Dance to the Music: Smooth Edition

In my previous blog, I discussed some of the musical qualities for certain dances in American Rhythm.  I also provided some songs you can use for those dances.  This time around I’m going to dive into American Smooth dances and its music.


A lot of Foxtrot music has a big-band or swing feel to it.  The dance itself has flowing walking steps with a gentle rise and fall.  Think of it as a nice walk in the park – it is somewhat playful.  A traditional Foxtrot playlist will include music from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, or artists that sound like them.  But if you are looking for modern-sounding songs, here are a few that will work well:

·         Ophelia – Lumineers

·         Lucky – Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

·         I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

·         Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

·         Mango Tree – Zack Brown Band and Sara Bareilles


Waltz differs from other dances mainly because of its time signature.  Most dances are in 4/4 time, but Waltz is danced in 3/4 time, which basically means that you just keep counting to 3 in order to keep time.  American Waltz has a slower tempo than Viennese Waltz which makes it look a lot smoother.  Most Waltz sounds very classical, but you can also find contemporary Waltzes.  As long as the song is in 3/4 time and is slow, you can dance to it!  Here are a few examples:

·         Come Away With Me – Norah Jones

·         At This Moment – Michael Bublé

·         You Light Up My Life – Whitney Houston

·         Make It Rain – Ed Sheeran

·         If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Seal


Tango is a dramatic dance that has a staccato feel and the music should also sound similar.  Tango music traditionally has a lot of strings with powerful, accented beats.  Admittedly, i t can be hard to find modern-sounding Tango music.  Not a lot of pop stars make Tango-sounding songs, but you may occasionally stumble upon a few modern songs that feel like a Tango.  There are also some artists out there who specifically make contemporary Tango music with a bit of an electronic sound.  You can even find covers of popular songs that have been remixed to give it a Tango vibe:

·         Sweet Dreams – Tanghetto

·         En Orsai – Demarco Electronic Project

·         Telephone – Martynas

·         Hey Sexy Lady – Shaggy

·         Infiltrado – Bajofondo

Viennese Waltz

As mentioned before, the Viennese Waltz moves at a quicker tempo than its American counterpart.  It is defined by its constant turning movements as well.  Music for a Viennese Waltz will also be in 3/4 time, but will be faster.  Luckily, you can find many modern Viennese Waltzes.  Here are a few favorites of mine:

·         Keep Holding On – Avril Lavigne

·         Sandcastles – Beyoncé

·         If I Knew – Bruno Mars

·         Say Something – A Great Big World

·         Love on the Brain – Rihanna

I think finding music for smooth dances can sometimes be more difficult than finding music for other dance categories, but you can always use online resources to look up more Waltz, Foxtrot, and Tango music.  Spotify and YouTube are great tools for discovering playlists and there are so many to choose from!  So take a look at the suggestions I listed above or even search for some other playlists to find the perfect music for you!

Happy dancing!  ^_^