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17:22 Posted by Alison

I’d like to start a campaign. Before you turn your nose up at the idea, hear me out; this campaign will help the whole pop industry. No, scratch that – if this campaign is successful, it will help all of humanity. I’d like to bring back the dance routine.

As you have probably noticed, there has been a steep decline in the number of songs accompanied by a dance routine over the past decade. Most of the acts that have made half-arsed efforts have spent more time gurning at the camera than busting out copyable (or even discernible) moves. Even the usual stalwarts – boybands – have been slacking. It seems that ever since Celtic lords of the dance Westlife turned ‘standing up’ into an acceptable substitute for any actual choreography, routines have fallen out of fashion.

This dance drought is not only frustrating for the mp3 buying public - who are left to awkwardly sway, fist-pump and generally make idiots of themselves individually on the dance floor - but also a grave mistake on the part of the artists. Abandoning the dance goldmine means thousands of acts are missing out on revenue both now and in years to come.

Don’t believe me? Well pay attention, because here are five sure-fire reasons why it’s in our and pop acts’ interests to revive dance routines:


Five, ten or twenty years down the line, if a song has an accompanying dance routine it will be remembered. YMCA, Macarena, Saturday Night and Thriller – all these titles have instant recognition because they were firmly tied to songs with a simple yet memorable dance routine. Their step sequences were practiced, replicated (to varying degrees of success) and the song’s life was extended.

Dance can help provide the biggest hit of an artist’s career

A good song + a dance routine = an unstoppable hit. Both Single Ladies and Whenever Wherever are decent songs, Bad Romance and Slave 4 U are pretty catchy, but combined with their unique dance routines they became monsters. Even her Madge-esty owes one of her biggest successes to the appropriation of underground dance battle culture.

Copyable choreography can boost a mediocre song

To capitalise on the power of dance, an artist doesn’t even have to release a potential smash. Some of the most beloved (and copied) routines have been attached to average (or down right sh*t-shows) of songs. The genius of 5, 6, 7, 8 isn’t in its stunning composition or an incredible, euphoric chorus, but in the fact that anyone with an ounce of rhythm (and the ability to count to eight) can dodge the embarrassment of independent dance for three minutes and twenty-four seconds. And if Soulja Boy can make a $7m out of half a Nokia ringtone and some arm waving whilst singing about a sex act, a dance routine can help anyone cash in.

Dance unites people

As cheesy as it sounds, upbeat music is social and the presence of a defined set of moves helps to connect vast amounts of people to the song (which in turn, record execs, may persuade them to buy it). Routines are also not demographic specific, meaning that everyone on the dance floor at your cousin’s wedding/school disco/nightclub-of-choice can join in and continue to do so every time a DJ gives the song an outing in the future (hopefully preventing the likes of this):

The steps don’t even have to look good

Routines do not require dancing prowess. Obviously it can help to throw a few more impressive manoeuvres into the mix a la Miss Spears in her heyday, but as 5ive, The Spice Girls and countless novelty acts proved throughout the nineties, as long as each ridiculous action is performed with conviction, people will embrace your use of dance.


So there you have it. Profitable and with the potential for positive social change, the dance routine needs to make a comeback. And if possible, make it more Kylie than Las Ketchup please, though this is a very good start.

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1 Response to "D.A.N.C.E"

  1. Angel In This Dress Said,

    Alison, this is genius! And as ever, another brilliantly written piece! :) Bring back the dance moves! (so I'm not just swaying to the music in a bar / club looking like a complete fool!) x x

    Posted on 27 July 2012 at 18:58


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All original content is ©Alison Rowley 2012. No words or images may be reproduced without permission from the copyright holder.