The Dance Music Scene in the Pacific Northwest

Dance Music Northwest salaries average $73,892. Salaries may differ significantly based on factors like location, job title, company responsibilities, education level and experience.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Little Mortal Jump is an eclectic combination of styles and genres that converges into an engaging whole. The work marries technical movement with theatricality and dark humor to form an engaging performance experience.


The Northwest has a rich tradition in music. From garage rock era acts to Seattle’s grunge scene and folk festivals held here annually, this region has a deep-seated legacy in independent music that dates back decades.

During the garage rock era in the Pacific Northwest, bands would experiment with various genres to discover what would best entice dance crowds and lead to dancing. Through trial-and-error they produced an eclectic soundscape which encompassed multiple styles.

From Seattle’s Tony-O and Nastymix Records’ hip-hop to Montesano Melvins’ funk and Bellingham Jesters’ dark cabaret performances, the local music scene is diverse and covers every region in Washington state. Macklemore and other local rappers have garnered national attention, increasing its visibility even more than before.

Some musicians felt seduced by Haight-Ashbury and left to pursue new opportunities elsewhere; others, however, stayed behind to create great music here in the Northwest. Some joined legendary bands like Jefferson Airplane or Quicksilver Messenger Service while others established labels of their own and started producing hits independently.

Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse both continued to make waves in the Pacific Northwest indie rock scene; their drummer from The Postal Service went on to form Modest Mouse there in Bellingham, Washington. Even today, many PNW electronic artists draw influence from indie and lo-fi aesthetics associated with this movement.

The Northwest is home to a vibrant music industry, evidenced by its many local venues that host top-tier touring acts and the diverse promoters and talent agencies that complement them. These groups host shows tailored specifically for different demographics in the city such as fans and college students; in addition to promoting top artists these groups also help launch young regional talent’s careers; ODESZA started performing college shows at Western Washington University before going on to top Billboard’s EDM charts!


Dance music typically refers to upbeat genres that make people want to move, such as house, electro, techno and drum & bass. However, slower styles like downtempo and chillout also fall under this genre’s purview. Dance music may also be defined as music written specifically to accompany social dancing such as club or dance music in its past forms.

Early dance music we know about dates back to the Middle Ages. Composed using instruments such as the lute, viol and tabor, dance suites were sometimes collected together during these times. By Renaissance time however, dance music had become more structured and formalized using Western staff-based notation systems.

Modern dance music has evolved in many ways over time, being influenced by various cultures around the world and merging with different genres to form new forms. One such style influenced by other cultures was disco music – a style of dance music which blends rhythm and blues with funk and soul that became extremely popular during the 1970s, which eventually led to modern forms of dance music such as techno or house.

Odesza stands as an inspiring example of dance music with roots across multiple genres. Since 2011, they have rapidly expanded their audience and reach, garnering praise from such luminaries as Pretty Lights who asked them to remix one of his tracks; furthermore they performed at Coachella and sold out 23 shows during a recent tour.

Graymatter blends cool Tech House tunes with bass house beats for an immersive listening experience. He has played at multiple major tri-cities clubs as well as Paradiso festival in the Gorge – making him well known in PNW EDM circles.

Born Dirty is another Pacific Northwest dance music producer with an eclectic style. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures, his signature booty-shaking tunes will surely delight any audience.

PNW dance music scene would benefit from more genre variety. This could be achieved by connecting smaller fanbases with artists that they are likely to enjoy; or by helping larger promoters lower ticket prices so they can compete against more established dance music festivals.


Ancient history attests to dancers being accompanied by music; however, as an art form it first made an appearance in Europe in medieval and Renaissance music for court dancing and folk dancing during medieval and Renaissance eras. Dance music then comprised works inspired by dance forms like waltzes, polkas, salsa, jigs and minuets; these early pieces typically were performed to traditional instruments like the harp, lute or bagpipes. Later, with piano and synthesizer technologies emerged new styles inspired by dance forms which often bore names similar to their dance counterparts which could later be collected into dance suites.

Modern electronic dance music emerged during the 1980s following the advent of MIDI protocol, which allowed computers and synthesizers to communicate. Later, digital synthesizers became more widely available allowing artists to combine analogue and digital sounds together using a 4/4 beat tempo. Modern popular dance music draws upon classical, jazz, Latin, and rock influences and typically performed live at clubs or theatres with DJs and light shows present.

Today, Seattle’s dance music scene continues to adapt with the region’s changing culture and economy. Seattle venues now host various genres ranging from hip-hop and indie rock to classical and world music; as well as several festivals related to dance-related performances like BodyVox performance company.

Though the Pacific Northwest music scene may be constantly shifting, niche bands remain committed to their creative passions and don’t give up on their dreams. Mariuca and Ignacio is one such band clinging on, creating their unique blend of indie pop and dance-pop inspired by Bjork’s experimental works on Biophilia and Vulnicura as well as Broadcast and Radiohead; such influences can be heard in their latest release Pyramid – an ambient and atmospheric track which showcases Mariuca and Ignacio’s vocal prowess!


The Pacific Northwest dance music scene is flourishing. Dance artists frequently appear on festival lineups, local venues host weekly shows, and streaming platforms like TikTok support this genre – making it easy to assume dance music’s longevity; but is this actually the case?

2022 was an unprecedented year in dance music across the world. Artists who had previously taken time off returned with renewed energy, while established producers found new strategies for pushing their careers forward. TikTok’s growing popularity also contributed to defining new trends within this genre.

From mashups to remixes and live performances, dance music has made its presence felt in 2022. Let’s look back on some key developments that indicate its continued presence in our musical landscape.

House Music

House music is an EDM subgenre characterized by four-on-the-floor beats and sampled or synthesized vocals, often found on an eight-track player. House has grown to encompass numerous subgenres such as deep, tech and progressive house. Modern trends within this genre often combine classic house sounds with contemporary production techniques while exploring various cultural influences.

Post-disco is an eclectic musical style that emerged following disco’s decline in the early to mid 1980s, drawing influence from multiple styles such as boogie and Italo disco as well as synth-pop. It can encompass various subgenres like boogie and Italo disco as well as synth-pop; its signature characteristics are faster tempos with more synthesized effects and pop melodies than in traditional disco arrangements.

Post-disco is the result of producers trying to create dance music that fuses contemporary sounds with those from decades past, creating something both familiar and unique. It is highly diverse genre often drawing influence from hip hop, R&B, punk rock music among others.

Dance music has never been more accessible to audiences in the Pacific Northwest thanks to millennials who have brought it from its former niche status into major cities such as Seattle and Portland, and are sure to continue doing so as younger generations seek holistic lifestyles and new musical experiences.