Dancemax Letter #12, Thursday, Aug 17, 2000

Dancing Tid-bits
Music for Dancing

My mind is blank today, but so many of you tell me that you like to read these letters and find them informative, so I am going to continue. My instinct tells me that we should wrap up the series, "Play Good Music," so a few Qs and As:

Q: Gim'me that tempo thing again:
A: See my previous letters, but if you say Max! "give me those tempi again please" then it is as follows.

Q: What is Strict Tempo?
A: Every dance feels its best at a certain speed of music. This is 'strict tempo.' So! does strict tempo mean a fixed number like 30 or 50 etc. I believe there is a certain range of speeds where the dance feels good with some individual preferences of course. This usually will vary by 1 or 2 bars per minute. Consider the following tempi in bars per minute (bpm) or measures per minute (mpm), same thing!

  • Foxtrot - 30
  • Waltz - 30
  • Tango - 32
  • Cha Cha Cha - 32
  • Q.S. - 50
  • Samba - 50
  • Rumba - 27
  • Jive - 44
  • Paso Doble - 60
  • V.W. - 60
I used to have such a problem remembering the NDCA recommended tempi for Pro Am, and then for Professionals and on top of that the real Amateurs etc. And then there is American and International stuff and the ICBD, IDTA and the list goes on and on. I have found that all that jazz and confusion is unnecessary and when the time comes they don't play the strict tempo anyway. So, if you follow the above general guidelines you cannot go wrong. Keep things simple, i.e..

Fox and Waltz at 30 (Residential), Tango-Cha Cha at 32 (add a couple), Q.S. and Samba is 50 (divided highway), Rumba is different at 27 (school zone +2), Jive is of course fast 44, and Paso and V.W. are played rather infrequently, you might throw it in your memory bank at 60 (speed limit).

All right! I will keep it brief, Happy dancing from Max

Questions and comments to, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits