The impact of music in dance

Over on the DanceMom.com discussion forum, it was brought up that some dancers really don’t care about the music that is used for a routine. Some people just want to dance, no matter what the music is.

While that is certainly a true statement, I also want to point out that in most instances of dance performance, music is of great importance. No matter whether it’s a cinematic work, broadway show, or dance competition, as much care should be taken with the choice of music as with the selection of costume, hairstyle, makeup, and props, especially in regards to the emotional impact the music can provide.

I’ve had the great pleasure of doing some music editing for title winning dancer Brianna Roland. Last year, I fixed the music she had self-edited, for the piece she had choreographed for Prince’s When Doves Cry. She won several dance competition titles with this outstanding routine:

For comparison sake, I edited k.d.lang’s Constant Craving, which uses the same 129 bpm tempo, to the same length of choreography, and swapped the audio for the original Prince song. Here is the same dance, but with Constant Craving as music:

In both versions, Miss Brianna’s dancing is superb (and of course is identical in both). Because the tempo of both songs is the same, many of Miss Brianna’s movements in the Constant Craving version are in sync with the music. Both songs are emotionally powerful. Watch both of these versions and let me know what you think of the difference between the two.

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