Great Music for Practicing

If you’re reading this, odds are you like good ballroom music. Whether it’s for a performance, a social, or for practice, your favourite ballroom music energizes you, makes you want to strength further, push harder, dance fiercer.

All too often, I hear the same tired favourites when I go to dance halls and socials. So today, I’m sharing some of my alternative ballroom dance songs in each genre, and why I like each one. I hope they inspire and delight you.

Cha Cha –

Eliane Elias ‘Oye Como Va

A refreshing and lounge-y take on an old classic, this one may not rock your socks off, but it will definitely get you grooving in your hips. Good for socials or for practicing.

Quickstep –

Strictly Quickstep ‘Sing Sing Sing’

Quickstep to a traditional number with a modern arrangement, and danced to perfection on “Strictly”.

Foxtrot –

Harry Connick, Jr. ‘One Fine Thing’

If Harry’s crooning doesn’t put a smile on your face, the beautiful piano riff certainly will. More laid back then the trumpet-themed classics, and probably a good one to ask your crush out on. Excellent for socials, but could make a classy performance feel good too.

Rumba –

Fausto Papetti ‘La playa’

Reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino films, Fausto puts a western spin on the traditional rumba rhythm. Downtempo and jazzy, this one is probably better for socials then performing, and – in my students’ experience – tends to be easier to follow then a traditional rumba.

Salsa –

Miguel Enriquez ‘Abre Que Voy’

Slow enough to be danceable at a social, with a dramatic build-up that works well for performances. Especially helpful for those newer to salsa percussion, and with lyrics that are about appreciation of salsa music and it’s musicians, what’s not to like?

Samba –

Leonard Cohen ‘Woke Up This Morning’

Not your parent’s ballroom music, and definitely not your classic samba beat. Nevertheless, this one has great tempo and slinky as a cold hard mafioso. Dramatic and easy to follow, it’s perfect for a performance.

Tango (Classic) –

 The Tango Project ‘Por Una Cabeza’

Well yes, this IS a classic, but this particular variation does it great justice. The strength of the chorus contrasts sharply with the softness of the verses in between, so you can create different emotions more easily. Practicing, social dance, performances – it works for all of them.

Tango (Nuevo) –

Electrotango ‘Montserrat’

This is, hands down, my all-time favourite tango song on the planet. Dark and brooding, a brilliant combination of modern and classic instruments makes this tune as delicious and complex as a 30-year old wine. Definitely best for a performance.

Waltz (Slow) –

Waltz ‘Never Enough’

The beautiful piano melody starts minimal, and gradually swells to fill even the largest dance halls. Not too challenging to follow, and well-suited for just about anything.

Waltz (Viennese) –

Fredrika Stahl ‘Pourquoi Pas Moi?’

I picked up this gem recently, and, like with the slow waltz song above, immediately fell in love with the piano tune. Soft and playful as a group of good friends out for a drink. A bit fast for most dancers, I usually slow it down a bit for socials, or leave it as it is for a lovely performance.

Jive –

JIVE | ‘Dj Ice – Savage Love’

High energy Jive can be danced to a broad range of tempo tracks – if the tempo is too fast for you to triple step it then do rock and roll basic…