The Future of Dance Music

dance music uk

Dance music combines electronic beats with vocals for an exciting yet relaxing listening experience, providing either energetic motivation or soothing relaxation based on what your needs may be at any particular time.

Archives have had an outstanding year as UK dance artists. Making the top ten of BBC Sound of 2023 poll, Archives combine beats with emotional vocals. Meanwhile LF System and Eliza Rose are also enjoying success.


Dance music is an electronic genre characterized by a 4/4 beat and various synthesizer sounds. Additionally, this genre often incorporates samples of other musical styles such as classical, reggae and hip hop music into its compositions. Dance music came into its own after the introduction of MIDI software that allowed computer programs to control synthesizers and instruments through one language interface.

In the late 1980s, dance music saw a tremendous surge in the UK. Driven by both British youth culture and international trends, DJs such as Tony Wilson’s Hacienda club in Manchester and London clubs like Delirium, The Trip, and Shoom brought Chicago house and Detroit techno to England – sparking self-expression and experimentation through dance music. These events gave rise to a generation of young dancers as well as a small but influential community of journalists (particularly youth culture writers) who documented early accounts of its history.

Dance music has its share of moral panics – from the M25 Riots of 1989 to current concerns over knife crime – but remains an integral part of British youth culture. Ed Gillett’s book Party Lines details how successive generations have utilized dance music as an antidote against an unfriendly society and to claim public space and assert their identity through it.

Drum and bass (DnB) was an emerging music style from UK jungle and rave scenes during the 1990s. With fast-paced breakbeats and non-standard rhythms that influenced other UK dance styles such as ragga and dubstep, DnB gained prominence. Additionally, DnB is noted for an innovative feature called wobble bass which adds low frequency growl to its beats.

Trance music originated in Germany during the 1980s as an electronic dance style characterized by slow tempos. Its primary characteristic is an accumulation of tension that culminates in one or two drops, known as “peaks.” Each drop comes complete with its own melody that varies depending on styles and musicians involved.

Electro house, with roots in Detroit techno from the 1980s, has emerged as a faster, more energetic form of dance music that has gained immense popularity across Europe and internationally. Electro house uses electronic instruments like bass guitar and drum kit to produce its distinctive beat and has even inspired international dance music festivals!


With genres like UK Garage, Grime, and Dubstep displaying such creativity and resilience as to make their mark in dance music history, the future looks bright for dance music in general. Producers continue to produce more music while prolific artists sell out stadium shows transforming our understanding of dance culture altogether.

The UK dance music scene has seen many transformations over time. Beginning with Manchester’s Hacienda scene and its all-night warehouse parties, which rose to prominence during the late 1980s. Since MDMA became increasingly popular during that decade, large all-night warehouse parties became common.

Acid house was an early precursor of Dubstep; producers blended house music with hip-hop, Jamaican dancehall and dub reggae as they fused dancehall with dub reggae for an unique sound that has come to be known as Dubstep. Dubstep features double time rhythms with percussive drum patterns as well as harsh claps or snares accompanied by its signature “wub” bass sound; something found throughout Jamaican music itself.

Armin Van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and DJ Tiesto all began producing melodic dance tracks utilizing synthesizers during the 1990s, leading to its dominance on various electronic-music charts and clubs around the globe. This led to what came to be known as Trance music genre.

Early 2000s UK dance-music scenes underwent a reductionist phase, marked by shorter track lengths and greater emphasis on songwriting with organic elements like vocal samples being added into tracks. This change was in reaction to more mainstream house and trance music which had become popular, as well as wanting to move away from commercialised sounds of early 90s dance music.

The UK stands as an industry leader in dance music, demonstrating its global reach through Skepta’s worldwide success with his record Konnichiwa. This success propelled grime into mainstream consciousness. The Night Time Industries Association lobbied hard during this pandemic calling for increased support for its sector which contributes 1.6% of GDP and employs 425,000 across the UK.


Dance music has quickly become a favorite at nightclubs and festivals around the globe. This genre covers an extensive variety of subgenres that all serve to get people moving; such as breakbeat, trance, drum ‘n bass, dubstep and house.

Dubstep, an EDM genre which originated in London since the 1990s, has quickly become one of the most beloved forms of dance music today. Characterised by strong bass sound and syncopated rhythms that draw influence from reggae and hip-hop genres alike. It typically ranges between 140-170 BPM, making it perfect for hardcore bass head enthusiasts.

Future House is an energetic and percussive version of house music that emerged out of a desire for something with more percussive beats and less emphasis on lead basslines; yet still retains crisp digital sounds. Future House also draws influences from funk, soul, and disco music as seen on tracks by artists such as Flo Rida.

Drum and bass music is an energetic style of dance music originating in Britain’s jungle and rave scenes. This genre typically includes fast breakbeats with distorted vocal samples as well as an exciting bassline that often includes screeching sounds – an unpredictable combination that has its own loyal following. This particular genre requires strong endurance! It boasts an avid following.

Electro house, similar to house but featuring more synthesizers and heavier synth-based sounds. Progressive house is an eclectic form of dance music which blends elements from different genres such as pop and progressive rock into its soundscape. Trance music, often associated with spirituality and boasting various subgenres such as tech trance or uplifting trance, is another melodic genre within dance music uk that may also fall under this umbrella genre.

Moombahton, an exciting hybrid genre combining house and reggaton music, is quickly gaining traction across America and has even earned praise from DJs such as Dave Nada. This high-energy genre will have you salsa dancing in no time!


According to new figures from record industry trade group BPI, dance music’s rise can be traced in part to homegrown talent. According to new estimates from record industry trade group BPI, more than half of the dance hits that entered this year’s Official Singles Chart top ten were either created or featured UK artists – from breakout acts such as LF System and Eliza Rose through to established stars like Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Becky Hill, Calum Scott Calvin Harris Ella Henderson Jax Jones MNEK as well as non-UK artists like Drake and Beyonce who released records that could be classified as dance releases.

South London-based Bklava stands as an unforgettable example. She has established herself as a DJ and producer while leading dance music’s next generation with songs such as 2020’s “Cntrl” and 2019’s “Got It Good”, and more recently on her debut album Home which showcases everything from smooth deep house and UK funky to dramatic drum’n’bass.

Techno and trance artists are drawing heavily upon dance music’s past to inform its future, with this trend especially evident within these genres. Over 2022, various producers called upon sounds from 1990s rave and Eurodance rave to add excitement to their sets, such as German duo DJ Heartstring & Marlon Hoffstadt as well as Dutch artist KI/KI who uses decades-old hard dance in her sets for modern audiences.

Artists aside, there are also a handful of young writers and critics ensuring dance music’s legacy is properly recorded and celebrated. Sheryl Garratt ran The Face’s youth culture section from 1989-95 and was one of the first writers to chronicle British clubbing; other important contributors include authors who’ve written early histories of genres with black working class roots such as bleep techno and jungle.