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  • Writer's pictureDawn Matthews

Modern Jive Music: What To Dance To? 

woman at a DJ deck - for the blog post modern jive music: what to dance to

When you’re thinking about starting partner dancing, you have to like the music that you’re going to be dancing to – it is such a massive part of enjoying your dancing that you simply can’t discount it as a factor. You’ll have almost certainly found this post as part of your research, so let’s explore the types of music you’re likely to hear at a Modern Jive night. 

What Is The Best BPM For Modern Jive?

Unlike Ballroom dancing, the joy of Modern Jive is that you can dance it to most tracks – you’ll just go slower or faster, depending on the beats per minute (BPM) of the track. The usual pace that many Modern Jive DJs tend to stick to is 110BPM to 140BPM, but you can definitely find tracks that are much faster, and much slower – from 60BPM to 180BPM.

If you go to a Ceroc venue, then you might see some dancers doing SILC style dancing, which is a slower style that is similar in style to Smooth Jive, and is a ‘slotted’ style of dancing where dancers move up and down the ‘slot’, rather than in circles around one another. 

What Genre Is Best For Modern Jive Music?

Because of the fact that Modern Jive can be danced to a wide variety of tracks with different BPM, this opens it up to most genres of music too. This means that there isn’t a single ‘best’ genre for you to dance to – just the one that you prefer! Usually, you’ll get everything from the latest chart hits, to classic Rock, tracks from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, occasionally jazz, often Motown, some tracks you might hear in a nightclub on a Saturday… The possibilities are endless!

Me personally? I love the contemporary dance tracks, but I also love a bit of Motown, Rock n Roll, and songs from most eras. There’s a few tracks that I’m not a fan of, and will step away from the dancefloor if they come on if I can, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and dance it out. 

A Note About The DJ

On behalf of all the Modern Jive DJs out there, I want to just make a note here. You have to remember; Modern Jive DJs have a huge challenge on their hands. Because of the diverse range of people, and therefore range of tastes in music across the dancers that attend each night, the DJ simply cannot please every person, all of the time. It is pretty bad form to go tell the DJ they are crap (although I’ve seen enough bad wedding DJs to understand the urge to do so!) and it can be really disheartening for them when all they’ve tried to do is give as many people a good time as possible. Please be kind to them!

Rather than telling the DJ you don’t like what they are playing, go and request the type of songs you want to hear instead. Most DJs will do their best to play a wide variety over the course of an evening, but you have to be prepared for at least a few tracks that might make you wonder “Why is the DJ playing this one, it is awful!”. And while you might absolutely adore the clubbing music tracks, others will prefer Motown, Rock n Roll, a certain era like the 80s, or maybe just the slower tracks, keep in mind that not everyone does. 

In my experience, Modern Jive nights with a truly horrible DJ set are few and far between, but I have got quite a diverse taste in music. If you prefer one genre over another, you might not get on with certain DJs… Trial and error attending different nights will help you find out. 

Where Can I Find Modern Jive Music Playlists?

If you’re looking for a Modern Jive playlist to practice at home with your partner, then you’ll find it relatively easy to find hundreds of them online. Spotify is the first place I’d recommend. You can sign up for a free account, which means you can listen but have to endure ads every couple of tracks, or you can pay for a subscription to remove the ads. I’m a cheapskate, and so I don’t pay for Spotify, but it is brilliant for finding playlists you can whack on and hear more of. Search for Modern Jive, or Ceroc, (or a specific Ballroom dance, Salsa, Swing… You get the picture!) and you’ll find plenty of playlists that people have created for themselves, that you can listen to. 

You’ll also find playlists and videos on YouTube, but I do find that they tend to have more annoying ads than Spotify, which might be to do with the algorithm and what else I have been searching for on there! 

Final Thoughts 

Your enjoyment of your Modern Jive dancing is massively impacted by the type of music the DJ plays. So it is really important that you understand the type of music you want to hear on the dancefloor, but don’t get too hung up on only hearing one style of music. Just get your dance shoes on, and feel it… Enjoy it… And be open to hearing new music that you might surprise yourself with when you end up liking it! 

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