Don Herbison-Evans ,
Central Queensland University, Bundaberg
(updated 3 November 2007)
Dancers describe tempos using "bars per minute", which has the same unfortunate abbreviation as the musician's "beats per minute". So Tangos (including Tangoette and La Bomba) and Slow Foxtrot dances (including Carousel, Balmoral Blues, and the like) are listed by dancers as 28-32 bpm, which mean around 120 beats per minute. Modern Waltzes (like the Woodside) are also 28-32 bars per minute (= around 90 beats per minute). Viennese Waltzes can range from 45 to 52 bars per minute (the Lucille is at the slow end, Twilight at the fast end). Quicksteps need to be 50 bars/minute (= 200 beats per minute) or even a bit faster: it is hard to maintain body flight at slower tempos in these dances.
Many Latin American dances have hip movements between the musical beats which are hard to do if the music is too fast. So recommended speeds for these dances are:
Phrasing is very important for the sequence New Vogue dances. For New Vogue and Sequence Dances, dancers like a simple 4 bar introduction, then music with a strict 8, 16, and 32 bar melodic phrase throughout the whole track. Many composers and arrangers delight in inserting 1,2,4 or 6 bar codas between melodic phrases, or using rubato to give the music more 'feel'. These however make the music unaesthetic to dance to. The simple phrasing and constant rhythm may be very boring for a musician, but are necessary for dancers.
Below: I have popped a list of some records and tracks that adhere to the strict phrasing throughout the whole piece.
Note: I dont actually sell CDS. For this I suggest you contact for example :
|Introducing the Moorhead Dance Band||Jenny & Alan Moorhead||all||V,F,T,W,C,Q,R,J|
|Championship Old Time Dancing||Sydney Thompson||all||V,T,M,F,|
|Easy Listening Music||John Colville||all||V,F,T,W,Q,M,C|
|Red Pepper||Bryan Smith||all||M,V,F,T,Q|
|Barcarolle||Suzanne Clachair||Elizabethan Seranade||V|
|Guitar Guitar||Nicolas de Angelis||El Condor Pasa||S|
|Dance Collection Volume 1||Werner Tauber||Gypsy Tango||T|
|Mexican Whistler||Roger Whittaker||Where the Rainbow Ends||F|
|Favourites in Dance and Song||Sydney Thompson||all||Q,W,F,T,S,R,C|
|Old Time Dancing Party||Sydney Thompson||all||V,M,Q|
|An Evening with Sydney Thompson||Sydney Thompson||all||R,S,C,P|
|The 2nd Sydney Thompson Collection||Sydney Thompson||all||C,S|
|New Vogue and Sequence Dancing||Sydney Thompson||all||V,T,M,F,|
I would be pleased to hear from anyone with details of other tracks or records to add to this list.
* Rhythm Abbreviations