Music for Class: Commercial Appeal

When Dana Foglia first made the switch from ballet and modern to commercial dance, she was taken aback by auditions requesting that she dance in sky-high stilettos. “I’d worn heels before, but I’d certainly never danced in them,” Foglia says. “Dancers don’t often think of it as something that they should practice, but it makes a huge difference once you get into the commercial world.” To give dancers the chance to rock their pumps in the studio, she teaches stiletto heels classes at Broadway Dance Center in NYC—a huge hit with auditioning professionals—in addition to classes in street jazz and contemporary.


No matter the style, her goal is to prepare students for the reality of being a commercial dancer. “I want everybody to walk out having learned something more than just steps,” says Foglia. She infuses her classes with tips learned throughout her career—from the intricacies of the dance industry to lessons on professionalism. She pulls from experience dancing in numerous music tours, award shows and TV appearances on So You Think You Can Dance, The Today Show and BET’s 106 & Park.


And though she’s danced for plenty of pop sensations, from Beyoncé to New Kids on the Block, Foglia’s choice of music for class is a little less mainstream. Since discovering work by Danish musician Trentemøller, she has searched iTunes to find other artists who share his energetic synthesized style. “Once in a blue moon I’ll use popular songs,” she says. “But I found a love for electronic music, which makes me feel futuristic and new age. It suits my movements and really inspires me.” Here, Foglia shares some of her favorite selections. DT


Artist: Trentemøller

Albums: Beta Boy and Into the Great White Yonder


“Electronic music like this is great for my contemporary and street jazz classes. I use the song ‘Beta Boy’ in my warm-up, which begins with jogging and jumping jacks. ‘Sycamore Feeling’ is great to choreograph to. It’s really upbeat and it has a kind of house music feel to it.”


Artist: Nosaj Thing

Album: Drift


“I love all of his songs. They give me the feeling that I just need to create when I hear them. They’ve also got an electronic feel. I’ve choreographed to some of them in class, and I sometimes use them in my warm-up if I haven’t choreographed to them yet. Some of my favorites are ‘Us’ and ‘Coat of Arms.’”


Artist: Esthero

Album: Wikked Lil’ Grrrl


“Esthero’s voice is really interesting. People should know about this artist—she’s one of my go-tos. I like using her music for choreography in my stiletto heels class, especially the songs ‘Beautiful Lie’ and ‘Fastlane.’”


Artist: Björk

Albums: Army Of Me: Remixes and Covers and Telegram


“I love that Björk, though a little more mainstream than I usually go for, gives a real creepy feel. I especially like her remixes, since her voice is mixed with a lot of other sounds and beats. I love the ‘Cover Me’ remix, and also ‘A(R)Mour’ which is a great remix of her song ‘Army of Me.’”


* Follow Dana Foglia as she navigates the commercial dance scene on the hit online reality show “Dance212”! The new season starts this month, only at


Photo: Dana Foglia (by Rhapsody James)

Teachers Trending
Marcus Ingram, courtesy Ingram

"Water breaks are not Instagram breaks."

That's a cardinal rule at Central Virginia Dance Academy, and it applies even to the studio's much beloved social media stars.

For more than a decade, CVDA has been the home studio of Kennedy George and Ava Holloway, the 14-year-old dancers who became Instagram sensations after posing on the pedestal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee Monument. Clad in black leotards and tutus, they raise their fists aloft to depict a global push for racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.