A Dancer’s Guide to Knowing What Dance to Do

What Dance Do I Do to This Song?

Confused woman
Here’s how to your dance music know-how

Dancers, have you ever found yourself standing on the sidelines for the first half of each song trying to figure out what dance is supposed to be done to the music? Like my students you might be wondering: How do I know what dance to do to a song?

Many events help you out by announcing each song’s dance or posting a set list for your reference. Even then, some songs work equally well for more than one dance, so being able to match dances to songs is a skill to develop. And of course, you’ll need that skill at weddings and private parties that don’t have these dance aids.

Until there’s an app for it, I want to help you develop your dance music know-how. Of course, there are lots of variables in dancing and music, exceptions to the rules, etc. But I’m going to keep this simple, so consider this a rough guide to figuring out what to dance to a song.

No Hard and Fast Rules

First of all, unless you’re at a dance competition, know that there are no hard and fast rules for which dance must be performed to a particular song. You get to choose the dance you want to do. That said, when you fit a dance well to a song, it’s easier to keep rhythm, to express the character of the dance, and overall, it tends to just feel better.

And some dances’ music is unique enough that it will hit you clearly. For example, Tangos have a distinctive staccato rhythm and dramatic. Once you’ve heard a few Tangos, without needing to think, you’ll just know it’s a Tango.

For the rest, it’s really just a process of elimination. As you become more experienced, hearing the dance in most songs will become more automatic.

5 Easy Steps to Determine What Dance to Do

1. Get a Feel for the Song’s Speed

Ask: What’s the speed of this song?

Start by determining the song’s tempo (i.e., it’s speed.) This simply means getting a feel for whether the song is slow or fast or somewhere in between.

Sometimes the instrumentation or vocals in a song can fake you out. For example, a song may sound very upbeat but actually have a rather slow beat. Until you get good at gauging a song’s tempo, just tap your toes or fingers to the beat of the song, becoming a human metronome for its true speed.

Once you know if the song is slow or fast (or somewhere in between), you can then rule out some dances. For example, if the song is fast, then all the slower dances are out, such as Rumba, Nightclub Two Step and Slow Waltz. Or if the song is really slow, you can cross off Cha Cha, Salsa, East Coast Swing and Viennese Waltz.

Note: As a beginner, you’ll likely only be comfortable dancing in a narrow tempo range for each dance. So if you identify a song as Cha Cha but find yourself unable to keep up with the music, it doesn’t necessarily mean you made a mistake identify it as a Cha Cha—you just may not be experienced enough to dance to the full tempo range for Cha Cha.

If you’re curious, check out this list of tempo ranges for each dance (this is one person’s idea of good tempos, not an official list). In case you’re interested, here are the official tempos used at ballroom dance competitions.

2. Rule Out If It’s a Waltz

Johann Strauss Waltz Musician
Waltzes have 3 beats in a measure (instead of 4)

As you’re tapping out the speed of a song, count the beats. If it’s easy to count 1-2-3-4 it’s not a Waltz. However, if counting in four’s feels off, try counting in three’s: 1-2-3, 1-2-3.

Most songs are in 4/4-time, meaning there are four beats in each measure. However, Waltzes are in 3/4-time, with only three beats in each measure. (There are other time signatures, but 4/4 and 3/4 are main ones you’ll encounter.)

If 1-2-3 matches the music, you’ll know it’s a Waltz. And having already gauged the song’s speed, you can immediately determine whether it’s a Slow Waltz (slower) or Viennese Waltz (about twice as fast as Slow Waltz).

3. Listen to Its Rhythm/Feel

Vintage latin dance album
What’s the rhythm or feel of the song?

If the song isn’t a Waltz, your next step is to pay attention to the song’s rhythm or feel. Is it happy, romantic, dramatic, bluesy, melancholic, or funky? Does it have a Latin/Afro-Cuban beat? Does it make you want to bounce, glide, twirl or march? Listening to the songs’ rhythm and character will help you sort it into one of a few broad categories: Ballroom, Latin, Swing, or other (Hustle, Country Western, Nightclub Two Step, etc.).

For example, say the song has a Latin rhythm. The most common Latin dances in ballroom/social dancing are Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba and Salsa. Rumba is the only one of these with a slower, romantic feel. So if the song is like that, you’re ready to Rumba!

And if the song’s rhythm is upbeat, you can eliminate Rumba and then parse out which of the remaining three dances it might be. Samba has a very distinctive “boom-a-boom” percussive beat (think Brazilian Carnaval music). If you’re hearing that, it’s probably a Samba. If you’re not, congratulations, you’ve narrowed it down to a Cha Cha or Salsa.

4. When in Doubt, Step It Out

Feet ready to dance
Dance in place to see what matches the music

Continuing with the same example, say you’ve figured out the song is either a Cha Cha or a Salsa. Cha Chas usually have a “cha-cha-cha” in their beat, although you may not be able to hear this until you have more experience.

At this point, it’s time to experiment with the basic steps in each dance. Do this on your own in place, so small and casual people might not even notice. Try a few Cha Cha basics and see how well your feet match the music. Then try the Salsa basic. Usually one will feel like the right fit and voila, you’ve successfully determined what dance to do to this song!

Boy peeking through fence
See what dance others are doing

5. Or “Cheat” and Steal a Peek

If you’re still stumped after you’ve “stepped it out,” have a look and see what others are dancing. As a beginner, it’s often best to look at intermediate-level dancers. Fellow novices are likely as lost as you are, and advanced dancers may be dancing fancy figures with so much styling and technique you won’t even recognize what they’re dancing as the same dance you know! Intermediate dancers, however, will know which dance to do to a song yet will still be dancing figures you can recognize.

Have Fun: Make into a Game!

I encourage you to make a game out of matching dances to songs when you’re not out dancing. Play the “What Could I Dance to This Song” game when you’re listening to music at home, in the car or when you hear a tune playing at a store or on the street.

Vintage woman listening to 45 records
Make a game out of matching dances to music

Of course, all music isn’t made for partner dancing (e.g., classical, electronica, hip hop and even many pop tunes). So to make it easier on yourself you may want to listen to songs pre-selected for a dancing, such as those off a ballroom dance practice CD or from a recommended playlist like this.

Remember, ultimately which dance to do is your choice, so have fun and feel free to be creative. That said, be respectful of other dancers on the floor. For example, make sure you use proper floor etiquette, especially if you decide to do a dance that’s different from what the majority on the floor is doing. If doing a traveling dance, stay on the outside track, moving in the line of dance; if doing a spot (non-traveling) dance, dance in the center of the floor.

Over time the process of matching songs to dances will become faster and simpler. You may even find yourself mentoring new dancers on the subject!

Reader Interactions


  1. Donna Henig says

    what dance would you dance to Andre Boccelli’s Fall on me song. Thinking of this for my wedding song could use the help. Hoping for something other than closed position slow dancing.

    • BrandeeS says

      For Fall on Me, I’d suggest dancing a modified version of Waltz. The song is written in 6/8 time, which gives it a Waltz-like feel. However, the tempo would be too fast to dance a regular 1-2-3 Waltz timing. Instead, you could either take one step on each heavy beat (in Waltz this is called hesitation timing) or using the rhythm Slow-Quick-Quick where the Slow is one step in one heavy beat and the Quick-Quick is two steps in one heavy beat.

      If Waltz feels too formal, you could draw from Blues dancing to create a slow dance that is more interesting than just swaying in closed position.

      I hope this info helps. If you live in the SF Bay Area, I’d be delighted to help you prepare for your first dance!

      • Mateo says

        I think that about covers it. I would do a slowish kind of lazy waltz. You can move a lot, but keep it more shifting weight on the one and three. Trying to hit all beats would be too fast and not fit the song. Country western dancers and Mexican dancers do this well. Just think waltz, but feel the music, with a little bit of viennese posture, but not the triple tempo. hard to put into words, but feel the music on this and it will come easy and should be quite romantic and beautiful for a wedding.

    • Haley says

      Does anyone have any suggestion for The Parts by Manchester Orchestra? This is also our wedding song but I’m not comfortable taking classes with and instructor because of covid!

      • BrandeeS says


        The Parts by Manchester Orchestra is a fast Waltz. Instead of trying to keep up with the tempo and stepping on every beat as one generally does with Waltz, I recommend using a “hesitation” or “single” rhythm where you just step on every count 1. It will match the music without you working up a sweat!

        FYI, if you’re interested, I am teaching online dance lessons via Zoom, FaceTime or Skype.

        Wishing you all the best,

  2. Shalini says

    Hello very helpful blog. We are planning are first dance on Dance with me by MAndi Mapes. Can one do a version of Latin dance on it?
    Thank you!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi: What a great song! It’s actually a Waltz, so dancing Waltz would be the best fit. Alas, the song doesn’t lend itself to any Latin dances. If Waltz feels too formal, you could try doing a blues-y slow dance to it. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. Isabelle says

    Thanks for this – it’s very helpful. Our first dance will be “I’ll lever find another you by The Seekers”….The music sounds rather fast, the singing a little less so…. What would you recommend as a dance?
    Thank you! x

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Isabelle: There are a few different things you could do with the song “I’ll Never Find Another You” by the Seekers, including Rumba and Foxtrot. What you do depends on a variety of factors including how big your dance floor is, how you’d like your dance to be (casual vs formal, fun/funky vs elegant, simple vs fancy, etc), as well as how many dance lessons you have time to take.

      With wedding dances, I often don’t teach an official ballroom dance such as Rumba or Foxtrot, but rather make up a custom dance that fits you as a couple and works well with the song.

      The good news is that your song is very dance-able and will be a good one for your wedding!

      • Mateo says

        Good call. One of my favorite songs. My first thought was, as much as I have listened to this song, never thought about dancing, and my god, it is a cha cha cha. But doesn’t really have the feel for it, and doesn’t work at all dancing wise, so, go to Rhumbaish, which I think would give it just the right playful romantic vibe to match the song.

      • BrandeeS says

        Congrats on your 25th anniversary!

        Hm, you could do a few different dances to this song:
        1) Side-Tap Basic, building turns and moves off of it (this isn’t an official dance style but works well to songs this tempo)
        2) Nightclub Two Step (Perfect for this song but can be a challenging dance to do smoothly. If dance doesn’t come easily to one or both of you, I wouldn’t bother learning Nightclub Two Step unless you plan to take lessons with a professional dance instructor)
        3) Rumba/Foxtrot: Both of these dances use a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm and share a few figures in common, such as a Box, Box with Underarm Turn, etc. This would be a little more formal and traditional than the other two. You’ll have lots of official figures to draw from.

        Have a wonderful dance and celebration!


  4. Steve Carter says

    Our first song is “You make it easy” by Jason Aldean and I can’t figure out what dance to do. I thought of the horshoe but the tempo doesn’t match. I think it’s the waltz but I wanted your opinion

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Steve:

      Thanks for your question. There’s good reason you’re confused about Jason Aldean’s “You Make It Easy”—it’s written in 6/8 time (instead of the usual 4/4 time…or in the 3/4 time of Waltz). The 6/8 time has a lilting feeling very much like Waltz. So I’d recommend what you were thinking: dancing a Waltz where you’ll step on every beat (1-2-3, 4-5-6).

      Hope that helps. Here’s wishing you a wonderful first dance!

      • Wayne says

        Hey Steve. Very beautiful song. The 6/8 time signature and tempo of this song lends itself more to a specific type of waltz called Viennese Waltz which is much faster than just standard Waltz. Viennese Waltz can be a bit more difficult to learn but there are certain figures such as the balance step or balance and box step in Viennese Waltz which a beginner could learn quickly. You may check with your teacher.

  5. Janine rohrbacker says

    Hello, this isn’t exactly a question about a certain dance but I wonder if you can tell me if you can learn muscle memory by using different songs to the same dance? I just started teaching country line dance at a 55+ community and didn’t want to teach incorrectly. Thank you! Janine

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Janine and thanks for writing!

      I think you’re asking if playing different songs for the same line dance will help vs hinder your students’ learning and muscle memory. If yes, I’d say playing the same song for a line dance allows optimal learning in the beginning as the music helps cue memory of the choreography (this is especially true if the line dance matches the phrasing of the original song, although not all line dances do this).

      However, once your students know the line dance pretty well, playing other songs provides a bit of a challenge—-that is, can they remember the choreography when they don’t have the original song’s cues to support their recall? Plus it can be fun to have some variety in the music!

      Hope that helps. Happy line dancing to you and your students!

  6. Dil Mendis says

    Is there an app that shows the musical count as the song plays?
    When my dance teacher says “5,6,7,8” I wonder how one would figure that out . Are there any self learning tools online? Thanks

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Dil:

      Good question! I actually don’t know, but I encourage you to do some Googling because there very well might be.

      I can tell you that your teacher is listening for count 1 in each measure of music. There are 4 beats in each measure of most music (with Waltz there are only 3 beats). Musicians count them simply 1, 2, 3, 4, repeat. However, dancers like to put 2 measures together, so then you get 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. When your teacher counts “5, 6, 7, 8”, they are counting the last 4 beats in a 2-measure phrase.

      If you happen to live in the SF Bay Area, I’m teaching a class this month called Rhythm & Footwork where I’m teaching exactly what you want to learn: how to hear the beat, how to find count 1 in the music, etc. See the Group Class page on this website for more details.

      Finally, depending on what dance you’re learning, you might be able to find practice music that has a voice-over with the count or has various tracks isolating instruments so that you can learn what to listen for. For instance, “Salsa Practice Music – Beginner” by Peter Rolls.

      Good luck!

  7. Jeff Frusha says

    I’ve tried hard and a slow foxtrot seems right for “I’ll Be There” by Josh Turner. Been told by one dance instructor it’s a two-step, but the time is 7/4, if I count it right.

    What do you think and what would you try? Will be dancing with my youngest daughter to it, in Dec 2020 at her wedding reception…

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Jeff:

      Thanks for your question. The song is indeed a Two Step but you could dance Foxtrot instead. Both dances share the same basic rhythm: Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick (SSQQ). Each Slow is 2 beats of music, and each Quick is 1 beat. When you add them up, it’s 6 beats of music total. Maybe this—-the music is written in 4’s but the dance figures being 6 beats–is what’s throwing you. You won’t always be starting a figure on count 1 of the music.

      That said, Foxtrot is usually danced slightly slower music than this song’s temp. If you’re used to dancing to traditional Foxtrot songs, you’ll just need to dance a little faster than you are accustomed to dancing to a traditional Foxtrot song. Just take smaller steps and you should be fine. 🙂

      Foxtrot also has a second rhythm: Slow-Quick-Quick (SQQ) as in a Box Step (1 Slow + 2 Quicks takes only 4 beats in the music as opposed to 6 beats). If you do a mix of rhythms, I’d recommend doing more SSQQ patterns (when the music is fast, the more “Slow” steps you have, the easier it is to keep up with the music).

      Hope that helps. Have a wonderful time preparing for dancing at your daughter’s wedding!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kelsey:

      What a sweet song! I’d actually suggest doing a basic side-to-side where you just step-tap (counts 1, tap2, 3, tap4). This isn’t an “official” ballroom dance but it works great for this style and tempo. From there you can do turns and other moves—-stepping every beat tends to work best, although with some moves you might be able to continue the step-tap rhythm from your basic.

      If that’s not to your liking, you could use a Box Step as your basic (as is used in Foxtrot and Waltz). In this case, you’d use the rhythm Slow-Quick-Quick, Slow-Quick-Quick.

      Wishing you all the best!

  8. Jessica says

    Do you have a suggestion for Fade Into You by Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen? I’m a novice dancer trying to figure this out – i was thinking a waltz?!? THANKS!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Jessica:

      You’re right, this is indeed a Waltz. The tempo is faster than ballroom “Slow” Waltz (but slower than Viennese Waltz). So you’ll just want to take smaller steps to keep up with the faster beat.

      Have fun!

  9. Michelle Collins says

    I am trying to find a style of dance for ‘never stop’ by safetysuit – the wedding version. I saw on YouTube where people were doing a country western dance style and we like the idea of the country waltz but i’m Not totally sure it fits but we don’t want to do the formal Waltz or the “box step” I cannot seem to find what the BPM is for the song – everything is different answers. Please help.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Michelle:
      This is a beautiful song, tho’ is a little challenging due to its slow speed (~68 bpm). I agree that a Box step would be a good fit, using a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm (SQQ) as the song is in 4/4 time, *not* 3/4 Waltz time. You can borrow dance steps from Waltz (dancing them as SQQ instead of 1-2-3) or use SQQ steps from Foxtrot.

      If you prefer a Country Western style dance, I’d suggest adapting Country Swing which uses a Quick-Quick-Slow rhythm. Of course, since this song is so slow, Country Swing moves will have an elegant, smooth, flowy feel rather than the usual fast-paced flurry of spins!

      Hope that helps!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Monica: I’m assuming you’re talking about Rod Stewart’s version of Forever Young, yes? What to dance depends on whether the Mom & Son plan to take a few dance lessons (or already know some ballroom dancing). If so, I’d recommend borrowing from Rumba (i.e. use the moves but not the Latin styling). Alternatively, they could do a 4-count Hustle.

      However, if the Mom & Son don’t have dance experience and don’t plan to take lessons, I’d recommend keeping it simple and not do an “official dance”—instead, just do a step-tap basic and then add a spin or two.

      Hope that helps,

  10. Tanya says

    Hi BrandeeS,
    Thanks so much for this blog, it’s quite helpful. I am hoping to do our first wedding dance to “hearts don’t break around here” but Ed Sheeran. I believe it is a 6/8 tempo which, I suppose would make Waltz the most appropriate (based on your previous comments). Perhaps you could add some insight for me? Thanks so much!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Tanya: You’re right that this song has a 6/8 time signature. Since the song’s rhythm is so challenging, I’d recommend keeping things simple by just stepping on each of the heavy beats. You could use a side-to-side basic and then build from there.

      If you wanted to get more ambitious and do Waltz, you’d use a syncopated Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm in which you’d take 3 steps over 2 heavy beats. This will be fairly fast, so ultimately might not be what you want to do—-at least not for the whole dance. Hope that helps!

  11. Diana says

    Hello! I am a begginer and i will have my wedding next year and we want to dance on Soldier by gavin degraw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfHUBcevBn0) and at first i really thought its a waltz but then someone has told me its blues. can you explain me which one is correct and why? for me it seems at counting as a waltz and im quite confused. Thank you in advance!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Diana:
      Thanks for your question. This is a slow pop song written in 4/4 time, not a Waltz. It has a syncopated beat which is probably what’s throwing you off. It will be a great song to dance to at your wedding. While it’s not a Blues song, you could do Blues Dancing to it if you wanted to. However, I wouldn’t limit yourself to that dance style—-your dance teacher will help you come up with a dance that fits you and the song!

  12. Jonelle says

    Hi Brandee, I have the reverse question. I am doing a cha cha with my instructor in the upcoming showcase. He keeps asking what song. I am only focusing on the dance. Any suggestion would be helpful. I have been dancing for 2 and a half years. This will be the fourth showcase. First time for cha. I want the tempo to be challenging and able to execute the steps correctly.

  13. Kandace Hickman says

    Love your blog! At our recent wedding, we choose “I Believe in You and Me”, originally done by the Four Tops, and later by Whitney Houston. We had a friend do a mix so it sounded like a duet, one verse by the Tops, next by Whitney, etc., combining both for the verse. Our dance instructor choreographed a very slow and sensual rumba. Turned out amazing!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kandance: Thanks so much for sharing! How cool that you did a duet-style remix of the 2 versions of the song and choreographed a great Rumba to it. Congrats on getting married *and* rocking your first dance!

  14. Tara Patterson says

    Very informative blog. I was wondering what kind of dance to do to Beautiful Crazy by Luke Combs.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Tara: This song is written in 6/8 time which makes it feel Waltz-like. I’d suggest doing a Waltz using Slow-Quick-Quick timing (you’ll do one Slow-Quick-Quick over 6 beats of music). Happy dancing!

  15. Shasta M Worthington says

    We are using Trisha yearwood’s new song “For the last time” for our first dance and I am having trouble figuring out an appropriate dance style for it, do you have any suggestions?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Shasta: Lovely song. The only official dance style for a song this slow would be Nightclub Two Step. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest doing Nightclub Two Step unless you particularly like that dance. Instead I’d suggest doing an “unofficial” slow dance using a side-tap basic and building turns off of that.

      Alternatively, if you’d like a more formal, elegant look, you could dance Foxtrot at double it’s normal speed (your song is ~69 beats per minute; Foxtrot is normally danced to songs around 124 bpm).

      Hope that helps!

  16. Carol says

    Hi there. Getting married next year and neither of us can dance LOL. We want our first dance to be to “Forever Begins Tonight” by The McClymonts. I *think* its 6 beats? Dont know much about music either. What sort of dance should we do? We, *I*, really want it to be special and out of left field because everyone knows we cant dance hehehe.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Carol: This is a Waltz! So you’re right that the music is going 1-2-3, 4-5-6. It’s fast, so you might want to mostly do moves where you only step on counts 1 and 4 or do a modified Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm over 6 beats (instead of stepping on every beat). Your local dance teacher can help you with this! Hope you have a great time putting together your special dance!

  17. Tom Reedy says

    Hello. I’m having trouble figuring out which dance to do to “When Joanna Loved Me” by Tony Bennett and “These Arms of Mine” by Otis Redding.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Tom:
      It’s understandable that you’re having trouble with the Tony Bennett song—-it’s very slow (at least the version I know) and barely has a beat until almost 1 min into the song! The tempo is too slow for any “official” ballroom dance. However, you could do a lovely slow dance that uses/adapts moves from Foxtrot/Waltz, Nightclub Two Step and/or Blues dancing.

      The Otis Redding song is, technically, a fast (Viennese) Waltz [1-2-3, 4-5-6]. However, you could slow it down by doing moves where you only step on counts 1 and 4 (instead of every beat) or doing a modified Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm over 6 beats. I’ve helped many students create great dances to Otis Redding’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is” — also a Waltz, just a little slower than “These Arms of Mine.”

      Wishing you all the best in your wedding dance!

  18. Nancy says

    Hi what dance would you suggest for the Rod Stewart version of Forever Young. That’s the song we chose for the mother / son dance at my son’s wedding. Thank you!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Nancy: Hm, this depends on whether you plan to take a few dance lessons (or already know some ballroom dancing). If so, I’d recommend using moves from Rumba (minus the Latin styling). Alternatively, you could do a 4-count Hustle.

      However, if you don’t have dance experience and don’t plan to take lessons, I’d recommend keeping it simple and not do an “official dance”. Instead, just do a step-tap side basic and then add a spin or two.

      Hope that helps,

  19. Barbara g says

    What dance to use for you make me so very happy I was thinking waltz and part swing back to waltz any suggestions?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi: So sorry for the delay in responding.

      Which version of the song are you thinking: Blood, Sweat and Tears, Anton Ellis, or another?

      Since the song isn’t a waltz, you couldn’t waltz to it. However, I like your idea of switching dance styles between the verses and the choruses. Assuming you plan to dance to the Blood, Sweat and Tears version, East Coast Swing would work great during the choruses. As for the verses, I would just do “unofficial” slow dance. You could also do Foxtrot which would have a similar look to Waltz if that’s what you like. The tempo isn’t ideal for Foxtrot, so you’d have to try and see if it felt comfortable for you to do.

      Wishing you all the best! Let me know if you need any more help.

  20. Ryan says

    What’s a good dance for Danny’s Song for a first dance at a wedding. Listed 141bpm but don’t we just cut that in half for a slow dance??

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Ryan:

      This is a great song and is quite versatile. You could do a relaxed single-step East Coast Swing at regular tempo.

      But if you want a more traditional/slow first dance, Foxtrot (Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick figures) would be one option. Although the song is on the fast side for Foxtrot, so it might not feel relaxed enough for what you want.

      Otherwise I’d recommend a Blues dance/slow dance using a side-tap basic. And just like you said, you’d dance it half time (taking 8 counts for one side basic). Have fun!

  21. Chris Fitzgerald says

    Good afternoon. I respect your patience in answering the same question 100x with unique responses. So number 101, I’m getting married Saturday. Two months into our relationship, I showed me cards too early and said our first dance would be “Best of Me” by Anthony Hamilton. 3 years later and here we are. Of course we are using the song, for nothing else, sentimental reasons. Although a beautiful track, at 96 BPM, the tempo seems a little quicker than traditional first dance songs. Any advice?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Chris:

      This song is perfect for a first dance—-it’s romantic, got a good groove and is slow when it comes to songs in general. I actually have a wedding couple right now who are dancing to it! They like Latin dances so we’re dancing Bachata (a Latin-Caribbean dance) to it.

      But for you, and given that you have less than 2 days, I’d recommend a simple side basic (step-tap, step-tap). Then throw in a couple spins and you’ll be great. You got this!


  22. Gabriella says

    I have got a contemporary dance which needs a song. Do you have any suggestions because I am in panic mode thinking of one. There’s just two many.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Gabriella: Yes, there are soooo many songs. Alas, without knowing a lot more about you & your fiance, what kinds of music styles you like, what your contemporary dance is, etc., it’s impossible for me to make a suggestion.

      I encourage you to go with a song you both like with a tempo that feels easy with your contemporary dance. Fortunately, there are lots of recommended first dance song lists on the Internet to turn to if needed. Sorry I can’t be of more help.


  23. Phil Klann says

    What dance do you recommend for ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ by Zac Brown? My brother asked me to teach him a dance for the first dance of his daughter’s wedding. Help!

    • BrandeeS says

      Thanks for writing! Yes, you could dance Rumba to this song-—also Swing, Foxtrot or even Country Two Step.

      But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to do an “official” ballroom dance for wedding dances. Often using a simple basic (step-step or step-tap) and adding some turns from there is not only easier but also more forgiving, and therefore can sometimes be more fun than trying to learn an specific ballroom dance style.

      The other big factors to consider when choosing which dance to do depends on the experience level of the dancers and how much time they have/want to put into practicing the dance. 🙂

      Best of luck to you in helping your brother get ready for his father-daughter dance!

  24. Mary says

    Hi! I’m a total novice at dancing but looking to practice something to for a father daughter dance with my dad. I was thinking Petite Marie by Francis Cabrel but I’m not sure which dance styles and steps I should look to for inspiration. We’ll definitely be keeping things simple, but any suggestions would be so helpful!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Mary:

      Thanks for your question! I’d suggest Rumba–-steps like the Box, Box with Underarm Turn, etc. Another possibility is Nightclub Two Step, but most people find this dance too challenging for a simple father-daughter dance.

      I hope you have a wonderful father-daughter dance at your wedding.


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Torry:

      Fun song choice! While your song is not a swing song, it has a syncopated beat that would be a good match with the “triple step” from East Coast Swing. So you’d dance the East Coast Swing “Basic Step” without the rock step, the timing being 1&2, 3&4.

      Bachata (a popular dance from the Dominican Republic) would be another dance to look to for inspiration, as it’s “Side Basic” is basically a triple step with the addition of a tap step step at the end of each triple. In Bachata, the timing is 1-2-3-4, 5-6-7-8 (taps on 4 & 8) but for your song, I’d dance it like a Swing triple step: 1-&-2-&, 3-&-4-& (taps on the & counts after 2 & 4).

      I’d love to hear what you end up doing. Please come back and let us know!


  25. Chelsey C says

    What an awesome post! I’m more into contemporary dancing, but I’m trying to figure out some dances for my wedding at the end of August. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. I’m dancing to “Postcards from Italy” by Beirut for my first dance. This is 4-4 but is bouncy and has a clear 1-2,1-2 feel to it. The other song is a cover of “your gonna make me lonesome when you go” by bob Dylan. Please let me know what you think!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Chelsey:

      Glad you like this post! Here’s my suggestions for your 2 song options:

      Postcards from Italy by Beirut: You could go in several different directions with this song, depending on the look & feel you like best, and whether you want to keep it super simple or put a little more practice in. On the easier side, you could dance Rumba (e.g. Rumba Box step using a slow-quick-quick rhythm). If you want to do something a little more challenging and a bit showier, you could do a Cha Cha. If your dance floor is ~18ft x 18ft (or larger) and you want something more dramatic, an alternative would be Tango (ballroom style, not Argentine Tango). That said, this song is a little slow for Tango, so you’d need to take your time and not rush it.

      You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Bob Dylan cover: Darn, I wish you’d told me which cover version you’re thinking about. Covers can vary a lot in tempo and feel. For instance, the original by Bob Dylan is 110 beats per minute, yet the cover by Madeleine Peyroux is only 75 beats per minute (although it’s peppy instrumentation makes it feel double time: 150bpm).

      So to make a recommendation, I’d need to hear the actual cover. But if you were dancing to Madeleine Peyroux’s version, I’d say Foxtrot or East Coast Swing would be the best match. 🙂

      Hope that helps!


  26. Tony Bartlett says

    Hello Brandee, my daughter and I are doing a Father-Daughter Wedding dance and we love Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight (I used to whistle it when she was a kid!) We want to do a waltz to it (’cause it’s about the only dance I can manage) but it’s the wrong tempo. Is there any suggestion you can make about how to handle this music in a dance and in a relatively simple way? Many thanks!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Tony:

      Ah, so sweet to have a real connection to a song for your Father-Daughter dance (rather than picking something off from a list of common songs).

      This is a beautiful song, although the beat is very hard to hear and follow! If you hear music well, you could dance figures from Foxtrot that have a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm. This means you are stepping 3 times, which is the same as Waltz, so you can use pretty much any Waltz figure you know (Box step, Box with Underarm Turn, Progressive/Traveling, Whisks/5th Position Breaks, Twinkles, etc).

      If you and your daughter are challenged by the song’s beat, you could keep it simple with a side-tap, side-tap, dancing it with some sway to match the music. You could then travel around the floor using that same “step-tap” rhythm, as well as adding some spins.

      Hope that makes sense and gives you a good start.


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kylie:

      What a great song. The instrumentation changes but the song’s tempo actually stays at ~116 beats per minute all the way through. So while it may *sound* faster, the underlying beat remains the same, even during the upbeat-sounding choruses. You’d definitely want to do your big, fun moves during the choruses and save the quieter, simpler moves for the verses (i.e. the more mellow-sounding parts of the song).

      As for the dance style that best matches Fire and the Flood, you could use Rumba moves but dance them with a more casual, pop-song groove (instead of a traditional slow, sensuous Latin styling).

      However, I’d lean more toward Cha Cha, Swing or a 4-count Hustle, since the song is so peppy and dynamic. If you don’t want to learn 2 dance styles, you could use the dances I suggested through the whole song, dancing mellow vs. dynamic moves appropriate to the part of the song. Alternatively, you could start by dancing a side-tap basic and a simple spin during the very beginning of song (so some of your dance has real a romantic, intimate feel) then transition to Cha Cha, Swing or Hustle at the first chorus, using that for the remainder of the song.

      I’d love to hear what you decide to do and how it goes. Please do come back and let me know!


  27. Emma says

    Hey Brandee!

    Love your really thoughtful answers – thank you so much!

    I absolutely love the song Northern Wind by City and Colour and want to choreograph a dance to it, but not sure what to go for. Which style of dance would you suggest?


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Emma:

      Thanks for your kind words.

      What a wonderful song. It’s 3/4 or 6/8 time—-meaning its beats are in sets of 3, like Waltz. It’s too fast to dance on every beat…unless you already are an experienced Viennese Waltz dancer, 😉

      Instead I’d suggest dancing a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm. You’d step on count 1 (hold on counts 2, 3), then step Quick-Quick on 4, 5 and hold count 6. Then you can use any Waltz step, as well as any of Foxtrot’s Slow-Quick-Quick figures.

      I think you’ll be able to choreograph a lovely, romantic first dance using this minor modification to match the song!


  28. Patricia Huckabee says

    Our first song is “From the Ground Up” by Dan + Shay I think the tempo is a 4/4, and I am not sure how to dance to the song properly. What are you thoughts?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Patricia:

      Just like Emma (the previous person who asked a question), your song is written in 6/8 time. This means it feels like a Waltz. It’s very fast to dance on every beat so I’d suggest using a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm. In this case, you’d step on count 1 (hold on counts 2, 3), then step Quick-Quick on 4, 5 and hold count 6. Then you can use any Waltz step, as well as any of Foxtrot’s Slow-Quick-Quick figures.


  29. Jamie says

    Hi Brandee!
    My fiancé and I are getting married next summer. Our song choice is outside the common and more popular songs and we plan to coordinate a dance (neither of us are much of a dancer) and would greatly appreciate your input on the song and what style of dance is most appropriate….so we can incorporate it into our dance. Our song is “Never be ready” by Mat Kearney. I don’t know where to begin!
    Thanks so much!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Jaime:

      The song you’ve chosen is pretty versatile. While it’s not made for a particular style of dance, it’s tempo makes it easy to dance to.

      You could do a “Blues dance” basic (i.e. side step, tap, side step, tap; the count being 1-2-3-4) or a triple step basic (like the triples in East Coast Swing but without the rock step, the count is 1&2, 3&4). You could build spins and fancier moves off either.

      Alternatively, you could use a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm. In this case, I’d draw moves from Rumba and/or Foxtrot—-both dances that use this count and have moves that could be a good match for your song.

      Hope that helps!


  30. Trevor Prior says

    Hi Brandee
    My daughter is getting married at the end of August and wants JASON BLAINE – DANCE WITH MY DAUGHTER for the Father/Daughter dance. What style of dancing would you recommend for this song?
    I am a novice as far as ballroom goes but need to do it for her big day.
    Great post and helpful answers to other people queries
    Regards Trevor

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Trevor:

      This song is a fast Waltz (aka Viennese Waltz). It’s too fast to comfortably dance on every beat.

      Instead, I’d recommend keeping it easy by just stepping on each of the heavy beats (count 1’s in the music). This is called a Viennese Waltz Hesitation (aka a Balance Step). It can done side to side or forward & back. And if the dance floor is big enough—-and your daughter’s dress and shoes allow for it—-you could also travel using the same idea of stepping on every heavy beat (left, right, left, right) You can then add some spins.

      There are other things you can do but they’re more challenging and won’t give you much more bang for your buck. 😉

      Wishing you all the best,

  31. Kari says

    Hi Brandee,
    I am getting married in 2020 and my fiancé and I are planning on having our first dance to “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton. Do you have any suggestions for the type of dance that would work best with that song? Thank you! -Kari

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kari:

      For Blake Shelton’s song “God Gave Me You”, you actually have quite a few options!

      If you want a more romantic feel, you could do Nightclub Two Step. And while it’s too fast to do Rumba or Foxtrot, you could use those dances for inspiration as well. Alternatively, you could do a simple side basic–not an official dance style–(side-tap, side-tap, taking a full 8 counts) and build spins and other moves off of it.

      If you’re okay with a more upbeat style, I’d recommend East Coast Swing (step, step, rock step) or Country Two Step. The latter requires a bit of space, so I’d only suggest doing Country Two Step if your dance floor is about 18 x 18 feet or larger.

      Hope that helps!

  32. Michelle Hanenburg says


    I’ve been looking everywhere – what style of dance would you choose for The Greatest Showman’s “From Now On”? It has an accelerating beat, but I can’t figure it out. You actually answered one of my other favorites above : )

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Michelle:

      Wow, this song does present a bit of a challenge. Surprisingly, the tempo is about the same all the way through, there is just less instrumentation and his vocals hang on the beat in the beginning, making it sound slower (the “slow” part of the song may be ~5 beats per minute slower…very negligible).

      Anyhoo, the feeling of the song definitely changes! To match that, I’d suggest starting with one dance style that’s slow and romantic and then busting out into a more lively, upbeat style. For the first 2 min, you might try Rumba or Foxtrot (e.g. using a Box Step as your “basic”; rhythm is Slow-Quick-Quick). That said, this song is slower than Rumba or Foxtrot are usually danced. So you may want too keep it simple and just use a side-tap, side-tap as your basic.

      For the upbeat part of the song, it has such a marching beat, I’d actually recommend stepping on every beat (technically the dances that do this are Merengue and 4-count Hustle). While you can draw inspiration from Merengue and 4-count Hustle dance moves, you don’t have to limit yourself to these dances. Stepping on every beat will give you freedom to do lots of fun moves. A second choice option would be East Coast Swing (triple step, triple step, rock step).

      Hope that gives you some good ideas!! Let me know what you decide to do. 🙂

  33. Leslie Grafstrom says

    The father/daughter dance at our daughter’s wedding is “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw and we can’t figure out which dance works best with it. Help!

    Leslie Grafstrom

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Leslie:

      Yes, this song is a little tricky. It sounds slow but actually is pretty up tempo.

      Nightclub Two Step would be perfect, or a leisurely Country Two Step (CTS). However, these aren’t the easiest dances, so I’d only recommend ‘m if you already have some solid dance experience.

      Otherwise I’d just go with a simple side-tap basic.

      Hope that helps,

    • BrandeeS says

      Totally! This would be a fun song to East Coast Swing (or Lindy Hop) to. If you want to be more relaxed, I’d use a “single” rhythm: step, step, rock step. If you want to be more lively and are up for the challenge, you could dance it with a “triple rhythm”: triple step, triple step, rock step.

      Have fun!

  34. Bonnie says

    My daughter is getting married in Oct. She and my husband will be dancing to Unforgettable, the version with Natalie Cole and her father Nat King Cole. What dance for very novice dancer (actually he doesn’t dance) would you recommend? I was looking on YouTube to help with waltz but not sure if it works with this song. Any help is much appreciated.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Bonnie:

      This is a great song. Since it’s not a Waltz, the better way to go is with a simple 4-count side basic: step side (1), tap (2), step to the other side (3), tap (4).

      From this base, he can throw in a twirl or two for your daughter. Also, as long as her dress allows it, he could also travel this step a little around the dance floor by stepping diagonally forward (instead of straight to the side)

      Note: This song is slow, so the tendency will be to go faster than the music. So remind your husband to breathe and keep things slow and mellow. Pro tip: Be lazy with the taps. Keep the foot on the floor longer than you think before picking it up to tap.

  35. Margaret says

    Just stumbled across this post, loving the great advice! My fiancé and I were thinking of either ‘Can’t help falling in love’ (the Elvis version) or Taylor Swift’s song ‘Lover’ which are 6/8 and 12/8 respectively. We’re totally stumped on what dance to do – we don’t mind a closed position type of dance because we both think those styles of music match the kind of romantic feel we’re going for. We just don’t want the dance to be so slow it’s boring or so quick it’s difficult since I’m in a long dress!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Margaret:

      Can’t Help Falling in Love is very slow but it doesn’t have to be boring. 🙂 You have a few options for a “basic” step from which you can add spins and such. The first would be just shifting weight side to side, stepping on each beat—-not super exciting but it will feel natural.

      The next would be a side-tap basic–-you just have to go really slowly to match the music which may be hard to do.

      The third option would be using a Box step (from Foxtrot) with the rhythm Slow-Quick-Quick, or with numbers: 1-and-2. Since you’ll be taking 3 steps in only 2 beats of music, it may feel fast—-the key is to keep your steps SMALL.

      I’d pretty much recommend the same 3 options for the Taylor Swift song as it has a very similar beat.

      Wishing you all the best,

  36. Annika Flathmann says

    Hey Brandee,
    my fiancé and I are getting married on October 19th. We would like the whole party to be a very light-hearted affair and we´d love it, if people wanted to join us right after the opening dance. That´s why we chose “Come And Get Your Love” by Redbone. Sadly, we don´t really know what dance would be the right one? Would love to hear your thoughts!
    Thanks & much appreciation from Germany
    Annika & Mathias

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Annika:

      What a fun song!! You have a few options for a basic step. I’d recommend one of these 3:

      1. A simple side-tap (not an “official” partner dance style but it fits the song well and gives you flexibility to add various types of spins)

      2. East Coast Swing (triple step, triple step, rock step)—-search YouTube for videos of how to do this dance

      3. 4-count Hustle (similar to Swing but fewer steps so a bit simpler to do)—-search YouTube

      Have fun!


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Shannon:

      For Paul McCartney’s song “Calico Skies”, I’d suggest one of 3 options:
      1. Side-Tap Basic (plus spins and moves from it): This is an easy step and will feel relaxed with the beat of the song (you’re only taking 2 steps for every 4 beats of music)
      2. Slow-Quick-Quick steps from Foxtrot (such as the Box step): you’ll be dancing double time, taking 3 steps for every 2 beats of music, so it may feel too fast
      3. Triple Steps from Swing dancing: Just dance triple step, triple step without any rock steps. This is similar to option #2 in that you are taking 3 steps every 2 beats of music, the rhythm being Quick-Quick-Slow

      Hope that helps,

    • BrandeeS says

      You could dance Rumba to this song, although it’s a good deal slower than a standard Rumba.

      Nightclub Two Step (or a Blues/Fusion) would be the more common choice for a song of this tempo.

  37. Brandon Wiese says

    We are planning on using the song: “The wonder of you” by Villagers (its a cover of Elvis’s song). But I cannot figure out what type of dance this would be. Could you point me in the right direction?

    • BrandeeS says

      Fun song! The song is too slow to use a standard ballroom dance. However, there are several ways you could dance to this, pulling from and modifying from different dances. I’d recommend taking lessons with a professional dance teacher who could help you out.

      If you’re not able to take lessons, I suggest using a simple side-tap basic. From there you can do spins and other moves.

      Hope that helps!

  38. Catherine says

    For the Mother son dance , happening in 3 weeks, we picked “Blue Skies” by Willy Nelson. I had lessons for my daughter’s wedding 3 years ago. But haven’t danced a step since then. Can you suggest which dance style I should brush up on ( with the help of you tube videos ) for this song? My son and I are 3000 miles apart he is west coast , I am east coast. So we will have little time to practice together . He is a good dancer… it’s me I am worried about

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Catherine:

      Since your son will be leading, I recommend asking him what he plans to dance because who knows what he’ll do!!!

      However, if you want a suggestion for what dance for both of you to learn to go with this song, East Coast Swing (step-step-rock step) is a good choice as it’s a jazz/swing song. Alternatively, if you want the dance to have a mellow feel rather than an upbeat one, a side step-tap basic (slow dance style) would also work.

      Wishing you all the best!

  39. Rochelle says

    Hi there!
    Wondering what dance my partner and I could do to Panic! At the Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor” it feels very waltz like.

    • BrandeeS says


      Hm, this song isn’t a perfect fit for any dance, mostly due to its tempo. That said, I’d recommend looking to Rumba, Foxtrot or Nightclub Two Step.


  40. Tate says

    What is the best dance to do to the song “Favourite Ex” by Maisie Peters? The song is so beautiful that I want do dance to it, but am not quite sure what fits.


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Tate:

      This song is a fast Waltz. The official ballroom dance that would be danced to it is Viennese Waltz—-it’s a challenging but beautiful dance.

      All the best,

  41. Calvin Morris says

    Hi Brandee

    Been reading the posts and getting some good ideas. Father daughter dance coming up and we have chosen Nat King Coles “Let there be love” it’s not too long at just over 2 minutes and a clear heat but be grateful for any suggestions on an appropriate dance style for this?

  42. Meloney Peratis says

    Hi I am getting ready for my wedding. The only dance we both know is the rumba which is perfect. However, we only know older songs and wondering if you know 5 current song that is a rumba. I have trouble finding songs and identifying the beat. Could you help me?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Meloney:

      Thanks for writing! There are several modern songs (i.e. in the last 5+ years) that work for a Rumba first dance. Here are a few songs off the top of my head below to help you get started:

      All of Me by John Legend (this one might feel a bit too fast)
      I Found You by Alabama Shakes
      Lovesong by Adele
      The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
      Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray
      Everything by Michael Buble

      Look for a song that’s approx 105-125 beats per minute—-and of course, has a beat that feels right when you dance your Rumba steps.

      Let me know what song you find!


  43. Gillian says

    Hi Brandee – we are looking at dancing to Simple by Florida Georgia line for our wedding… I’m thinking a Foxtrot would suit the timing but wondering what other options we could use?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hey Gillian:

      Thanks for visiting. What a fun song!

      Hm, Foxtrot might be tricky. Foxtrot is usually danced to music ~125 beats per minute (bpm). This song is 200 bpm! You could dance it half time, but I think you’d find it felt too slow for the music.

      Here are my suggestion for other dance options:

      If you’re beginner dancers and/or want to keep it simple, I’d suggest East Coast Swing using the step-step-rock-step rhythm (not triple steps). It will fit the song and be relatively easy to keep up with its fast pace. A second option, not quite as fitting but would still work, is Cha Cha.

      If you’re more experience dancers and/or are up for a challenge, I’d suggest Country Two Step. It’s not the easiest dance, especially at this tempo, but it would be fun and match the music well!

      Good luck! Hope your dance goes great!

  44. Molly says

    Hi Brandee –

    Thanks so much for this helpful information. My fiancée and I love the song Touching Heaven by Johnnyswim. It’s quite slow but we’re having a good time swaying to it! Any suggestions for particular styles I should be looking to for inspiration? Or steps to liven it up?

    Thank you so much!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Molly:

      If you were coming to me for dance lessons, I’d customize moves that draw from a wide range of dances but are modified to work for this song.

      But since I can only give you brief advice via text, I’d say you could look at Rumba and Nightclub Two Step. Both use a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm which would work with your song. You could also look at Foxtrot steps that use Slow-Quick-Quick (such as a Box step, Twinkles, etc). 🙂

      Hope that helps,

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Hannah:

      This is a fun song you could do a lot with, however it’s not a perfect fit for any official dance. You could start with a simple step-tap side to side as your basic and build from there. Dance moves with a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm would work well. Dances which use that rhythm include Rumba, Salsa, Bachata, Nightclub Two Step and some Foxtrot steps. Use those as inspiration for some moves!


  45. Emilie says

    Hi Brandee,
    What are the best dances for “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne and “Beautiful Day” by Marie and the redCat”? Thanks so much!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Emilie:

      For “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, I’d just use a simple side-tap basic (b/c it’s too fast for Nightclub Two Step and too slow for many other dances). An alternative that likely will feel too fast is using Slow-Quick-Quick figures from Rumba or Foxtrot (such as a Box Step). You’d dance them double time (a Slow-Quick-Quick in 2 beats instead of the usual 4 beats).

      For “Beautiful Day” by Marie and the redCat, I’d recommend East Coast Swing (with a single step, not a triple step)! It would match the swing style of this song (plus there’s not many dances you can do to a song this fast). 🙂

      Hope that helps!

  46. Lisa Crawford says

    Hi! We are planning a Valentine’s Family Dance to try to teach the kids some basic steps. What style of dance would you recommend for “Catch a Falling Star” by Perry Como, “Alright, Okay, You Win” by Peggy Lee, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” by Ella Fitzgerald and “Danke Schon” by Wayne Newton? Thank you!

    • BrandeeS says


      Sounds like a fun party. Here are my recommendations:

      Catch a Falling Star: Foxtrot, East Coast Swing or potentially Cha Cha
      All the Others: East Coast Swing (single step)

  47. Kathy says

    What type of dance would one do to Cherish by Madonna. I know it’s a shuffle, but what I’m seeing as far as shuffle dances seem to fast or not quite right for this song. Thanks for your help!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kathy:

      You could do a lot to this song! My first choice would be East Coast Swing—-it matches the fun, upbeat nature of this song and gives you a lot of freedom. If you want a more formal look, Foxtrot or Rumba would also work well.

      While not as good a fit, if you have a particular affinity for Disco, you could do a 4-count Hustle; or for Country dancing, you could do Country Two Step.

      Hope that helps!

  48. Josie Coakley says

    Hi, I’m looking to do a father daughter dance to I’ll be there for you by jess glynne. We want to get some dance lessons but arnt sure what genre or type we should be looking for what type of dance would best suit this song please? Thanks for you help

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Josie:

      This song’s tempo makes it a bit too fast for one dance, yet too slow for others. My advice is to throw out the idea of a ballroom/official dance and instead use step-tap side basic (4 beats)—from that you can do some spins and other moves. Even easier, you could just step on every beat (as is done in Merengue)—the upside is you’ll have a lot of freedom to do whatever you want; the possible downside is that it’s very casual (if you’re wanting a father-daughter dance with more gravitas).

      The other option is to use a Box Step (Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm—taking 4 beats of music) as your basic, then add other moves from Foxtrot &/or Rumba (which use a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm). The song is slower than either of these are danced to, but if you and your dad can hear music and have some natural groove, you could make it work! 🙂

      Wishing you all the best,

  49. Karin says

    Hi Brandee
    I want our first dance to be Lover, the version by Tailor Swift and Shawn Mendez, or She, by Jen Foster. What dance style would fit best? Thanks.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Karin:

      For Lover by Taylor Swift, I’d recommend Waltz. The song is written in 6/8 time, which means it sounds Waltz-y even though it’s not a Waltz. You’d dance Waltz steps using a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm instead of 1-2-3 rhythm.

      For She by Jen Foster, I’d recommend just doing a “made up” dance using a side-tap basic, building moves and turns off that. If you want to stick to an “official” dance style, East Coast Swing would be a good fit (if you’re okay with a more upbeat, bouncy-looking dance rather than one that looks more romantic/slow dancey). Rumba is another possibility, however the song is very slow for Rumba so might be hard to pull off.

      Wishing you all the best,

  50. Brandon Adams says

    Hi My name is brandon and i am currently a ballroom dancer in high school. I am fairly new but i am in charge of choreographing a dance. I chose Come and Get Your Love by redbone. I was thinking rumba but couldnt tell. The bpm is 105. What do you think?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Brandon:

      Congrats on learning ballroom dancing and taking on the challenge of choreographing a dance!

      Yes, I think Rumba would be a good choice. However, the song is a quite slow, so the dancers will need to be mindful of not speeding up. Keeping their knees & ankles soft, remembering to breathe and really getting into the *groove* of the song should help. 🙂 You could also speed the song up by 5-10% using a free app (like AnyTune) that won’t change the sound of the singer’s voice.

      Actually, a better choice might be Cha Cha! This dance matches the song well and the extra steps will fill up the time.

      Hope you have a lot of fun whatever you decide!

  51. Pantelis Anastasiou says


    We are a couple of biginners and we love very much the song “a thousand years” by Christine Perri. We would love to dance this song as our wedding song…. Basically, we have started dance lessons (Waltz) lately and we are wondering if this song can be danced as a Waltz!

    • BrandeeS says


      Yes indeed. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri is a fast Waltz (closer to the speed of Viennese rather than Slow Waltz). Since this faster pace can be rather challenging, I’d recommend dancing a modified Waltz. Use a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm. Instead of stepping 6 times in 6 beats, you’d step just 3 times: 1 (hold 2) &3, 4 (hold 5) &6.

      Have a great time!


  52. Arivor says

    What is the easiest way to show someone how to follow the beat of the music they are dancing to? When my wife and I are dancing in the “have fun with it” style… I’m not even sure if we’re dancing to the same music. I’m actually rather impressed that she can dance so totally off-beat… I can’t do it, not sure if you have ever tried to… I can last a few seconds before dropping back in sync. Do you think that structured dance lessons would help her get in sync with the music? I would really just be happy to see her actually follow the beat of what are listening to. Thanks in advance!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Joseph:

      You’re not alone in having a partner who cannot follow the beat. And yes, for partner’s that can hear the music, it’s incredibly hard to dance off beat. This leads to the dilemma you’re having of disjointed dancing.

      Unfortunately, there’s no quick, easy way to teach being on beat. Yes, there may be a few individuals that can catch on pretty fast, but usually it’s a slow process that requires the person to practice both alone and with someone who can help them know when they’re on and off beat. Since it takes some time and effort, it’s best if the person *wants* to learn to hear and move to music.

      Yes, I’d recommend doing some lessons with a qualified dance teacher. Teachers have listening practices, rhythm games and simple movement exercises and know how to pace and modify the level of challenge to make it fun, build confidence and success. Maybe even more important: a teacher is a neutral party (i.e., not a significant other with a vested interest their partner “getting” it).

      I’ll just share a quick success story about a married couple I worked with recently. The wife was a natural dancer, able to move on beat with any song. The husband had no idea what a beat was, let alone where it was. Even without music, he wasn’t able to march in a continuous rhythm to my count. But by the end of our third lesson (with at-home practice in between lessons), he could find the beat of a song 95% of the time and stay dancing on that beat about 70% of the time. And he actually began to know/feel when he was off the music!

      Wishing you and your wife all the best in your rhythm and dance adventures!

  53. Breana Johnson says

    Hi Brandee,
    My fiancé and I want to dance to Wonderful Tonight for our first dance at our wedding. What type of dance would you recommend for that?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Breana:

      I recently worked with a wedding couple dancing to your song, Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” The tempo of this song isn’t a perfect fit for any official dance style. That said, Rumba is one dance that could work–you will just be dancing slower than usual.

      Another option would be to use “triple steps” (as done in say, East Coast Swing) using the rhythm Quick-Quick-Slow (stepping 1-2-3 and holding on count 4). Done with soft knees and ankles at this slow speed, you can make your triple steps soft and flowy to match the mood of the music. Then build turns and moves off of this basic.

      Another alternative is a simple slow dance, shifting weight side to side slowly (step on beat 1, hold beat 2; shift to the other foot on beat 3, hold beat 4; repeat). Since you’re just stepping every other beat, you’ll have a lot of flexibility to do turns and other moves just maintaining this rhythm.

      I recommend finding a local dance teacher to help you out. Or, given the current coronavirus shelter-in-place and social distancing, let me know if you’d like to do an online private lesson with me. I’ve been doing these with several couples the last few weeks. While it’s not as good as being in person, it works surprisingly well!

  54. Emily says


    My fiance and I want to dance to How Sweet is it (to be Loved By You) By James Taylor for our first dance. What type of dance would you recommend?

    Thank you! This blog was very helpful!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Emily:

      So happy my blog was helpful to you!

      How Sweet It Is by James Taylor lends itself to a few different dances. If you want to do an “official style”, Rumba works well (with a fun, relaxed feel rather than Latin styling!). East Coast Swing is great too. If you already know Swing, you could use a triple step. If not, I recommend keeping it easy using a single step (note: the song is fairly slow for single steps, so you need to groove it and keep your feet from speeding up).

      And if you don’t care about official styles, I’d recommend a side-tap basic and building turns and moves off of that. This feels really natural for the tempo of this song and will give you a lot of freedom.

      Have fun!

  55. Nancy Stamm says


    My son and I have chosen Dolly Parton’s From Here to the Moon for the Mother-Son dance. What is the best dance for this song?

    Thank you,

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Nancy:

      Thanks for writing. This song is not an easy one to dance to! Firstly, it’s unusual in that it’s written in 6/8 timing. This means it sounds Waltz-y even though it isn’t a Waltz.

      If you both were experienced dancers, I’d recommend dancing Waltz to it. However, it’s faster-than-Waltz tempo makes that rather challenging for a beginner, and even intermediate dancers. Yet, it’s not so fast for you to be able to modify it into a single step (hesitation) rhythm, nor a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm.

      Honestly, I’m a bit stumped on what to recommend that will actually look and feel comfortable. If you have good balance and control, as well as the ability to hear the beat well in this song, I’d suggest a simple side-tap basic (it’ll be very slow). If you are in shape, pretty coordinated and okay with the look of a faster moving dance (where you aren’t talking with your son), I’d say try doing a Country Waltz (not Ballroom Waltz)——that is, you shuffle your feet in a step-together-together pattern to the 1-2-3 rhythm.

      Wishing you all the best,

  56. Leslie says

    Hi Brandee!

    I am not in your area of the country to take lessons directly, however, trying my best to work with the basics I know, at this time of quarantine, and put them to some different musical stylings. I would appreciate if you would be willing to offer guidance, please and thank you.

    What type of dance would go to this song?


    Night club 2 Step? Bachata?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Leslie:

      What a great song! The dance that’s perfect for it is actually West Coast Swing.

      The next two dances that would work well are Blues dancing or Hustle (aka disco).

      It’s too fast to work well for Nightclub Two Step and too slow for Bachata—-although you could dance Bachata at a slow pace. Likewise, you could dance a slow Cha Cha or even Rumba to it.

      Hope that helps!

  57. Klancy says

    Hi! My mom and I love to dance in the kitchen, so We’re enjoying your site and this article, in particular, is very helpful! Thank you! But I can’t figure out two songs “Forever and ever, amen” and “Deeper than the holler” both by Randy Travis.
    Can you help us with those? Thank you!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Klancy:

      How great that you two dance in the kitchen!

      “Forever and Ever, Amen” is a classic Country Two Step. Alas, that dance travels around the room, so requires a lot of space. Instead I’d recommend a dance known as Arizona Two Step, aka Rhythm Two Step. It’s basically a modification of Country Two Step to fit into smaller spaces (so people can dance to country music in smaller bars, etc). There are some great instructional videos on YouTube by a teacher Cal Wodrowski, user name “callengw”. (You could also dance a fast East Coast/Country Swing to it (step, step, rock-step), but given how fast it is, you’d probably need to be an intermediate or advanced Swing dancer.)

      “Deeper than the Holler” is slower. You could dance a leisurely Country Two Step or Arizona/Rhythm Two Step to it. East Coast/Country Swing works great as well—and the tempo works well for more beginning dancers.

      Have fun!

  58. Marriedsoon says

    Hey 🙂
    First and foremost I want to thank you for this really helpful post ! *thumbs up*

    My girlfriend and I are getting married soon and we have not yet decided to what song we want to dance to.
    Could you help us by pointing out what kind of dance style would fit to the following potential candidates:
    a) Everlong – Foo Fighters
    b) The Fear you won´t fall – Joshua Radin
    c) Sky full of Stars – Coldplay
    d) You´ll never walk alone – Gary and the Pacemakers (we do not consider this as our first dance, but maybe something waaay later)
    d) Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

    Thank you again, this time in advance,

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi there:

      Wow, you’ve got a lot of songs to choose from! Other than Everlong, all your other song choices have that glide-across-the-floor Waltz feel, even if they aren’t Waltzes. Here are my dance suggestions for each song:

      Everlong by Foo Fighters: East Coast Swing (step-step-rock step) would work well
      The Fear You Won’t Fall by Joshua Radin: You’re right, this is a fast Waltz. So Viennese Waltz (or a modified version) would be perfect
      Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay: This isn’t a Waltz but you could certainly make your steps feel Waltzy, either using a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm or stepping on every beat to mimic a hesitation rhythm from Viennese Waltz. And I love your idea of going into Disco Fox moves later in the song!!!
      You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gary & the Pacemakers: It sounds like this is written in 6/8 timing, so it has that Waltz feel even though it isn’t a Waltz. So dancing Waltz moves using a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm would work well. Or you could just do a simple “slow dance” using a side-tap basic and then building from there.
      Chasing Cars: While it’s not a Waltz, this song is so flowy that again Waltz steps danced with a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm would match the music well.

      I hope that helps. I’m confident you will have a wonderful first dance. Congrats on getting married!


  59. Dan says

    Hi Brandee, just wanted to say how awesome it is that you’re so responsive to all the questions! I learned a lot about dance theory just reading through them (having never taken formal dance education, I’m kind of just figuring out the “rules” by watching). My fiancee and I just moved from SF and are bummed we can’t come check out your classes.

    So I have an odd question which I can’t find answers to anywhere else so far – we are particularly fond of 6/8 time songs and we’re practicing a slow-quick-quick box step, because it seems waltzy like you have mentioned, but sometimes I’m intuitively tempted to switch to a different footwork mid-song, like SQQ to a two step. Is that heretical and ill-advised? It seems natural since we’re staying in sync with the heavy beats. Maybe it’s because 6/8 lends itself to both patterns having a bit of a hybrid time signature? I probably should just stick to one for the duration of the song but it would be fun to improvise and make it a little more spontaneous. My fiancee isn’t fond of my idea but maybe it’s because I’m not doing a great job as a lead communicating or prepping her for the intended mid-song changes. Any suggestions on how to better do that?

    If my idea isn’t completely ridiculous, could you even push it further to switch from a Viennese waltz on the 123 456 123 456 to a 2 count on the 1 and 4? Apologies if my nomenclature makes little sense – my dance training naivety is to blame! Appreciate all you do for us clueless aspiring dancers out there!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Dan:

      Ah, thanks so much for your kind praise and appreciation. Sounds like you have more dance and music talent than you think, because the questions you asked are sophisticated and show great creative thinking!

      If by “a two step” you mean stepping once on beat 1 and again on beat 2 (basically, stepping every beat which could also be thought of as the “heavy beat” in a 6/8 song), then YES, you can definitely do that! Mixing Slow-Quick-Quick (SQQ) and step-step within the same song not only works, but it also gives you freedom to flaunt your musicality—-parts of a song may feel more flowy and call for SQQ, while others may inspire the step-step.

      I encourage you to improvise. That said, you probably want to start by dancing the entire song using just one rhythm, then dancing the entire song again sticking with the second rhythm. Focus on practicing your leading and following skills, and just getting more dancing under your belt. I suggest that you practice improvising on your own: dance your part of the moves you know, practicing switching rhythms. This will allow you to get better at deciding in advance that you want to switch and developing the coordination to do that. Once *your* mind and body know what they’re doing, it’ll be sooooo much easier to successfully communicate the changes to your partner.

      And if switching between rhythms is still rocky when dancing with your fiancé, then you could both agree in advance when and where the rhythm changes will happen. Especially if this is for your first dance, when you’ll be in front of wedding guests and might be nervous, this will give your fiancé much more peace of mind!

      Finally, yes, if the song isn’t too fast, you can mix a regular Viennese Waltz (instead of the modified SQQ) with the “two step” (stepping on the heavy beats). However, with most 6/8 songs this is difficult because the speed at which you’d need to dance Viennese Waltz is super fast—-you’d have to step 6 times in 2 beats of music, instead of only 3 times in 2 beats of music when dancing SQQ (which is why SQQ works so well).

      Dan, you’re off to a great start. The way you’re thinking and how quickly you’re understanding things makes me feel confident you have the ability to become an awesome dancer and bring your fiancé along with you!

      Have fun, and congrats on your upcoming wedding!


  60. Andrea says

    Hello Brandee

    So appreciate you taking all that time to answer the comments and many questions of wedding couples.
    Got one for you too 😉
    We will be dancing at our wedding to Stu Larsen “I will be happy and hopefully you will be too”.
    I read your full post but somehow still have a very hard time figuring out the counts and suitable dance to the song… :/ even though I have danced a lot in my life – lately mostly swing dance (lindy hop)
    could you help me out?

    Thank you so so much!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Andrea:

      Thanks for your words of appreciation—-happy to help folks out!

      If you want to do an official dance style, Foxtrot would be a great fit. Your song is the traditional tempo of and has the easygoing, swing-y feel of Foxtrot. Foxtrot is easiest to do on larger dance floors, like 18 x 18 feet (or bigger). That said, you could probably make it work on a floor as small as 14 x 14 feet, especially if you stick with the Slow-Quick-Quick figures in Foxtrot (such as the Box Step and Twinkle) that don’t travel much.

      Another option would be East Coast Swing using a single-time rhythm (ie, step, step, rock step)——a dance you already know! This song is on the slow side for a single-time swing but if you danced triple steps, your movement would look too upbeat and fast for this quiet, relaxed-sounding song. But if you’re ok with a more casual-looking first dance, a leisurely swing would be sweet (and doesn’t require as much floor space——if that’s an issue).

      Hope that helps!


  61. Cathleen says


    Getting married this October. We are thinking Taylor Swift Lover or John Legend and Lindsey Stirling All of me. What dances would you suggest for those songs?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Cathleen:

      Thanks for writing. I’ve given recommendations for Taylor Swift’s Lover (see Sept 13, 2019).

      John Legend’s All of Me (as well as the duet version) is a bit tricky because it’s actually kinda fast! I’d recommend Foxtrot or Rumba.

      Have fun,

  62. Nina says

    Hi there! We will be getting married in August. We are thinking about doing an instrumental version of “Jenny of Oldstones” or any other instrumental songs from “Game of Thrones” like “Light of the Seven”. Do you have any recommendations for us? Are we right to assume that “Jenny” is a slow waltz? What about “Light of the Seven”? Thank you!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Nina:

      Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

      What a unique *and* challenging song choice in Jenny of Oldstones. While it kind of sounds like a Waltz, it’s actually 4/4 time (or 3/8 time depending on the sheet music you look at). Either way, you can’t dance a Waltz to it (1-2-3)—-however, you can make it look like a Waltz by dancing Slow-Quick-Quick Foxtrot figures. That said, Jenny of Oldstones is slow, and *very* slow for Foxtrot. Unless you’ve really got your heart set on this song *and* plan to take dance lessons with a qualified dance teacher, I recommend choosing another more-danceable song.

      Light of the Seven will definitely be easier to dance to. It too is 4/4 time but the tempo is faster, so will work nicely with Foxtrot Slow-Quick-Quick figures (as well as non-official moves and dramatic gestures).

      Have fun putting together your choreography!


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Natalie:

      The fact that you couldn’t find your song in any of the comments is a good sign you’ve chosen something unique!

      Next to Me by Emeli Sandé has a great groove. It feels uptempo but is actually on the slow side. The official dance style it matches best is West Coast Swing. But unless you’re already both experienced with that dance, I wouldn’t bother—-you’d have to put in a lot of time just to look decent (it’s such a challenging dance).

      Instead, I think you’ll enjoy yourselves more and look better using a step-tap side basic (matching the song’s Soul/R&B style) and building turns and moves from there. Look at West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing and Blues dancing moves for inspiration–simplifying and modifying them to work for you.

      Hope that helps! I foresee your guests will really enjoy your first dance to this fun song!


  63. Natalie says

    Hi Brandee,

    thank you for this very interesting and helpful page! I read through most of the comments but couldn’t find our song.

    What can we dance to Emeli Sandé “Next to Me?“

    Thank you so much for your help!

  64. michael says


    For a father daughter wedding dance should we do a slow two step to “Daddy dance with me” by Krystal Keith.

    Thanks for your informative Site.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Michael:

      If you want to take lessons in an official dance style, Foxtrot could work nicely for this song. I say “could” because this song *sounds* slower than it actually is (it’s 130 beats per minute). So if you try Foxtrot and it doesn’t feel like the best match–or if you don’t care about doing a official dance style–I’d recommend a simple side basic (step-tap, step-tap) and build some underarm turns for her from that.

      And if your daughter’s wedding’s dance floor is large enough (and she can walk backward in her dress and shoes), it’d be nice to travel around the dance floor. If you do Foxtrot, it’s Basic step travels. If you opt for the side basic I suggested, you can simply take walking steps–you forward and her backward–in sets of 4 (that way you’ll match the music).

      Hope that helps and that you fully enjoy this special moment with your daughter.


  65. Jaime says

    You have such great ideas and I wondered what you would suggest for Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together? Thanks so much.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Jaime:

      Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. A classic wedding song, Let’s Stay Together by Al Green lends itself to a few options depending on the look/style you want.

      For a natural-looking, romantic dance (i.e. that doesn’t look like you took dance lessons), I’d just do a simple side basic (step-tap, step-tap) and build some nice turns and fun moves off of that.

      For a more structured romantic dance, Rumba works nicely (Box, Box with Underarm Turn, Cross-Over Breaks, etc). Of course, instead of the traditional Latin hip movements, you’d just dance the Rumba figures with a casual groove that matches the song. Alternatively, if you have a larger dance floor and want to take up the space, you could dance Foxtrot, just the Slow-Quick-Quick figures (like Rumba, there’s the Box & Box with Underarm Turn, but also Progressive Basic/Traveling, Twinkles, Progressive Twinkles and more)

      And if you want something more casual, fun, upbeat-feeling dance, consider a 4-count Hustle (rock-step, step, step).

      Hope that helps. Come back and tell me what you decide to do!


  66. Jolene says

    What kind of dance can you dance to for Blake Shelton’s “Mine would be you”?
    Thanks so much 🙂

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Jolene:

      You have a few options for this song depending on the look you want and whether you plan to take dance lessons.

      If you’re up for investing in learning some official steps, I’d recommend either Nightclub Two Step or Foxtrot (the Slow-Quick-Quick figures).

      If you want to keep it simple, you could just dance a side basic (step-tap, step-tap), taking 8 counts per side basic. This will be romantic and slow. If you find yourself speeding up or that it’s hard to go this slow, you could just shift weight from one foot to the other (2 beats per step)—-a super simple slow dance. Of course, you wouldn’t be doing this basic all the time—-you’d build spins and moves from either of these basics, just returning to the basic as your “home base”.

      Have a great time putting together your dance!


  67. Caesar says

    Hey Brandee, I’ve read so many of your dance suggestions and I think I got one that you havent touched on. I was trying to work on a dance for the song “Planetarium” from La La Land. Which for the most part is in 3/4 as their waltz dancing suggests. But I noticed in the sheet music it also goes to 5/4?? How would you dance that in waltz?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Caesar:

      Wow, good question! I assume you’re choreographing a routine for a performance or wedding dance? Fortunately the 5/4 bits in this song seem to be brief and happen during the long introduction when it’d be difficult to dance Waltz figures yet anyways.

      I’d recommend not bothering doing official dance steps during the 5/4 parts. Instead, do “filler” choreography such as
      • A moment of dramatic pause
      • A dip
      • Break apart (perhaps both doing solo turns or just the Follower does a free spin)
      • Walk around together in a clockwise circle without any particular timing (right sides toward each other, various options for what your arms do). 

      If you want to stick with official figures, a fleckerl might work or perhaps a picture line (Oversway, Same Foot Lunge, etc). Alternatively, you could dance a usual figure and shorten it by one beat or hold the extra two beats—a balance step would work for either.

      The more familiar you can get with the timing and hearing count 1 in the song, the easier it will be to just choreograph the piece the way you’d like, then stretch out or speed up musically to make it fit.

      Here’s wishing you all the best in dancing to this beautiful but tricky song!

  68. Anne-Marie says

    Hi Brandee, I found your post very interesting! I love the idea of fusion in any genre.

    This may seem an odd question, but here goes! I’m writing s play where two characters from the late Victorian era dance to My Boy Lollipop (1960’s ska) I want them to dance in a style fitting to the period but have no idea (I am no dancer). It needs to be energetic but graceful (lots of twirling!) Any help would be much appreciated!

    • BrandeeS says

      Wow, sounds like an interesting play!

      I’d recommend Polka, a very popular Victorian dance. Many of the Victorian dances were done to 3/4 time Waltz music but Polka is 4/4 time like My Boy Lollipop. The tempo of the song will work well (actual Polkas are often faster but your actors will thank you for this slower pace). Polka bounds and turns around the room with exuberance, so will totally fit the bill for your scene.

      Here’s wishing you all the best with choreographing a dance and producing your play!


  69. Shannon says

    My fiance and I will be using Andrew Lloyd Webber’s All I Ask of You (specifically the movie version) for our first dance. If I’m doing my research right, a waltz is not the best option for this song. Various sheet music sources suggest a 4/4 time signature and the tempo as “andante”. Could a foxtrot or rumba be appropriate?

    We’re unable to get classes due to COVID. I have experience with creating choreo for baton/jazz routines so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to at least try to take crack at DIYing a wedding dance using the scant amount that I already know and the resources that I have available. I’m just having trouble getting pointed in the right direction as far as picking a style is concerned.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Shannon:

      Way to go on jumping into choreographing your dance on your own. Yes, Foxtrot would work nicely. It’s graceful, flowy character will match your song better than Rumba. Use the Slow-Quick-Quick figures of Foxtrot, as the song is really too slow for Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick (plus the Slow-Quick-Quick figures are more Waltzy).

      If you end up wanting some help, I’m available for virtual private dance lessons via Zoom, FaceTime or Skype! Otherwise, have a great time creating a lovely dance to this song!


  70. Patrick says

    Hi Brandee!
    Thank you for taking the time to answer so many song/dance questions over the years.
    The Engelbert Humperdinck version of Release Me (https://youtu.be/gB-szamMr6s) is giving me trouble; could you help me with what dance it suits? We think it’s a rumba, but it doesn’t quite feel right.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Patrick:

      Fun song! It’s too slow for Rumba. It has a swing/country feel, but is also too slow for those dances.

      I’m not sure when/where you’re planning to dance to this song. But assuming it’s just for fun (not for a competition or big performance), I’d recommend just doing a slow dance, using a side-tap basic. Alternatively, you could dance a “triple step” basic (like an East Coast Swing basic without the rock step).

      Hope that helps,

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Riley:

      I’ve actually choreographed for a couple who danced to Come What May at their wedding. I had them dance Foxtrot which worked beautifully (this song is just slightly faster than standard Foxtrot tempo). I encourage you to take liberties rather than be bound by official Foxtrot steps for your entire dance.


  71. Brianna says

    Brandee, thanks for all the info! It’s very helpful.

    My fiance and I are trying to waltz to “I’m with you” by Vance joy – but I’m not sure if that’s the right timing for the song. What would you suggest for this song?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Brianna: Your song is in 4/4 time, hence not being able to dance Waltz (which is 3/4 time). However, you *can* dance Foxtrot using figures with a Slow-Quick-Quick rhythm (SQQ). Foxtrot looks a lot like Waltz, so you’ll be able to emulate the feel of Waltz while fitting the timing to the music. For example, a Turning Box or a Box with Underarm Turn.

      Note that this song is 80 beats/minute (instead of the ~128 beats/minute of Foxtrot). So instead of taking 4 full beats for SQQ, so you’ll be dancing it “double time”, taking only 2 beats for each SQQ (i.e. each Slow is 1 beat and each Quick is half a beat).

      If you are brand new to dancing, the stepping for this may be too fast for you to keep up or feel comfortable. In that case, you might try dancing triple steps (an East Coast Swing Basic without the rock step) using a 1&2, 3&4 rhythm. It’s the same number of steps as the Foxtrot but the triple steps are easier to dance at a faster pace than say a Box.

      I hope that makes sense. Wishing you all the best!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kirstan:

      Wow, this song has a lot of drama and starts like a power ballad but then goes hard rock/light metal. Since it’s not a typical first dance song, I’d be curious to know about your relationship to the song and how you want your dance to be. For example, you might just want to do a straight-ahead, romantic first dance to this non-traditional song. Or maybe there’s a story–maybe the two of you jokingly did air guitar to this song all the time when first dating–so you want to do a somewhat humorous, rockin’, non-traditional dance.

      I’m going to assume you are envisioning a more traditional first dance. I think your best bet is to use a simple side basic (side-tap, side-tap) as your home base (build spins and other moves off of it). This will provide you flexibility *and* the look of it will better match the song than say Foxtrot or Rumba. However, if you are okay with a more upbeat, less romantic-looking dance, the song’s tempo is perfect for East Coast Swing (step, step, rock-step).

      Hope that helps,

  72. Kirstan says

    Hi Brandee

    Thanks for coming back to me, we will definitely look at trying these!

    I did have visions of a more traditional dance, maybe with a lift if he can do it! But mostly being able to look elegant while dancing to a mixed song.

    There is an acoustic version to this song, but there is just very little movement to it… And I do love dusting off the air guitar!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Kirstan:

      You could definitely do an elegant, more traditional dance with a lift (then bust out into some surprise air guitar if you’re so inclined). I actually worked with a couple where we did that–their guests loved it! You can check it out on my wedding dance video page—-scroll down near the bottom to Whitney and Mark’s medley.

      Happy choreographing!

  73. abby says

    Hi Brandee

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading through all of your suggestions and it is very helpful. I am wondering about your recommendation for I hope you Dance by LeAnn Womack, specifically slower intro type parts.


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Abby:

      Thanks for your question about dancing to “I Hope You Dance”. While there are quieter verses that contrast the more driving choruses, the tempo (i.e. speed) actually stays consistent for the whole song. This song is a little tricky because it’s rather fast (150 beats per minute) but it has a slower feel. Because of this, I’d recommend dancing it half-time (just the heavy beats, meaning your tempo will be 75 beats per minute typical of a “slow dance” song).

      If you and your dance partner (your Dad?) have dance experience, you could do Nightclub Two Step (NCTS) or Country Swing—-both use a Quick-Quick-Slow rhythm.

      If you don’t have dance experience, I’d just go with a slow dance. Use a side basic (side-tap, side-tap), then build moves off of it, just walking through them, stepping on the heavy beats. Look to Waltz and/or Swing for inspiration on moves.

      Hope that helps!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi: Foxtrot would be perfect for this song, both tempo and feel. Ideally your dance floor is 15 x 18 ft or larger. If not, you can stick with the non-traveling moves of Foxtrot.

      Have fun!

  74. Martin says

    A dance for Frank Sinatra “come dance with me”.

    Thanks for your great website for the “dancing challenged” !!!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Martin:

      Sinatra’s “Come Dance with Me” is a classic Foxtrot, although it’s a bit on a fast side. If you want a more casual-feeling dancing, East Coast Swing is also a perfect fit.

      Have fun,

  75. NICOLAUS says

    Have they made the app yet? It’s going to be a long road to figuring the music out on top of learning how to lead, keeping my frame, understanding the footwork, keeping the timing and maneuvering on the dance floors line of dance and rotating… Multitasking is not my specialty. An app would be a lifesaver and help me learn as opposed to never asking anyone to dance until half the song is done by the time you think you know what the dance music might be.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Nicolaus:

      I hear you. In the beginning it’s a lot to learn and think about, but it does get easier.

      That said, there are a few ways to take the “what dance do I do to this song” off your plate if you’re feeling overwhelmed, including”
      * Go to dance event dedicated specifically (or mostly) to just one dance. The dances you’ll typically find this for are Salsa, Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango and Country Two Step—-that is, the non-ballroom dances.
      * If Ballroom is more your thing, go to the dances at a Ballroom Dance studio. Many will have a DJ that announces each dance (eg, “next up, a Waltz”) or a monitor or projector that displays the song and style of dance.

      Hope that helps! Hang in there.


  76. Dave S says

    Hello – what kind of dance would you suggest for “First Try” by Johnnyswim? We are thinking of using it as our first dance song. Would doing a foxtrot in double time be appropriate, or are there other dances we should consider?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Dave:

      What a great song. A double time Foxtrot could work but I think you’d be moving too fast that it will seem rushed against the languid feel of this song. I’d recommend Nightclub Two Step (it’s the perfect tempo for that dance). If you are up for something more improvisational, Blues dancing would work well.

      If you’re both already experienced partner dancers, West Coast Swing would be another good fit (it’s a challenging dance so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re beginners).

      Finally, if you’re okay not doing an “official” dance style, your best bet might be a simple side basic (step-tap, step-tap) or a triple step basic (side-close-side, side-close-side)–this basic particularly matches the lilting rhythm of the song. You can then build turns and moves off of your basic.

      Hope that helps. All the best to you!

  77. CJ says

    Hi-What would be the most fitting steps for “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran? Kind of feels like a Viennese Waltz-? Thank you

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi CJ:

      You’re right, it’s a Viennese Waltz. Assuming this is for a first dance and you don’t want to do that much cardio, dance it with “hesitation timing”—that is, only step on every count 1 (instead of on 1, 2 and 3).


  78. Athena winters says

    Hi, my partner and I have decided to dance to my escape by ravenscode at our wedding as our dance. It has a 4/4 signature and i was wondering what type of dance you recommend possibly and steps please. I’m 5ft and he’s 6,2 I’ll be in heels but it’ll only pop me to around 5,3 at most. Any advice is appreciated thankyou

    • BrandeeS says

      Hello Kimberley:

      For the song “My Escape” by Ravenscode, I’d recommend Foxtrot, and particularly the Slow-Quick-Quick figures in Foxtrot. But with your height difference, I suggest doing a lot of moves where you are just holding hands–or you even break apart entirely–rather than trying to use a traditional dance hold for all/most of the dance.

      There are lots of ways to do this (twirls, traveling side by side or with cross hand hold, other opening out moves) that will match the flowiness of the song and look totally natural (not like just a height modification!). I recommend taking some dance lessons—-a professional instructor can help you put something beautiful together.


  79. Nerissa Rose says

    Hello there. We want to dance to a very specific song that means a lot to us at our wedding. It’s not traditional and I’m thinking of doing a mix of styles if possible but i don’t know. We want the dance to be full of emotion (which I know comes down a lot to body language) but any advice would be great. I used to do ballet not wedding like dances like waltz’ Thanks heaps and hope you are well.


    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Nerissa:

      Your vision sounds lovely. Since you want it to be a mix of style and full of emotion, I say throw away any idea of picking styles. Instead, just do movements, spins and wraps that match the music.

      Especially with your ballet background, you can break apart from each other, giving you a chance to do things like chaîné turns, expressive arm gestures, developpes, etc. I did a quick search on YouTube and found this as a rough example (start at ~30 sec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9iscGYfDy4

      If you want to draw from ballroom dance styles, I’d look to Foxtrot and Waltz (tho’ you song is 4/4). You might also watch Foxtrot and Waltz routines from Dancing with the Stars and similar shows/videos for ideas. When these dances are done as a performance, the couple adds a lot of flourishes and breakaways rather than just dancing regular patterns together.

      Hope that helps!


  80. Sabrina Goodall says

    My partner and I want to do our first dance to Forever Yours by Michael W. Smith and we would love to see what you recommend. I believe it is a 4/4 so I’m not too sure, I would love to include some spins and dipping action in it. Pleas let me know what you would recommend! Thanks so much.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Sabrina:

      This is a beautiful but challenging song to dance to (assuming you’re beginning dancers). I highly recommend you find a dance instructor and take lessons.

      The beat isn’t always easy to hear but the song is 3/4 time, so you’ll want to do a Waltz. American Style Waltz has a lot of spins, and you can always draw inspiration from other dances—-or make up some spins of your own. You might watch some Waltz routines from Dancing with the Stars (or similar) for ideas. When Waltz is done as a performance, the couple adds a lot of flourishes and breakaways rather than dancing regular patterns together.

      Have fun!

  81. Delaney E. H. says

    Hi Brandee!
    You are so sweet to help all these people match the perfect dances to their songs! I was wondering if you might be able to willing to recommend a dance to match “Work Song” by Hozier. It’s my favorite love song. I’ve tried dancing a rumba to it and that feels ok, but I wasn’t sure if you might have a better suggestion! Thanks!

    • BrandeeS says


      What a beautiful song! Yes, it has such a distinctive rhythm that Rumba, while being a good tempo match, doesn’t quite express the music.

      I’d recommend either Nightclub Two Step (NCTS). Here’s an example of NCTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwqiMVoNy74 That said, your song is on the slow side for Nightclub Two Step. So if you and your partner aren’t experienced dancers, it might be hard to stretch the movement to fill the time.

      An alternative to NCTS would be Foxtrot would work well. Foxtrot shares some steps with Rumba (such as the Box, a turning Box and a Box with Underarm Turn), but unlike Rumba, Foxtrot has sway and lilt that will match this song better.

      Hope that helps!


  82. Beth L. says

    Hi, love the blog! My fiancé and I are hoping to dance to Love You Like I Used to by Russell Dickerson for our first dance, and though I’ve learned the basics of a number of dances I dont know which best fits this song. Do you have any suggestions?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Beth:

      Glad you like my blog! You could go a few directions with your song.

      Rumba or Foxtrot are both good fits. They’re danced at the same tempo and have some overlap in their patterns, Rumba can be a bit more sensual (especially if you play up the Latin hip motion) while Foxtrot can be danced with glide and sway and more movement around the floor.

      If you have a decent-sized dance floor, you could dance Country Two Step (CTS). This song is a nice relaxed tempo for CTS, so you won’t feel like you’re racing around. That said, if you and your partner are somewhat beginner dancers, CTS can require more practice to make look good than Rumba or Foxtrot.

      And finally, you could throw out the standard partner dances and do a simple side basic (either step, step OR step-tap, step-tap) and build more free-form twirls and moves off of that.

      Hope that helps you get started on creating a wonderful first dance!


  83. Paul says

    Hello, Brandee. Thank you for the instructive advice.
    What would you suggest trying out for the song Run by Lighthouse Family?

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Paul:

      Fun song. Hm, I can’t think of a dance that’s a perfect fit for this song. The two best ideas I think would be Nightclub Two Step or a triple step basic (East Coast Swing without the rock step), which flows well with the song’s syncopated beat. Or you could do a simple step-tap side basic. For both the triple and step-tap basics, you can build spins and moves off of them inspired by figures from Swing dancing and Nightclub Two Step (perhaps even Bachata and Salsa).

      Hope that helps!


  84. Ariel says

    Hi Brandee.

    I am making a slow, 60bpm, cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which is my her favorite song. The meter is 4-4. I want to have it ready for the first dance, but I’m not sure how to make sure it’s dance-able, or even, how to dance to it.

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Ariel:

      60bpm is indeed very slow. At that speed, I recommend stepping on every beat. Your basic will just be that of a school slow dance: shifting weight side to side. Of course, you can travel, do slow turns and other moves just stepping on every beat.


  85. Ann-Marie says

    Hi Brandee,

    My fiance and I are planning to dance to (I’ve Got) Beginner’s Luck by Ella Fitzgerald for our first dance. What would you suggest for that song? Thank you!

    • BrandeeS says

      Hi Ann-Marie:

      You’ve given me an easy one (unlike some of the other songs people ask about). (I’ve Got) Beginner’s Luck by Ella Fitzgerald is a classic FOXTROT, straight up! You could do also do East Coast Swing, but the feel of the song is more Foxtrot!

      Have fun,

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