There are not many ways that are better for one to express their emotions than through dance. This is an incredible form of physical expression that can help you blow off some steam, meet new people, and, overall, have a great time. Still, you can’t dance to any music, and throughout history, the most popular “dance” music has evolved quite a bit. With that in mind, here’s a brief story about dance music in clubs from disco to modern times.
Disco: The dancefloor revolution
Disco is a genre of music that emerged in the late 1960s and has since amassed incredible popularity. This is the only music genre with an actual day it died. It was the 12th of July 1979, and while this is mostly ceremonial, it wasn’t without the cause.
Nostalgia is a powerful force, but disco was never as big again.
So, what is disco, to begin with?
It’s music with some of the best dancefloor beats, achieved by the four-on-the-floor beat, where the bass drum hits on each quarter note. This creates a rhythm that’s just amazing for dancing of any kind. Remember, this music is made to be danced to, so the beat and lyrics come first.
The vocals are soulful, and there are a lot of orchestral elements, which create an overall impression of something epic and well-produced.
The influence of disco music is still alive and well in all the subsequent dance music genres. Not to mention that the disco era and disco aesthetics fill a huge chunk of our pop culture.
House music: Underground beats at the central stage
For some, the idea of house music as something old may sound a bit strange. After all, you can still hear this genre in any Minneapolis nightclub, provided you go there on the right night. Still, this genre was huge in the 1980s, and, as such, it was a direct successor to disco.
Remember that this is also one of the first genres of EDM (electronic dance music). It originated from Chicago, and it had heavy disco influences.
The beat pattern (four-on-the-floor) is similar to disco; there’s much more electronic production. Instrumentals are far more common than disco, but this doesn’t mean vocals still don’t play a significant role.
Another thing that’s endemic to the house (although not exclusive) is the incredible number of subgenres and variations. This foreshadows an even greater variety that you’ll face with future EDM genres.
While disco was also a global phenomenon, house music spread to Europe far more quickly. Soon, you could see it in every club, giving birth to the modern-era DJ culture.
Rave culture and electronic dance music
Now, rave is more of a subculture tied to the EDM than a standalone genre. They’re fielded by house, techno, acid house, and trance music, but they’re so much more. It’s also a multi-sensory experience, and although you can enjoy it without any substances, this is usually not the case with many fans of this subculture.
It’s also worth pointing out that, as a cultural movement, rave is inclusive and cosmopolitan. It’s all about good time and lack of judgment of any kind. It’s about returning to one’s wild nature and embracing one’s impulses instead of repressing them in fear of facing the community’s judgment.
Rave culture has spread all over the globe. As soon as the Iron Curtain fell, it was one of the first Western cultural phenomena that spilled over.
While this movement originated in the 1980s, it reached a surge in mainstream popularity in 2010; however, it existed uninterrupted for decades prior, which only speaks of its resilience and appeal.
The existence of this genre also gave birth to many large-scale EDM festivals.
Pop and dance fusion
Pop music was always the spearhead of the industry, but dance music was always a bit more underground. That is until Madonna and Michael Jackson started incorporating it into their music. Like anything else they’ve touched, they turned mainstream.
This trend was continued through icons like NSYNC and Britney Spears, both of which heavily drew from influences of pop-dance crossover. Today, this trend lives through David Guetta and Calvin Harris, and it doesn’t seem to slow down.
Even Lady Gaga’s electropop is a direct successor (or, at least, a successor of a subgenre), which makes this synthesis cross-generational.
Dance music always had its advantages, and it just waited to be discovered by the masses. Fortunately, as soon as it was under the spotlight, the process was irreversible. Just look at charts and playlists, and you’ll see that pop-dance crossover dominates pretty consistently. If you go to the right club on the right night, you’ll get the impression that it’s the only genre. This already speaks volumes.
Present-day and future of dance music
Today, things are not as clear-cut as they were in the past. Nowadays, there’s more emphasis on genre fusion and diversity, which means you combine elements from electronic pop, hip-hop, and many other styles in a single song. The collision of bass and hip-hop is one such popular mix.
Also, while clubs are still as big as ever, many people are tuning in to digital parties via streaming and digital platforms. This has also made it much easier to achieve a much higher level of digital collaboration. While the tools for all of this existed for a while, there was an increased need for digital music evolution during the pandemic. Even though the pandemic is gone, these positive effects remain.
Now, remember that technology is more sophisticated than ever before, so editing is simpler and more accessible to more artists. Modern-day editing tools are so intuitive that it’s much easier to use, giving aspiring artists more options and self-reliability.
Moreover, with the emergence of NFTs, copyrights may achieve far greater protection.
All in all, the odds of small creators are looking great.
We live in a time where, thanks to the internet and YouTube, all of the above-listed genres are present and popular simultaneously. Clubs are following suits and usually have theme nights where each of them is represented. All you have to do is find it.