It took me a long time to realize that people actually liked dancing to EDM, and weren’t just doing it because there wasn’t another option. It took me even longer to realize that what people were doing when they were dancing wasn’t the same thing I was doing when I was dancing – that the two types of dancing were so different in motivation that I feel weird calling them both ‘dancing.’
Type 1 music tends to be repetitive, with low variation and high attention to texture/layers, with emphasis on beat. It’s played for the purpose of inducing trance states, and for strong social cohesion – like a crowd all jumping together. Images of dancing to this type of music typically depict groups.
This music is also submissive to the dancer. The music operates like a minimalistic framework, and the dancer invents moves to decorate that framework; the dancer dances over the music, or on top of it.
Type 2 music tends to have high variation, with higher emphasis on melody and emotion. This is the type of music often used for dance performances, for expressiveness/poetry reasons, and is much more individualistic – depictions of nonchoreographed dancing to this type of music usually are of only one or a few people. This music dominates the dancer – it informs the dancer how to move, and ‘good dancing’ is measured by how well the dancer can manifest this music into physical reality. The dancer dances under the music.
It seems like cultures tend to lean towards either Type 1 or Type 2 dance music at different times. The swing and disco eras of dance were heavily Type 2, while Burning Man which I just got back from seems to think Type 1 music is the entire universe.
I’m very curious about Type 1 dancing. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do it – when I try to dance to Type 1 music, I find myself ‘seeking out’ instruction from the music and feeling frustrated when I don’t find any, and I have no urge to move my body (what I feel like is) independently from the music.
I’m also curious about why certain types dominate cultures at different times. What does it indicate about the culture? How did it come to be?
Examples (Mostly popular western music) (also my own opinion, yadda yadda):