Chapters on a disc. Which is of course 64 Bars of Music. Each bar of music has four beats. The Waltz has three and is played at the same Tempo as the Foxtrot. Latin. If this is played too fast the first thing that would go is the correct movement of the hips. Rumba is 25 Bars per Minute. This is only the beginning. There is a lot more than meets the eye in understanding correctly played Dance Music. If you don't understand what dancing in Rhythm as well as dancing in phrase means. Then find out.
O.Z.: Is it really necessary to state the obvious: that the person who wrote this is COMPLAINING that these are "the rules that in spite of my best efforts MOST of our local bands seem to use for dance gigs"?
There is no reason that dance music should not be played at the correct Tempo. Unfortunately we have bands that play the music to suit the vocalist and not to suit the dancers. They cant read music Therein lies the problem. Bands playing music to dance to is being played by people who cant dance a step. If playing canned music the person selecting the music must have the above mentioned knowledge. If I were the selector and choosing a group I would give a list of the correct Tempos. If in return I got a blank look. I would look elsewhere. Disks. Not all disks are suitable. There are some cheap useless music out there. Go for the established orchestras. You`ll pay more, but its worth it . On the back you should see written the track number. and the number of BPM It would look like this. 3. Chariots of Fire. Rumba. BPM 25. Time 2.41. Time is the length the disk runs if played right through. If this were a competition the dancing time would be 1 minute 30 seconds but could go for 2 minutes or until the judges are satisfied.