Is Dance Music a Genre?

is dance music a genre

Dance is an art form that utilizes body movements and music to tell stories, express emotions, or just have fun. It has roots in many cultures around the world.

Through history, dance and music have been closely connected. This has resulted in the development of dance as an art form.


Dance music can be broadly defined as “all electronic music meant for dancing”. As its name implies, this genre includes a range of musical genres from EDM to pop.

Dance music, however, can refer to any type of music with a beat and rhythm. Jazz, rock, r&b, swing and samba are all examples of this type of genre.

Popular dance genres such as house, techno, trance and Drum & Bass all feature a 4/4 beat with an energetic bassline.

Other subgenres of EDM include dubstep and trap. The latter is an EDM style which incorporates elements of hip-hop into its production, making it a particularly popular genre in the US.

Dance music’s roots can be traced back to Jamaica in the 1960s, when artists tried their hand at creating new genres of music by layering multiple tracks on reel-to-reel audio tape recorders. This style became known as dub and became increasingly popular in night clubs around the world.

DJs played this type of music in nightclubs, raves, and festivals throughout the 1970s. By the 1990s, producers began creating their own versions of this genre which became known as electronic dance music (EDM).

Since then, DJs have begun incorporating elements from a variety of musical genres into their sets, such as reggaeton and hip-hop. This has resulted in dance music becoming an increasingly diverse genre.

Popular forms of dance music include house, techno, trance, Drum & Bass and dubstep. Each genre has its own distinct sounds and styles.

Despite this diversity, there are some unifying themes across all subgenres. These include a powerful beat, driving bassline and melodic element.

Dance music often features the breakdown, where all instruments except for drums and percussion stop playing.

This breakdown can be used to set the atmosphere for the rest of the song and create a distinct sound for each track. It’s an effective way to break up monotony in dance music.


Dance music has a rich heritage. It began with ballroom dancing during the late 19th century and eventually spread to include Western swing and fox-trot dances.

In the 1970s, DJs began playing tracks with a unique rhythm that made it easier for people to move around on the dance floor. It featured four-on-the-floor bass drum beats punctuated by hi-hat on offbeats; quickly becoming an immensely popular genre.

Music of this era was heavily influenced by soul, R&B, jazz and funk; particularly popular in nightclubs and public places since hiring a DJ proved more cost-effective than paying for an actual band.

Synthpop, another subgenre of dance music born in the 1980s, combined elements of disco with synthesized vocals. Artists such as Donna Summer and George McCrae produced hit records featuring synthesized drums and electronic instruments to create rhythms.

Synthpop had a major influence on electronic dance music (EDM). Notable early pioneers included Giorgio Moroder, who later collaborated with Daft Punk, and Pete Bellotte who co-wrote “I Feel Love” with Moroder for Donna Summer in 1977.

Acid house, a form of techno music created by DJs dubbing over disco records with drum machines and playing them illegally at warehouse parties, was another important stepping stone in the evolution of dance music. In 1987, several British DJs visited Ibiza to party at Amnesia outdoor venue where they discovered how MDMA (aka ‘ecstasy’) made the music seem more vibrant. One of these DJs, Danny Rampling, started Shoom parties at London fitness centers where acid house became one of the biggest youth-culture phenomena since punk.

In the 1990s, many different styles of dance music emerged, such as drum and bass, jungle, downtempo, and big beat. These genres featured faster hip-hop breaks with dub reggae bass patterns. Dubstep also gained momentum during this period; it combined elements from reggae with DJ techniques from electronic dance music.


When discussing dance music, it is essential to be familiar with its various subgenres. Subgenres often shift and develop along with the genre itself, so keep an open mind when discussing different sounds and genres within this realm.

Techno, Trance and Electronic are the three most common genres within dance music. But there are also other genres that fall under this umbrella category of electronica such as Jungle, Trip-hop, Psychedelic House, Tropical House and Vaporwave.

Trap is not technically a genre, but rather an umbrella term for dance music producers to describe an 808-heavy production style that has been around since early 2012. Trap’s rise has been fueled by hip hop artists like T.I and Rick Ross who brought new appreciation for what had previously only been known as “southern rap”.

Trap music evolved by blending together drum patterns from funk and soul with breakbeats at a faster tempo. This combination is what sets trap apart, making it popular among dance music listeners.

Club music was one of the first forms to utilize turntable technology, enabling producers to manipulate records with ease. This technique can also be employed to craft sounds such as dubstep’s wobble bass.

Eventually, as technology advanced and enabled more complex production methods, electronic music producers began using digital samplers and loopers in addition to turntables to craft their tracks.

These samples had low fidelity, yet they served as an invaluable tool for producers of music. With them, they could quickly create various sounds by mixing in other elements like vocals and basslines.

The results were astounding, and electro quickly gained prominence within the genre. This marked electro’s birthplace and had a profound influence on other genres such as house.


One of the best ways to promote dance music is through mixshows. This type of radio show often serves as a launchpad for new artists, providing them with invaluable experience that will help them succeed in the long run.

Radio’s early days saw mixshows as a platform for club and street DJs to get their music broadcast on air. Over time, broadcasters realized this was an effective way to keep listeners engaged and provide them with access to the newest records.

Today, most hip hop and R&B records begin as mixshow hits on radio stations. This gives stations the opportunity to showcase the hottest tracks first and watch their popularity grow as they get added into regular rotation on air.

A mixshow on the radio can be an excellent way to promote your music, as it gives you a direct line to reach out directly to listeners. This is especially crucial for commercial radio where there are often many other releases and established chart-toppers competing with yours.

The key to creating an unforgettable show is creating one that stands out from others and captures your audience’s attention. Include songs they’ll enjoy and ensure it’s something they can’t stop singing along to.

A mixshow is also an excellent opportunity to express your style and personality as a radio presenter. This will give listeners an insight into who you are, as well as the type of programme you offer them.

Promote your mixshow on social media to build an audience and fan base that could potentially lead to additional exposure and sponsorships in the future.

Another effective way to promote your mixshow is through eblasts. These can be sent out in advance of the event and combined with other promotional campaigns like music videos or live performances.

These eblasts can be utilized to promote new mixes and DJs, as well as events and parties. Furthermore, they help build awareness about upcoming music releases like singles or albums, by sending out alerts.