Music for Dance Class: No Instruments Allowed

Artist: Zap Mama

Album/Song: Adventures in Afropea, “Abadou”


“Well-thought-out music for dance class provides an opportunity to enhance the emotional experience of the student,” says Deborah Damast, artistic advisor of dance education at New York University’s Steinhardt School and artistic director of the school’s resident company Kaleidoscope Dancers. “Using a variety of genres, rhythms and instrumentations expands the range of dynamic choices in the class content.”

And sometimes, in her contemporary modern classes, she uses music with no instruments at all. She loves to mix things up with a capella groups like Zap Mama. “Some of their music uses vocalization techniques that are polyrhythmic and diverse,” she says. “The Abadou piece has a circular movement to it and is good for anything in a strong three rhythm.”


For more about Damast and her music choices, check out A Range of Rhythms by Rachel Zar

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