Fresh interpretations of Stairway to Heaven

Song choice for a dance routine is often undertaken with the greatest of care. The song instantly sets the mood for choreography that accompanies it. Many dancers enjoy dancing with songs that they are already familiar with, and thus popular songs are often a great choice for dance.

While Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written and recorded, it is also one of the most over-played songs of all time as well. Kind of like what the Mona Lisa is to paintings. We’ve seen the Mona Lisa reproduced thousands of times, and we’ve heard Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven thousands of times.

So if you are considering Stairway to Heaven for dance song choice, a wonderful route to take is a cover version of the song. In a competitive environment, this can do wonders for making the music, and thus the routine, feel fresh, new, and exciting, while still using a popular song. Here are three fantastic and fresh alternatives to Led Zepplin’s original version:

Stairway to Rock version (featuring a wonderfully funky beat)

Rose Reiter version (very moody and intense)

The Insurgency version (female singer)

Enjoy! And as always, if you need one of these songs, or any other, cut, edited, or remixed for a dance routine, shoot me an email.

Curfew by Snowmine

Crank this song up if you have a good sound system connected to your computer:

This song comes from the Weathervane/Shaking Through project; independent musicians and bands are tracked, and then the stems are raw tracks are uploaded for anyone to download and mix. This band is called Snowmine; fronted by lead singer and keyboardist Grayson Sanders. Produced by Brian McTear and Tracked/Engineered by Jonathan Low. You can find more about this song, band and project here: http://www.shakingthrough.com/snowmine

This sound file above is my original mix of this excellent song. I’ve had a bit of fun changing a few of the elements up a bit, but I’ve also tried to stay true to what I imagine the band’s vision for the track is, and let their musicianship shine through.

Fresh takes on classic dance songs

As we enter full swing of the competition season, it’s a great time to reflect on song choices for the dance routines. Out of the millions of songs that have been written since the dawn of mankind, why is that some songs get completely worn out at dance competitions? Often it’s because they are used in a hit movie or a memorable episode of SYTYCD, and suddenly everyone thinks that they are the only person to have the idea to use it for their own dance routine.

Well, popular songs are popular for a reason. Something about them connects with us, and has an emotional appeal that is hard to explain. But when they are over-used, it creates boredom for the judges. You want to present the judges (and audience) with something as fresh as your beautiful choreography deserves.

Even when you decide to go with a popular song, there are usually many ways to keep the song fresh for your dancer(s) and the judges. One way is to look for alternative versions than the most popular one. You could see if the original artist has a live version of the song. Often these live versions will have more energy than a studio-recorded song because it was performed in the presence of an audience. Often times if a song is extremely popular, other artists will do their own interpretations of it. Usually the best of these “cover songs” will be in a style that is very different than the original. If the song sounds nearly identical to the original, than why bother using it?

When looking for alternative versions of popular songs, check out the Vitamin String Quartet. This prolific recording team has made classical string versions of hundreds upon hundreds of popular songs. In fact, they have more than 370 albums in the iTunes store.

Here is one example of an overly popular dance competition song that has alternative versions that are very different stylistically from the original:

Original: It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls
Fresh Versions:

Check out more Antidotes to worn out hits. Also, there is a set of pages on this blog devoted to giving you song ideas for dance competition, grouped by dance category: Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theater, and Kid-Friendly Hip Hop.