Aspects of Standard Ballroom Music, Part 1, Introduction – by Chris Bruce

Aspects of Standard Ballroom Music, Part 1, Introduction


DK Ballroom Instructor Chris Bruce


Let me start with a quote from George Balanchine, Artistic Director of the New York Ballet for more than 35 years:

I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.

I love this quote. I have it on an old T-shirt that I can’t bear to throw away, even though it’s way past its use-by date.

Are you in the category that George Balanchine wants?

If so, you probably feel music. You can’t help tapping your feet to a good tune. You enjoy the social side of dancing, you know that dancing is great exercise, you know that it’s great for the brain, but really, you just need to dance. And you want to dance well…

As with most tasks, I think learning to Ballroom Dance is subject to the 80/20 rule. We can become competent Ballroom Dancers by learning maybe 20% of the available theory and technique. But what if we want to become very good, or even excellent, dancers? Then we need to delve into that other 80% of knowledge which will lift us to the next level. I believe a significant part of this knowledge is understanding the music. The better we understand the music the more we can dance with the music, not just dance to the music.

So, let’s talk about music…


Full disclosure: I’m NOT a musician. My ‘formal’ music training ended back in the mists of time when I completed Year 7 of High School. This series of articles will cover what I’ve learnt as I’ve attempted to move my dancing from athletics to artistry.