Practice Ballroom and Latin Dance Music Sampler

One of the great things about Latin and Ballroom dancing is the wide variety of dance music used for the ten or so dances. Not only does the music come from various countries around the world, but it can also come from classical to contemporary sources. Dancing to this music helps you rediscover or even discover timeless songs and may broaden your musical appreciation.

The music used has a variety of time signatures and a variety of tempos. One usually learns and practices new dance steps to a slower track, and then gradually build up the tempo to the full speed.

Each dance style has a mood or feeling which the songs need in order to sound right. Other factors such as which beats in each bar are the strongest help determine the classification of a track.

To give prospective students a taster of the range of music we dance to, and so that existing students can download appropriate music to practise to at home, we have picked out a track or two for the dances we teach. The links are provided so you can listen to the samples and buy the tracks if you want.

We hope you enjoy our choices. This is a tiny sample of the music we play at our classes and dances. There really is something for everybody.On that note, if you have any suggestions for suitable tracks please email us or use the contact form the title and artist so we can listen to the track. We might soon be playing it at our classes and dances. Thanks.

Sampler Playlist On Spotify

ballroom dancing in Bristol

Waltz Dance Music

He’ll Have to Go – Jim Reeves (slow, beginners tempo)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Waltzes are in 3/4 time (three beats in each bar). To dance the modern waltz, the tempo should be between 28 and 30 bars per minute. Musicians of all styles compose tunes in 3/4 time, and the tunes tend to be either romantic or sad. Here’s a Waltz that’s a bit of both. It’s nice and slow making it ideal for beginners.

Quickstep Dance Music

This Is the Life – Amy MacDonald (slowish quickstep)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Quickstep is the second fastest ballroom dance with a tempo between 46 and 50 bars per minute. Quickstep is a close relative of the Charleston from the 1920s and feels just right with brassy big band music with a strong drum beat but also works well with contemporary tracks like this.

Rhythm Foxtrot

Come fly with me – Michael Buble

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

There are two varieties of foxtrot, this one being slightly faster (30 to 33 bars per minute) and jazzier than the slow foxtrot. Many songs by crooners like Frank Sinatra or the modern day singer Michael Bublé typify the foxtrot sound.

Slow Foxtrot Dance Music

Why don’t you do right? – Sinead O’Connor

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

The slow foxtrot is arguably the classiest of all the ballroom dances and is danced between 28 and 30 bars per minute. These are the smooth sort of songs you could cooly snap your fingers to.

Cha Cha Cha Dance Music

Represent, Cuba – The Latin Chart Stars (slow, beginners tempo)

Amazon | Spotify

The cha cha cha is danced to upbeat but not overly fast music around 28 to 30 bars per minute. The original Cuban style music still works well, but quite a lot of contemporary pop songs have the necessary tempo and syncopated beats to get your feet moving.

Another Cha Cha Track

Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out – Freak Power (normal dance tempo)

iTunes | Spotify

Rumba Dance Music

Fly Me to the Moon – Agnetha Fältskog

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

The rumba is danced to slower songs around 24 to 26 bars per minute, and the mood of the song definitely has to be romantic. The track we are suggesting for the rumba is a double treat as not only is it a beautiful rendition of a great song (which is often performed as a foxtrot or waltz ) but it is sung by Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA.

Tango Dance Music

Tango in the Park – Vito Di Salvo

iTunes | 

Hernandos Hideaway

Amazon | Spotify

The traditional distinctive sound features violins, piano, double bass, bandoneóns (accordions) and sometimes drums. The dance is full of staccato movements and is about passion, so naturally the music should match this. Ballroom tango is danced between 30 and 33 bars per minute.

Salsa Dance Music

Ahi Na’Ma Kaynana – Ayhan Sicimoglu (mid tempo)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Salsa is danced to a wide range of musical styles typically between 42 and 50 bars per minute. Here is a strong percussive track which blends Latino, Jazz, Reggae and Turkish influences. One of our favourites from 2006/7.

Samba Dance Music

Start Without You – Alexandra Burke (slowish tempo)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Samba, the dance from Brazil, is the fastest of the Latin dances at around 50 bars per minute. Drums, small bells and whistles from carnival parades come to mind, but a wide and sometimes unexpected range of songs work well as sambas, including several by R&B divas like Alexandra Burke.

Jive Dance Music

Baby Workout – Jackie Wilson (mid tempo, 36 bars/minute)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Jive has probably the widest usable range of tempos and is danced from a manageable 32 bars per minute up to a breathless 45 bars per minute. We rarely go over 40 bars per minute at our dances! It has the instantly recognisable percussive accent on the 2nd and 4th beats in the bar, once again making you click your fingers and tap your feet.

A Fast Jive Track.

Dance with Me Tonight – Olly Murs (very lively 40 bars/minute)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Viennese Waltz Dance Music

The Viennese waltz, can be danced at a tempo up to 60 bars per minute, which is twice the speed of the waltz or three steps every second! It is a fast dance, and when learning it you need something a little slower.

I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz (slow practice, best after approximately 1′ 40”)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

Faster Viennese Waltz.

Waltz from Jazz suite #2 – Dmitri Shostakovich (full tempo)

iTunes | Amazon | Spotify