Update (September, 2015): Unfortunately the site that I used to build this survey (http://conceptcodify.com) folded before I was able to get enough results to show patterns. If you find this interesting, please send feedback and I’ll consider trying again with a different service.
One of the fun things about learning more about different dance styles is that you start to see patterns in how one style evolves into another and how a dance style will move from one tradition to another, be transformed and possibly take on another name (or not). I have all kinds of crazy ideas about how to represent that information as you browse through songs searching for something that inspires you to dance or choreograph or to just throw into a practice play-list.
But not all of those ideas are feasible and even the feasible ideas will take some time to implement. So in the meantime I’d like to take a small slice of one of those ideas and get your input on how you categorize dances. I’ve set up a small survey that allows you to sort names of dance styles into groups. I’ve named some groups to start you off, but you’re welcome to change things up in any way that makes sense to you.
There is no right way to do this. It’s essential to get input from people with all different kinds of dance knowledge, all the way from those with professional training to those whose main exposure to dance is through television and movies. The tool I’m using only allows you to put any given dance into one group, so just choose the group that you most associate with the dance. I’ve intentionally started with group titles that include both names that some dancers may be familiar with and pop culture references. Use and extend whichever system makes sense to you by creating new groups or use a combination of both if that is what works for you. Remember, I’m just looking for patterns in how people think about grouping dances, so don’t spend too much time on this, just throw things where they make the most sense to you.
Okay, so that’s a slight rephrasing of the question from my previous post. But it sticks to the spirit of the idea. As a dancer learning a specific new dance, be it Cha Cha, Paso Doble or Waltz, where can I find music?
So how do I do that? Dance generally co-evolves with music, so to get a very traditional song for any dance, it’s usually easy to find a source. If you like swing dancing, Benny Goodman is a great source or if you like to waltz Strauss is always available. However, if you’re trying to learn a number of dances at about the same time or if you’ve got taste in music that is more modern than the traditional music that the dance evolved with, this starts to get confusing.
In any case, there are of course as many ways to answer the question at hand as there are dancers. From my perspective, one way to go about finding dances to Cha Cha to is to it to go ask the internets.
Well, I’ve done internet searches on various dance styles a number of times over the years. I’ve combined the results along with some songs from my personal catalog. I’ve done a bunch of merging, cleaning up and matching to four of the major music service (Goove®, Amazon® , iTunes® and Spotify®) and the result is the dances page on the site.
What do you think? Would you use the music4dance dances page now? What features would you need to make this something you would use? What would make this into a site that you couldn’t live without?