Music - Teachers' Picks - Michelle

Category: Music / Last Updated: Wed Sep 18 / Written By: Ben

We each have our own music that we like to dance to, for many different reasons.  In this series of blog articles, I asked each of the team to put together a selection of songs they love to dance to, and tell me a little bit about why they chose them.  

Although Michelle no longer teaches she has over 14 years of teaching experience to bring to the table, as well as a huge love of all kinds of music!

 

Michelle

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Swing 

  • The Way You Do the Things you Do 

I love the versatility of swing and the way it can fit to a beat that is not necessarily ‘swung’. In my mind this makes it a bit more of a jive type feel. For the faster swings I quite like old school party music such as; 

  • I See Girls by Studio B 

I’m a big fan of aussie music in general and one of my favorite high energy swings is the Paul Kelly classic:

  • Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

In general though my favourite way to dance swing is slowly. It is ‘swing’ after all so let’s swing those hips! 

  • The Way You Do The Things You Do by The Temptations

 

Rumba 

I am a big Tracey Chapman fan. Girl’s got soul! 

  • Give Me One Reason and Talkin’ About A Revolution are both delicious rumbas. 

I could go on and on listing rumbas but I’ll just pick a couple; 

  • Red Right Hand by Nick Cave 
  • Little Red Corvette (acoustic version) Steve Acho - cool, bit different, like it :) 
  • Stepping Stone by Duffy 
  • Dream Machine by Mark Farina 
  • Cupid by Sam Cook for a bit of old school 
  • Heart’s A Mess by Gotye (it’s a very long song… so maybe not the whole thing) 
  • Coming Back By Gotye. Once again very long. It would be great to find a version that ended around the 3:50 mark
  • American Baby by The Dave Matthews Band. My favourite band but often their music chops and changes too much to dance to. This is a nice smooth and consistent beat so it has to go on the list. 
  • Oh by Dave Matthews (solo) 
  • And of course my wedding song… Gold To Me by Ben Harper. Not only is it a great song that reminds me of my wonderful hubby but it actually has a really handy emphasis on the ‘slow’ count. 

 

Cha Cha 

Cha oh yes… so many great songs to cha cha to!!! Everything from tacky pop to sassy Latin. 

  • Sax by Fleur East is so sassy and flirty it basically is cha cha come to life! I also like that the song is dynamic with stops starts and light and shade so you can really play with it. It’s also great for cha cha animation dances too. 
  • In My Blood by the Veronicas always makes me want to Cha, I just wish the beat didn’t drop out so much! Oh well this is a good spot to test your musicality and come up with something creative ;) maybe throw some tumba in there… 
  • Come Dance With Me by Michael Buble’ is fun. It’s a bit too fast for me to get the right technique happening but it’s good just for a bit of a party. 
  • As with most dances the best way to practise technique is to practise to a slow song so for slow technical cha cha I like On Broadway by George Benson 

 

Salsa 

So… I like those really cheap and tacky remixes of popular songs made into salsa and bachatas. There you go. I said it. You like what you like, so there’s nothing I can do. For example: 

  • We Don’t Talk Anymore (salsa version) by Mandinga
  • Generally I prefer really slow, flowey kind of salsas like… 
  • Toda Una Vida by Leoni Torres 
  • I like Bailando (salsa version) by Croma Latino. It’s nothing ground-breaking but I feel like it reminds me of when I first started salsa dancing around Adelaide and would hear it every time I was out dancing with someone. Good memories. These days I am in bed before the salsa night starts but anyway… 

I also like dancing to reggae music as it makes for slow, groovey salsa that you can add a lot of body movement to. 

  • Baby I Love Your Way by Big Mountain 
  • I like Dura by Daddy Yankee as a fun poppy salsa too :) 

 

Foxtrot 

  • Go Gentle by Robbie Williams  
  • My Baby Just Cares For Me Nina Simone is classic and classy 
  • Fever. I like the Beyonce version best but can no longer find it on spotify :( Micheal Buble’ will do 

 

Rock 'n Roll 

  • Bright Side Of The Road by Van Morrison. Listened to a lot of Van M growing up and this song is fun, happy and reminds me of my mum and dad :) 
  • Up late by the Custom Kings - Just great song. 
  • Bruises by Chairlift. I first came across this song years ago when a wedding couple chose it for their First Dance. I have been addicted ever since. 
  • Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. Yes, it’s overdone and overplayed BUT from a teaching point of view this is generally the first song s couple might dance rock n roll too. Over the years I have seen thousands of couples dance rock n roll for the first time ever with a huge smile on their faces and that makes it very special to me. It always makes me smile :)

 

Waltz 

  • I was Here By Beyonce- This hands down, my favourite Waltz song ever. It’s nice and easy to dance to but it chops and changes from soft and subtle to moments of vibrancy and energy.
  • Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin 
  • I am a big Norah Jones fan so Come Away With Me and Be Here To Love Me have to make the list too 
  • I Still Call Australia Home- It’s Australia. I love Australia. You love Australia. We all love Australia so we should dance about it more often. This is one of the greats. 
  • Come Back To Bed by John Mayor- Big John Mayor fan and this one has a nice consistent beat that’s easy to hear and dance to. 

 

Tango 

I have the smallest Tango library in the world and I need to work on that. 

 

Bachata 

Once again, as with salsa,  I am not a purist when it comes to Bachata. The Bachatas in Spanish are cool but I can’t really tell them apart because I don’t speak spanish. I like the remixes better. 

  • Stand By Me by Prince Royce 
  • Drunk In Love by Sasha X

Basically go to YouTube and type ‘bachata remixes of popular songs’ and let it play.. 

 

Merengue 

  • Loma De Cayenas by Vicente Garacia. This was one of the first Merengues I ever danced to and it’s just so happy and cute sounding. It makes me feel like I’m on holiday on a tropical Island. Pina Colada anyone? 
  • Suavemente’ by Elvis Crespo. The classic old school Merengue, still like this one even though i have heard it thousands of times. 
  • El Africano by Gabriel. High energy and ready to party. This one also chops and changes a lot so you can play with the musicality of the song if you know it well enough. 

 

Viennese Waltz

  • Baby You Turn Me On by Nick Cave 
  • Piano Man by Billy Joel 
  • Everyone’s Waiting by Missy Elliott 
  • Angela by Missy Higgins - One of my good friends David used to play this when he was teaching V/Waltz and it reminds me of him :) 
  • I’ll Be by Edwin Mcain - Not really one of my favourite songs to sit and listen to but my favorite for practising Viennese Technique due to its consistency and slow timing. 

 

Quickstep 

  • Puttin’ On the Ritz - Fred Astaire - When I was 9 or 10 I went through a faze where I was OBSESSED with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I watched all of the movies, read the biographies and used to try following the dances in our living room. This is a great song even if it’s very fast.
  • A slower version that in like is found on the Cafe Des Belugas album
  • Crazy in Love Electro Swing remix
  • Valerie Feat. Amy Whinehouse - We used to play this song a lot when we first started QuickSteps and David and I did a routine to this song at our first ever Winter Ball so it’s very special to me. Always makes me want to dance! 

 

Samba

  • Try Me by J’Lo and Jason DeRulo - I am a sucker for trashy RnB and here it is! 
  • Cheap Thrills by Sia 
  • Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani 
  • Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran 
  • Lush Life - Zara Larrson 

 

 

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