music research

I spend an absurd amount of time researching music for dance.

About an hour or so a day, on average, of active research where I seek out new artists based on what I lack (e.g. "I have very little upbeat instrumental music"). That's usually my lunch hour. I leave music on almost all day and keep a running list of artists I need to check out more in depth.

Most songs I never listen to more than once, and I probably listen to a hundred songs for every one that I think I might ever dance to. This has fundamentally changed my relationship to music--while I have a longer list than ever of songs that really, really move me, I kind of have to remember to consciously turn off my dance brain and just enjoy listening now and then.

The result of all this music listening and research is that my musical awareness is pretty broad. Especially because I have danced to a lot of different stuff in the last few years.

I use The Hype Machine and thesixtyone for discovering and listening to new music for the most part, and they're both awesome because they have built in options for buying. Very cool. To be totally honest though, as anyone who used thesixtyone two years ago can attest, the old format was infinitely better.

I keep music that I might consider dancing to tagged in lists of songs with different moods, types and tempos ("sad songs", "slow songs", "instrumentals", etc.). I also have a list of music that just touched me so I feel that I "have" to dance to it at some point. I could probably organize all those lists better than I currently do, and would definitely love to hear how you find new music and how keep track of dancing music. It's a huge undertaking for me.

The funny thing is that in the past year, although I have and have heard more music than ever, I'm also pickier than ever about what I want to use. I find it harder and harder to choose pieces of music. I also generally won't dance to anything that I've seen another dancer use, or that I'm aware a lot of dancers have used. Not just because it's already been tried, but because my experience with that has been that I second guess everything wondering if my piece is becoming too derivative of the other dancer's.

How do you deal with finding and categorizing music for dance?


  1. loves!! Hm.. you seem to have a better organizational thing going on than I do. Right now I just have a lot of itunes playlists that are titled to describe the feel of the songs, but it's not really specific enough. I'll have to look more into that.

    Btw, I've only had a chance to look at them for a couple of minutes, but you photograph so well and really stand out (not because of big-headness haha) I'd like to shoot you on your own sometime. You guys were great about the space, but it sucks there was a bit (a lot) of movement restriction.

  2. I think the titled playlist thing totally works though, I never even get as far as making playlists, I usually just have paper lists scrawled down in my dance notebook. not good!

    I can't believe I didn't see this before! I just sent you an FB message, but I'd definitely model for you anytime. Thank you so much for the compliment. You're an absolutely phenomenal photographer, as I've been telling anyone who stands still long enough :)

  3. <3 aw you're so awesome. :)

  4. Oh Heather! Balmorhea! How have I not heard them before?! They're so freeing! Thank you!

  5. Oh! I don't know... I sure do love them though :D


Post a Comment

Popular Posts