12 Best Contemporary Dance Songs: For Modern Dancing 2024

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Immerse yourself in the pulse of modern rhythms with our handpicked collection of the best contemporary dance songs. These tracks are not just music; they’re a call to the dance floor, an invitation to express and connect through the universal language of movement. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or just looking for the perfect beat to get you moving, our curated playlist features the most dynamic and influential contemporary dance hits. Get ready to experience the songs that have shaped the dance landscape and continue to inspire unforgettable performances.

Best Contemporary Dance Songs

To Build a Home – Cinematic Orchestra

We all know the power of music in contemporary dance—how it can elevate a routine into something truly memorable. Among the best contemporary dance songs that have captured the attention of dancers and audiences alike is “To Build a Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra.

The song features a hauntingly beautiful piano melody paired with a soulful orchestral backdrop, making it impossible not to feel moved. The emotional weight of the lyrics resonates with many, allowing dancers to tell a story through their movements.

Why “To Build a Home” stands out:

  • Haunting piano opening
  • Soulful vocals
  • Emotional and narrative-driven lyrics
  • Versatile for solo or group performances

This track has been featured in various dance performances, highlighting its versatility and emotional depth. Whether a solo routine or a group piece, “To Build a Home” provides a foundation for expressive and innovative contemporary dance.

Practical Uses:

  • Competitions: Ideal for dancers showcasing their emotive capabilities.
  • Theater Productions: Enhances dramatic segments with its cinematic quality.
  • Dance Classes: Used for teaching storytelling through movement.

In our world of contemporary dance, songs like “To Build a Home” are precious. They don’t just complement a performance; they become the heart of the narrative we strive to express. This track by The Cinematic Orchestra is certainly one we hold close, time and time again, in our choreography and showcases.

Eyes on Fire – Blue Foundation

When we discuss the best contemporary dance songs, “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation secures its spot with a hypnotic blend of melancholic melody and captivating beats. First released in 2009, this track has gained a cult following, especially after its feature on the soundtrack of a popular vampire-themed movie. Its moody vibe is a perfect accompaniment for expressive contemporary dance.

Key Aspects of “Eyes on Fire”:

  • Album: Life of a Ghost
  • Released: 2009
  • Genre: Electronic/Indie Rock

Why It’s Ideal for Contemporary Dance:

  • Melody: The song’s haunting melody creates an emotional soundscape that is ripe for interpretation through movement
  • Rhythm: It possesses a steady, pulsating beat that supports both slow and dynamic choreography
  • Atmosphere: “Eyes on Fire” evokes a sense of introspection and passion, which is often explored in contemporary dance

Noteworthy Performances

One can witness the captivating hold of “Eyes on Fire” in the official music video, featuring the dancer Masha Greif, which displays the harmonious fusion of music and movement. Additionally, the choreography of this song, like the 2012 Berkeley High Advanced Dance Labs performance, showcases the song’s adaptability to various dance styles and creative interpretations.

Fix You – Coldplay

When we explore the best contemporary dance songs, it’s impossible not to mention Coldplay’s “Fix You.” This track has resonated with audiences and dancers alike for its emotional depth and uplifting melody. It’s the kind of song that grabs hold of your heartstrings and refuses to let go, making it a popular choice for dancers to express complex narratives and emotions.

Here’s what makes “Fix You” stand out:

  • Emotional Impact: The song builds from a soft, soothing intro to an empowering climax, providing dancers with an extensive range to showcase their storytelling abilities
  • Lyrical Resonance: The lyrics speak to healing and support, themes that are universally understood and beautifully interpreted through dance
  • Musical Fluidity: Its consistent rhythm coupled with dynamic crescendos presents an ideal canvas for choreography

Contemporary dance thrives on vivid storytelling, and “Fix You” offers just that. It’s been used countless times on performance stages and has been featured in stunning dance videos, choreographed pieces, and televised dance competitions. Each performance brings a fresh interpretation, proving the song’s versatility and enduring appeal.

Bryan’s Grief – Nathaniel Mechaly

When we explore the best contemporary dance songs, the melody of “Bryan’s Grief” by Nathaniel Mechaly commands our attention. This piece stands out for its soul-stirring strings and haunting atmosphere, promising a rich experience for dancers and choreographers alike.

  • Soundtrack: Taken 3
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Genre: Soundtrack/Instrumental

The song’s delicate opening leads into a crescendo of emotions, making it an excellent choice for contemporary dance routines that aim to tell a story or convey deep feelings. The soundtrack, originally composed for the motion picture Taken 3, has gained an independent following among the dance community.

Bryan’s Grief pulls you into a journey of loss and introspection, quintessentially contemporary characteristics. It offers dancers an opportunity to showcase their expressive capacity and technique, as the music guides them through a spectrum of dynamics.

Do Not Hang Your Head – Elizabeth & the Catapult

Have you ever danced to a track that resonates with every step? That’s precisely what Elizabeth & the Catapult’s “Do Not Hang Your Head” offers to contemporary dancers. Being one of the best contemporary dance songs, it’s a seamless blend of emotional depth and uplifting rhythm that captures the essence of movement and expression.

  • Album: The Other Side Of Zero
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Genre: Indie Pop

The lilting melodies paired with Elizabeth Ziman’s piercingly soulful voice create a profoundly touching soundscape. The song’s composition allows dancers to explore a range of expressions, making it a staple for contemporary choreography. The intensity of the lyrics If ever I deceive you / Darling, do not hang your head speaks to the resilience against adversity, a theme often explored in modern dance.

  • Key Themes: Resilience, Hope, Emotional Strength
  • Suitable For: Solo Performances, Group Routines, Improvisation
  • Music Tempo: Moderate, with Crescendos

Not only does the song’s ebb and flow offer dynamic variety, but its narrative quality also provides a rich backdrop for storytelling through dance.

Reason To Hate You – Rhys Lewis

When we’re on the hunt for the best contemporary dance songs, it’s tracks like “Reason To Hate You” by Rhys Lewis that truly stand out. It’s got that blend of emotive vocals and a powerful melody that captures the essence of movement, making it a go-to for dancers and choreographers alike.

  • Genre: Contemporary/Pop
  • Mood: Emotional, Reflective

Why It Works:

  • The lyrical depth stirs emotion
  • A steady beat offers a perfect pace for contemporary routines
  • The dynamic build-up in the song allows for expressive choreography

Rhys Lewis’s “Reason To Hate You” delivers just the right atmosphere for a dance that aims to tell a story. The melody rises and falls in a way that can mirror a dancer’s movements and emotional expression.

She Is Love – Parachute

When we think about the best contemporary dance songs, Parachute’s “She Is Love” immediately comes to mind. Its soothing melody and heartfelt lyrics make it a staple for dancers looking to express emotion through movement.

Features of the Song:

  • Melody: Serene and calming
  • Lyrics: Expressive of deep, unconditional love
  • Tempo: Moderate, which allows for both slow and dynamic movements

Contemporary dance thrives on the ability to evoke emotions, and “She Is Love” excels at drawing out feelings of love and tenderness. The versatility of the song, coupled with its poetic lyrics, provides a canvas for various interpretations in dance choreography.

Why Dancers Choose “She Is Love”:

  • Emotional depth
  • Soothing tempo
  • Reflective ambiance

We’ve seen this track being used in countless dance performances, from solos to group numbers. Its appeal lies in its simplicity and the warmth it injects into every performance.

Smokestacks – Layla

When we think of the best contemporary dance songs, there’s a rich palette of music to choose from. Yet, among this vast soundscape, Layla’s “Smokestacks” stands out as an evocative track that commands attention. This hauntingly beautiful song has all the right elements: a deep, pulsating rhythm and a melody that weaves its way into the very fabric of your emotions.

Why “Smokestacks” is an essential addition to a dancer’s playlist:

  • Emotional connectivity: The raw emotion in Layla’s voice creates an intimate atmosphere that’s palpable in every beat
  • Rhythmic complexity: Syncopated beats give dancers a unique canvas to express their creativity
  • Versatility: Whether for solos or group pieces, “Smokestacks” complements a wide range of contemporary choreography

Dancers and choreographers often seek songs that resonate with the soul, and “Smokestacks” fits the bill perfectly. Its lyrics are poetic and stirring, capable of invoking a sense of enigmatic storytelling through movement.

Remember to infuse every motion with the intensity that this song elicits. Its driving beat and vocal power can be explored through choreography by Ileana Vasquez, which is a testament to the song’s dynamic quality.

When I Was Older – Billie Eilish

When we explore the best contemporary dance songs, it’s impossible not to mention “When I Was Older” by Billie Eilish. The gripping melody and haunting lyrics echo with a profundity that resonates deeply within the hearts of dancers and choreographers alike. Inspired by the film “Roma“, this track captures a myriad of emotions, making it a compelling choice for contemporary routines.

Here’s what makes “When I Was Older” stand out:

  • Emotive Lyrics: The song’s poignant words stir a sense of introspection, ideal for expressive dance
  • Unique Sound: Eilish’s signature ethereal voice layered over minimalistic, but rich, electronic beats creates a surreal soundscape
  • Versatility: The song’s structure allows dancers the flexibility to craft diverse narratives in their performances

Released in 2019, When I Was Older signals Eilish’s artistic maturity, showcasing her capacity to experiment with more abstract themes—a trait cherished in the contemporary dance world.

Always Midnight – Pat Monahan

When we’re crafting a playlist of the best contemporary dance songs, “Always Midnight” by Pat Monahan often cuts. There’s something about the melodic ebb and flow of this track that engages dancers and non-dancers alike. From the moment the first chords play, the atmosphere fills with a mix of anticipation and nostalgia.

  • Genre: Pop/Rock
  • Mood: Emotional, Introspective

Always Midnight” offers the perfect tempo and lyrical depth for contemporary dance—a genre that’s all about expressing complex emotions and storytelling through movement. Known for his work as the lead vocalist for Train, Pat Monahan captures a sense of yearning that’s palpable, making this song a staple in dance studios.

Key Elements:

  • Melodic Flow: Captures emotion, driving the dance narrative
  • Lyrical Depth: Invites introspection and connection
  • Pacing: Ideal for expressive and dynamic choreography

For our dance routines, the combination of lyrics and melody in “Always Midnight” isn’t just background music; it becomes a partner in the dance, shaping how we move. Whether you’re choreographing a piece for a summer intensive or simply getting lost in your freestyle, this track provides a sonic canvas that welcomes creativity.


  • Contemporary solos
  • Group ensembles
  • Dance improvisation

We relish the way this song seems to understand the ebb and flow of our own emotions, a true testament to its place among the best contemporary dance songs.

Land Of All – Woodkid

When we discover a melody that moves us, it often becomes a staple in our collection of best contemporary dance songs. “Land Of All” by Woodkid is one such treasure, a piece that blends emotional depth with a rhythmic drive that is irresistible for dancers and choreographers alike.

  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Notable Instruments: Pulsing drums, haunting piano
  • Mood: Eerie, evocative, empowering

This track shines with its cinematic quality, which has not only captured our ears but also the attention of the dance community. It infuses powerful orchestral elements with modern sounds, creating a unique auditory landscape.

  • Choreography Inspiration: Its dramatic beats and crescendos offer endless possibilities for movement and expression
  • Emotional Connection: The song’s build-up and resolution facilitate a journey through intensity and relief, perfect for storytelling through dance

Land Of All” stands out in classes, performances, and even on social media platforms where dancers share their routines. A truly compelling piece, Woodkid’s creation has left its mark on the world of contemporary dance.

Latch – Sam Smith

When we think of the best contemporary dance songs, few tracks spark the electric vibe of a dimly lit dance floor quite like Latch by Sam Smith. A quintessential hit that fuses heartfelt lyrics with a pulsating house beat, it’s no wonder this track has become a favorite among both dance enthusiasts and casual listeners alike.

  • Release: 2012
  • Genre: Synthpop, House
  • Notable Performance: Became a staple in Disclosure sets and elevated their presence to headlining statuses at major festivals (Billboard)

The success of “Latch” propelled Sam Smith to international fame and solidified their reputation as a powerhouse vocalist capable of delivering emotional depth alongside a danceable track. The song’s infectious groove and Smith’s soaring vocals create a dynamic synergy that continues to resonate on dance floors and in the hearts of listeners around the world.


Can I learn contemporary dance at 30?

Absolutely, you can learn contemporary dance at 30. Many dance studios offer classes for adults at various levels, including beginner classes specifically tailored for those starting later in life.

What music do modern dancers use?

Modern dancers often use a wide range of music, from classical to contemporary, that resonates with the choreography’s expressive intent and the movement’s fluidity. Pieces may include instrumental, lyrical, or experimental sounds to enhance the performance.

Which English song is best for dance performance?

Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars is widely considered one of the best English songs for a dance performance due to its energetic beat and catchy rhythm.

What makes a good contemporary dance?

A good contemporary dance is characterized by a strong technical foundation, emotional expressiveness, innovative choreography, and a deep connection between the movement and the music. It often involves fluidity of movement, creative use of space, and a sense of dynamic contrast.

If you enjoyed our blog post titled “Best Contemporary Dance Songs,” please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear about your experiences with it!

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Carlo Hummel
Carlo Hummel

Greetings, I'm Carlo!

At the youthful age of 21, I've found my purpose in shedding light on the latest trends, innovative interior designs, influential artistic creations, and notable events within the dynamic landscape of contemporary culture. My passion for these aspects of life drives me to share my unique perspective with others, fostering a deeper connection to the ever-evolving world of culture and creativity. Modernity Rules!

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