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Good Contemporary Dance Songs: 15 Best Contemporary Dance Songs

Throughout the age of music, there have been certain sounds that have stood the test of time, and near the top of that list, is the sound of “Contemporary Dance Songs”.

Contemporary Dance Songs sometimes come in mellow, laid-back, formats, & other times, the tempo seems to speed up but yet keeps the track flowing as if you’re moving down a river calmly.

Now whether you prefer the soothing vocals of young artists, or the mellow voices of older artists, the contemporary dance songs we have here, are going to have you falling in love with dance all over again.


1. Ed Sheeran – First Times

For the first track on our contemporary dance songs list, we have a recent Ed Sheeran song, titled “First Times”. From the beginning notes of this laid backtrack. Ed Sheeran hits his guitar strings with just enough energy, to strike chords in the listens’s soul, that easily allow a dancer to flow across the stage with calm grace.

Once his soothing vocals begin, it emotes a vibe that takes the dancer on a sweet ride, that carries their legs across the stage with supreme elegance, that they never want to end.


2. Coldplay – Fix You

Entering our contemporary dance songs list next is a smooth, rheumatic 2005 track, from Coldplay called “Fix You”. This guitar & drum-heavy ballad is the perfect track for narrative dancers. The way Coldplay intertwines their vocals with the background instruments is a thing of beauty.

As a listener, even without watching the music video for this contemporary dance time-piece, you’re able to visualize a narrative ballet, of beautiful storytelling, through the visual vocals that Coldplay so brilliantly displays throughout this track.


3. Adele – To Be Loved

Next on our list, we have a recent track by “a world-class singer” Adele, titled “To Be Loved”. From the beginning to the end of this song, Adele gives a masterclass in musical vocalism.

Although the piano playing on this song, is the stuff that great symphonies are made, this track is one of those rear contemporary dance songs, where the vocals of the singer “completely” overshadow the instrumental background.

Expert Tip: The passion that Adele brings on this track is the stuff that dancers “dream of”. This song is sure to be interpreted by dedicated dancers from around the world, for years to come.


4. OneRepublic -Take It Out On Me

Coming in at number four on our list is a recent ballad, by world-renowned artist, OneRepublic called “Take It Out On Me”. This uptempo track, is a perfect contemporary piece for free-style dancers. The way OneRepublic delivers their vocals on this track gives dancers the ability to create something original, yet truly eclectic.

This is one of those contemporary dance songs, where free-style dancers can really shine.


5. Mary J. Blige – Hourglass

Number five on our contemporary dance songs list, is a poetic track, by the legendary singer Mary J. Blige titled “Hourglass”. This 2021 song is featured on Amazon’s original documentary series, about the life of this powerhouse singer, titled “Mary J. Blige’s: My Life.”

This contemporary dance song is one of those tracks, that is great for narrative dancers, as well as free-style dancers, to deliver a phenomenal, artistic, interpretation.

The talented instrumentals displayed behind Mary J. Blige’s powerful vocals on this track are what people in many different countries, from around the world, pay “top-dollar” to see barrenas dance to in arenas. Don’t be surprised if you see dancers in future, theatrical, musicals, performing to this beautiful song.


6. Bruno Mars, Anderson, Paak & Silk Sonic – Leave The Door Open

Coming in next on our list is a 2021 track, from the newly formed group, “Silk Sonic” (Bruno Mars and Anderson, Paak) named “Leave The Door Open.” This track here is one of those contemporary dance songs that would not only be relevant today but would have been popular if it was released in the Motown ’70s, or the Michael Jackson 80’s.

The feel of this Silk Sonic song is a feeling that says it would not only be a song that could be performed on ballet stages but dancehalls as well. Which is an extremely rare feat for any contemporary dance song.


7. Cleo Sol – Sideways

This next track, coming in strong at number seven on our list, is a 2020 song, from contemporary music newcomer “Cleo Sol” with her song called “Sideways”. This track is a very slow, low tempo, love-letter, song, with a mellow rhythm, and soothing, dreamy, vocals.

Expert Tip: Contemporary dance songs, with this type of tempo, have traditionally been performed by dancers with strong roots in narrative dance, but in recent years, free-style dancers have begun to incorporate this slow low-tempo, contemporary dance music, into their routines.


8. Joshua Basset – Set Me Free

This next track on our contemporary dance songs list is by contemporary music underdog, Joshua Basset, titled “Set Me Free”. This song is truly “beautiful”. The way Joshua Basset’s main vocals, intertwined with the background vocals, as well as the live instruments, is awe-inspiring. This song is a dancer’s dream.

The way the vocals (both the main, as well as background vocals) are delivered, presents dancers with points, that allow them to glide through this Ballard. This song is truly a work of art.


9. Tate McRee – Feel Like Shit

Coming in at number nine on our list is a contemporary dance song by a newcomer. Tate McRee named “Feel Like Shit”. This song is “perfect” for dancers that thrive with tracks that change tempo, from fast to slow and from slow to fast.

The rollercoaster rhythm in this contemporary song still delivers a lot of passion which is felt with every word & and melody, which is the type of track where “powerhouse dancers” truly shine. The way that Tate McRee passionately pulls listeners into her emotional explosion, is something that will definitely allow dancers to deliver powerful performances.


10. Doja Cat – Been Like This

Entering our list, strong at number ten, is a recent track from the versatile, world-class talent. Doja Cat called “Been Like This”. This Doja Cat track delivers a slow tempo, yet high energy, the song that brings a “very” seductive groove. This is a mature, sexy song, that brings an energy that is meant for professional, high-talented, dancers.

It brings a feeling that narrative dancers love. The edgy, seductive, sound will allow them to tell a phenomenal, eclectic, dance routine.


11. Billie Elish – HappierThan Ever

Next on our list is a 2021 track, by powerhouse-singer Billie Eilish titled “Happier Than Ever”. This Billie Eilish track is one of those contemporary dance songs that has a 1940’s feel, a 90’s feel, and simultaneously a 2021 feel. A feat that is in no way easier, but with a versatile talent such as Billie Eilish, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

This Billie Eilish track is one where a narrative dancer could truly shine. It begins like a tropical 1940’s night-lounge feel and ends with a 90’s soft-rock vibe (A very eclectic track). To give a great performance, a dancer must truly deliver a masterful, narrative, dance, interpretation. For world-class dancers though, this is not an impossible feat.


12. Adele – Easy On Me

Coming in strong on our contemporary dance songs list, is a recent track by world-class talent. Adele named “Easy On Me”. On this soulful contemporary track. Adele delivers smooth performance, over a medium-tempo instrumental.

Expert Tip: The rhythm of this song is even, and steady, throughout the track, which makes it a top contender, for dance arenas around the world, to showcase their best ballet talents. And even though, with her powerful vocals.

Adele is known for overpowering instrumentals on some of her most famous songs, she seems to ride this instrumental like pro-surfer on a Hawaiian wave.


13. Giveon – Heartbreak Anniversary

Next on our list, is a 2021 track, by contemporary dance songs newcomer “Giveon” called “Heartbreak Anniversary”. This soulful track, is a passionately delivered song, with a steady, low-temp, beat in the background, but it’s calm enough, as to not overshadow. Giveon’s mellow vocals.

The steady rhythm, yet passionate vocals, and mellow feel of this song, make it a prime candidate, for not only ballet stages, but for narrative dancers, and freestyle dancers as well. This is one of those rear contemporary dance songs that’s a perfect fit for a wide array of dance styles.


14. Olivia Rodrigo – Driver’s License

Coming in strong at number fourteen on our list, is a sad Ballard by contemporary music newcomer “Olivia Rodrigo” titled “Driver’s License”. This sad contemporary track is delivered by Olivia Rodrigo, “like a final love letter”. It’s one of those sad songs, where after hearing it, you feel an urge to play it again, and again.

There’s something truly soul-touching about this song. The exquisite storytelling on this track, with its steady rhythm, yet powerful, passionate, vocals, is the type of song that is a narrative dancer’s “dream”.

This is such a powerful song, with an impressively beautiful melody, that it would be quite difficult, for any style of a dancer not to at least attempt, to create some unique dance interpretation here.


15. Pink Sweats – Heaven

This final track on our contemporary dance songs list is a 2021 song, from contemporary music newcomer “Pink Sweats” named “Heaven”. This song is truly a beautiful Ballard. This smooth track, flows, like a 40’s Jazz song, a 90’s R&B song, and a new age poem, all at the same time. Truly an eclectic contemporary dance song.

Expert Tip: The steady rhythm of this track makes it quite easy for a talented dancer to absorb the melody, and deliver a soulful dance interpretation. The feel of this song seems like it is tailored for a narrative dancer’s unique storytelling style.


Moves for Contemporary Dance

The teacher’s preference will determine the method taught in a contemporary dance class. Due to the emotional nature of the dance, students might learn vast variations from different instructors. However, studio movements and choreography are uniforms, and these modern steps are quickly realized.

Moves for Contemporary Dance
Moves for Contemporary Dance


Curl Up

Starting in jazz first (feet parallel facing front), curve your spine over slowly, not collapsing at the waist. Next, bend your knees halfway to the floor and continue to “curl”. Your instructor may urge you to “coil down” one vertebra at a time, then “grow back up” one part at a time.


Swivels

Place your arms in the second position while standing parallel. The right leg should be slid forward with a pointed toe, then backward, slightly bending the knee. This is an everyday transitional movement in choreography.


Backless

While it may appear simple, a properly executed flat back requires discipline and flexibility. After bending over, raise your arms into a high fifth with palms facing inward. Next, raise the torso and arms in one continuous motion. This move is a fantastic display of grace and body control, reminiscent of ballet.


Tendu

The foot points forward and backward first with tendus. Repeat the position to the side and back, alternating rhythmically. Exercise for the floor, but can be utilized in routines.


Chasse

The chasse is a standard modern dance leap. You shift your weight on one foot while in a plie posture, then jump, so both feet are vertical in the air. Add height and a spin to this action for a more sophisticated look.


No Limits

Modern dance steps are usually derivatives of something else. Whether it’s classical ballet or a tree outside your window on a windy day, contemporary dancers’ capacity to identify choreography inspirations is astounding.

The outcomes can be nothing short of stunning and highly satisfying if you are pursuing modern dance as a job or pastime.


Types of Contemporary Dance

Types of Contemporary Dance
Types of Contemporary Dance

Ballet, modern, jazz, and lyrical are all part of contemporary. It is based on ballet technique and develops many more motions that do not follow the rigid restrictions of ballet and modern. Contemporary dance includes Contemporary Ballet and Contemporary Jazz. Contemporary dance can be performed to any music and in any clothing.

Contemporary dancers frequently wear lyrical dance shoes or none at all. This is what makes it unique and lively. Its expressiveness is boundless. This dance explores a variety of emotions. Contemporary dancers strive for creative and flexible expression.

They dance barefoot and do a lot of floor work. Gravity plays a crucial role in this dance, lowering the dancers to the floor. Contemporary dance is based on improvisation.

Dancers are inspired by their feelings at the moment. It is difficult to define the style because it is fluid and imprecise. The dance encourages play and exploration. We use balance, improvisation, floor work, falls, and recovery. It is a personal dance study of natural energy in your body.

As you can see, contemporary is not a dancing style. Keep in mind that Contemporary dance has various variations. Contemporary dancers come from all walks of life. American contemporary dance is distinct from European or Australian modern. For example, contemporary incorporates bodywork and other non-dance influences.


Conclusion

Thank you for vibing with us through our eclectic contemporary dance songs list, of young and other, newcomers, and veteran singers, as they delivered a wide array of contemporary dance tracks, that probably had you moving all across the floor.

These contemporary dance songs, are melodies that stay in your mind, even after you hit the power button on your stereo, which makes it that much easier to create your own dance routines, that will have your dance-mates in awe of your rhythmic moves.

Please comment if you have any questions or comments. We would love for you to join the conversation and add your contemporary dance wisdom to the discussion. Until next time, put dance and ballet shows on stretch, turn the radio on, and let the rhythm and melody deliver your body to the dancer’s smooth floors.

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About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!