You want students to shine during dance competition season, and that means finding the perfect choreography and music ideas to highlight their talents. Unfortunately, too much music for dance competitions has been overdone, with dancers and their instructors flocking to familiar favorites instead of exploring new musical terrain.
That’s what an informal survey of dance competition judges found, at least. When Impact Dance Adjudicators polled their judges on the most overused dance competition music, the judges lamented being subjected to yet another interpretation of the same song they’d been hearing all competition, all year, and all decade long. It was a lighthearted survey, of course, but fair warning: if you’re a “Dear Future Husband” or “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” enthusiast, then you’ll definitely want to check out some new dance competition music ideas!
#1. Check out, but don’t be bound by, current hits
It’s worth glancing at the Billboard 200 and Billboard Global 200 singles each week, as well as Billboard’s year-end charts. You can visit Billboard’s Hot 100 playlist on Spotify for a weekly roundup of songs. Spotify Charts is another good resource, with song rankings based on data from hundreds of millions of listeners. You can even break the data down by country, genre, or city. Finally, check out Shazam’s Global 200 Chart to see the most-Shazamed tracks being discovered around the world each week. However, don’t feel tied to any of the world‘s most popular singles—instead, use them as a springboard for further exploration. (See #3).
#2. Explore music playlists
“Today’s Top Hits” is Spotify’s most heavily-followed playlist, featuring the most popular music of the moment. Spotify also highlights fresh music in the “New Music Fridays“ playlist, worth scoping out for dance competition music ideas others haven’t discovered yet. Go even further by exploring playlists like “Pop Remix,” “Dance Hits,” and others. Finally, check out what your favorite musicians are listening to. You can often find their playlists on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal.
#3. Go deep down the rabbit hole
Let the songs you already love lead you to new music! On YouTube, start with a favorite song and hit the “related” button until you meander into something unexpected and new. On Spotify, click “Go to Song Radio” for any song you like, and a new playlist will be created around that particular song’s vibe. Continue your exploration by clicking on a new favorite song on that radio playlist. Do this again and again until you discover fresh new music for your dance competitions.
#4. Scope out your favorite movie, TV show, and video game soundtracks
When choosing dance competition music ideas, go back to your favorite movies, shows, or even video games for inspiration. Explore the soundtracks for each, and add them to a playlist. If none are right for your dance competition music selection, then you can use them as a starting point for new discoveries (see #3 above).
#5. Dip into new genres
The songs you haven’t heard far outnumber the songs you have. A lot of music remains undiscovered because it’s in a unique genre you haven’t explored yet—and many of those songs could be surprisingly good choices for your next dance competition music. Take a hop across genres with the Every Noise at Once tool and see what you can find.
#6. Discover new independent music
Get away from the top charts and discover interesting new sounds by independent artists you may never have heard of before—but that could be a gorgeous backdrop to your dance competition routine. Check out Bandcamp for starters. Listen to their “New and Notable” tracks or search for dance competition music ideas by genre.
#7. Listen for dance music out in the world
It’s useful to have the Shazam app on your phone so that you can track down the new and unusual music you hear in restaurants, stores, or as you’re out and about running errands. You never know when a new melody will turn out to be the perfect dance competition music choice.
#8. Change the way you browse for dance music
Download the “Radio Garden” app for a very different way to explore the world of music. Radio Garden lets you listen to thousands of local radio stations all around the world, so you can hear what’s currently playing not just on the West Coast, East Coast, and everything in-between, but locations from Cape Town to Dhaka, where differences in local musical tastes may just open a portal into a different world of music—and rarely-used tracks that could be winning music for dance competitions.