Blog #50 Strong Music for Strong Dancing

2/2 march accent heavy music how to count a mazurka polonaise power music powerful strong dancers strong music weight Sep 27, 2021

Music is amazing..

I’ve travelled and played piano in 5 different countries,  on grand stages, small halls and dimly lit lounges and do you know what all those experiences had in common? People enjoying the music. Like my grandpa used to say for fun, “Hey! You can play in German!” lol 

Music is life.

Music brings joy.

Music exudes and builds emotions.

Music propels movement.

Music can drive and inspire a dancer who’s had a bad day.

Today I want to discuss STRONG music. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that music is made up of a couple of different things; Accent, key colour (major, minor), tempo and meter.  There are strong music types in both the triple and duple meter so.. let’s go with those two categories and run with it!

As you’re reading about these music types, keep in mind the different dance movements that you might want STRONG music for! STRONG movements (grand battement, frappes, medium and grand allegro, tendus, degage/jetes, and more)!

Triple Meter

  1. Spanish Waltz: A power waltz that has strength (or weight) on beats 1 and 2 generally!  This waltz is brilliant for slower (but not weak!) pirouettes and allegro.
  2. Polonaise (some boleros): A strong and FULL 3/4 that you need to count differently to really utilize ALL of its music well! (Hint, it’s a 6 count phrase music type). 
  3. Tarantellas: A 6/8 whose strength is that it is FAST and usually in a minor key. It’s aggressive feeling, for  lack of a better word.  
  4. Lyrical waltzes: Another waltz BUT, it’s strength is not in it’s speed, but more so in it’s dancer counts and chord colour. Weight, fullness and depth of emotion are the lyrical waltz’ strengths.  (Think of a bite of chicken pot pie on snowy day, mmm)
  5. Mazurkas: This 3/4 brings a totally different super power, an accent on beat 2 while being sharp and crisp, like an apple fresh off a tree in fall!

Duple Meter

  1. Marches (4/4, 6/8 and cut-time): Do I even need to say anything here?
  2. Galops: (The music in the video up above!) The dancer counts match the measures so each count is a beat 1 of a measure! That makes them extra accented naturally and therefore, super useful!
  3. Hornpipes: The strength of a hornpipe is in its precision and articulation! Think about the beauty of basic math, 2 + 2 = 4, that is the strength of a hornpipe. It’s so precise and crisp!  
  4. Rags: The power of a rag is in its syncopation (meaning accents in unexpected places, playful!).  

In Conclusion

When you’re considering the music you want to use for an exercise, the absolutely BEST music for your exercise, the best place to start is.. what qualities are you working on for that movement and then which music type will drive and support your intentions! 

When you've got these first two steps.. the third is a natural outflow of it!

  1. What qualities you're looking in the exercise?
  2. What music type supports that and how to count it, etc
  3. You’re GOLD as a dance teacher!  Pure Gold!

Remember, if you’re finding these blog posts helpful, you’ve GOT to plan on taking The Official Music Training Course for Ballet Teachers in the future.. The OMTC is these blog posts on steroids! You’ll finish the course knowing ALL the best music types for ballet and how to count and use them!  (

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