• Richard

    LOL – brilliant article.
    Just thought I’d relate my experience from the weekend.
    Just started my set, when I realised I had locked up one of the CDJs (was using Traktor and had set them both to the same Deck). Had to shut the CDJs down and reboot them to fix up my stupid mistake (I coudln’t even mix in to a CD as both CDJs were linked to each other so stopping one, stopped the other). My stress levels were through the roof and first 20 mins after that I just wasn’t enjoying myself. I could tell the crowd wasn’t buying it either *hello big empty hole in front of the DJ booth*.
    Finally got my groove back and played some monster tracks which pulled the crowd back in. Once my confidence was back up, I was dancing around like a maniac. Waving at the crowd, high fiving people coming up to the booth (couple of hugs too) and smiling like an idiot. The response I got at the end of my set was overwhelming. People just rushed to the front of the DJ booth shouting more more. They had completely forgot about the train wreck at the start and were telling me how it was one best sets they’ve heard.
    Once the crowd sees you’re enjoying yourself, they’ll come along for the ride.
    I’m not saying you have to dance to get the crowd involved. But if they can see you, then your deamonour behind the decks is definitely going to play a part in their enjoyment of your set. Even if you don’t dance, just make sure you keep your eye contact with the crowd and smile. It will make you feel more comfortable and confident in yourself when you see them smile back and that confidence should shine out in the set you play.

  • fader

    @ jeremysexton why would you have to dance?? i don’t move a bit the first half hour . i’m to focused to do so. sometimes you start to move at the beat a bit but not from the start ,that’s stupid and very unprofessional. watch a laurent garnier set and you’ll see what i mean

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  • http://www.jualsofaonline.com/ Jual Sofa Online

    Just like I never trust a chef that’s too skinny, I don’t trust a DJ that doesn’t dance. If you’re not buyin what you’re sellin, why in the world should I???

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  • http://www.societe-a-hong-kong.com/prix-societe-a-hong-kong.php Prix société hong kong

    Sound good! Some DJs can get too caught up the technicalities of
    mixing and forget about their crowd, which is why they’re there!

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  • http://vsccan.org/ Alva Mader

    what a silly article. reminds me of glam/fashion magazine covers ‘how to win your mans heart in some irrelevant number of steps’. how to a good dj, ‘be good at it and make people dance’ OH RLY?!

  • http://twitter.com/MOYMA MOYMA

    I have seen both. Djs who go crazy dancing becos they are just triggering clips from a laptop so to connect with the crowd they go nuts on stage. The crowd seemed to love it. I have also seen djs who have turntable wizardy but no stage presence. I guess a balance is needed. 

  • http://twitter.com/MOYMA MOYMA

    I have seen both. Djs who go crazy dancing becos they are just triggering clips from a laptop so to connect with the crowd they go nuts on stage. The crowd seemed to love it. I have also seen djs who have turntable wizardy but no stage presence. I guess a balance is needed. 

  • Diego

    Who’s the dancing girl?

    :)

  • Diego

    Who’s the dancing girl?

    :)

  • Diego

    Who’s the dancing girl?

    :)

  • djkulo

    good article

  • djkulo

    good article

  • djkulo

    good article

  • Dj_zack2005

    there is nothing wrong dancing while djieng, if your dancing it means you enjoy what you play… if you dont enjoy what you play, do you think your crowd will enjoy it.? im not talking about cheezy music..

  • Dj_zack2005

    there is nothing wrong dancing while djieng, if your dancing it means you enjoy what you play… if you dont enjoy what you play, do you think your crowd will enjoy it.? im not talking about cheezy music..

  • derp derp derp.

    Wicked stupid n00b topic. f*ck any dj who doesn’t dance. why do you think moodymann only produces standing up?

  • Djedubbs_NYC

    Great article Ean….I like some of the comments…but some of you’se sounds like boring people who lean at the bar criticizing the dj’s technical ability but don’t have the guts to go up to a female and ask them to dance with you. How can I take advice from a bedroom dj if they have never rocked a party. Great dj’s get the dance floor moving. The best way is to dance yourself, clap hands like DJ Rap or hire dancers who will start dancing to anything you play. No, you dont have dance, clap hands or fist pump but you do have to respect the dancers. You gotta be in their head. You gotta know what keeps them dancing. You gotta lead them around the dance floor like you gave them a dose of ecstasy and they will do whatever you want. Its very easy to loose your crowd by playing songs that dont have the right groove. You can loose a crowd by playing one bad tune after you built it up the crowd with ten.

    -Once again great article. Btw i love how this site balances between technical and “organic” if you will. In New York technical dj’s dont make money. You gotta have swag and along with excellent ability. And you better be good to the “dancers”. lol!!

  • Djecliptik

    I’ve said this before, and I will say it again ” A DJ that doesn’t dance, is like a writer that doesn’t read.”

    • dkun

      amen!

  • Anonymous

    Boss article. I’ve been DJing 22 years, since I was 17, and there was always a tendency amongst some DJs not to dance, not because they were concentrating, but because they felt detached/superior from the – sigh – punters. I’m not saying you have to turn in to Ricky Martin behind the decks, but the crowd buzz off the fact that you’re dancing too. It feels like you’re one of them.

    In the early 1990s there used to be comic strip called “Moody DJ” – sadly he was the model for lots of cantankerous fat blokes getting 500 notes a night for playing a load of records they’d been given for free – and never smiling when they did it. People take it all a bit too seriously – as the label on Clevland City 12″s said: Music is fun. Don’t forget it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Rules/100002067897032 Bryan Rules

    the second track sounds like those played by cheerleading competitions on espn… all it needs is a bunch of air horns and explosions

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-Rules/100002067897032 Bryan Rules

    the second track sounds like those played by cheerleading competitions on espn… all it needs is a bunch of air horns and explosions

  • http://www.celtic-dj.com celtic dj

    dancing,,IMO ELECTRO IS NOT FOR DANCING…i think ean is a great writer but his taste in music is crappy,,,like most commercial dj’s…
    im shure may people will disagree but i claim that every type of music has its own DRUGS related to it..you cant write an article on dancing without talking about drugs…why ????
    1. because drugs (chemicals) can and usually affect the dj/producers taste in music…
    2.A very big percentage of the crowd in the EDM scene is on some sort of chemical.

    IMO every commercial dj should talk about what drugs he uses or used (even medicated drugs like Retalin affect u ),,,there is a cultural problem here and its time the big dj’s open up and talk about their own drug habbits …did you know it takes the body more then 5 years to break up remains of L.s.d that stay in your brain – hence the flashbacks…

    dj’s nowdays are basically club culture promoters…every club manager is sorted out with the police,,every club manager allows a certain amount of drug dealers onboard to do their stuff…most dj’s dont want to talk or deal with this factor but this is the reality of 2011 – WORLDWIDE !!!!

    you can be a realy good dj but if their are no drugs (yes alcohol is the 5th most dangerous drug according to a bbc research) the dancefloor will look completely different.

    myself – cannabis is my medicine,,,never touched and never will touch these bloody chemicals…to many people i know never came back or live a crazy lifestyle because of these ‘SHORTCUTS’

    chemicals are a shortcut enabling people who would never dance – to dance like angels – THEIR IS A PRICE TO PAY THOUGH…

  • http://www.celtic-dj.com celtic dj

    dancing,,IMO ELECTRO IS NOT FOR DANCING…i think ean is a great writer but his taste in music is crappy,,,like most commercial dj’s…
    im shure may people will disagree but i claim that every type of music has its own DRUGS related to it..you cant write an article on dancing without talking about drugs…why ????
    1. because drugs (chemicals) can and usually affect the dj/producers taste in music…
    2.A very big percentage of the crowd in the EDM scene is on some sort of chemical.

    IMO every commercial dj should talk about what drugs he uses or used (even medicated drugs like Retalin affect u ),,,there is a cultural problem here and its time the big dj’s open up and talk about their own drug habbits …did you know it takes the body more then 5 years to break up remains of L.s.d that stay in your brain – hence the flashbacks…

    dj’s nowdays are basically club culture promoters…every club manager is sorted out with the police,,every club manager allows a certain amount of drug dealers onboard to do their stuff…most dj’s dont want to talk or deal with this factor but this is the reality of 2011 – WORLDWIDE !!!!

    you can be a realy good dj but if their are no drugs (yes alcohol is the 5th most dangerous drug according to a bbc research) the dancefloor will look completely different.

    myself – cannabis is my medicine,,,never touched and never will touch these bloody chemicals…to many people i know never came back or live a crazy lifestyle because of these ‘SHORTCUTS’

    chemicals are a shortcut enabling people who would never dance – to dance like angels – THEIR IS A PRICE TO PAY THOUGH…

  • DJ B!GHEAD

    superb article ean, thank you.

  • TFlan

    I am all about energy on stage, we bring nothing but intensity and people absolutely love it. There is no doubt in my mind that if we did not have our stage antics we would not have the crowd half as pumped as we do. We play electro and dubstep so we try and match the musics energy with our own. Here is a clip from our last show we headlined…

  • TFlan

    I am all about energy on stage, we bring nothing but intensity and people absolutely love it. There is no doubt in my mind that if we did not have our stage antics we would not have the crowd half as pumped as we do. We play electro and dubstep so we try and match the musics energy with our own. Here is a clip from our last show we headlined…

  • http://www.szfresh.org Jesse

    This is a good article. I love dancing when I DJ. I’ve even been known to jump out of the booth for a minute to join the crowd. But I’ve noticed greats such as LTJ Bukem hardly move an inch during their sets.

  • http://www.szfresh.org Jesse

    This is a good article. I love dancing when I DJ. I’ve even been known to jump out of the booth for a minute to join the crowd. But I’ve noticed greats such as LTJ Bukem hardly move an inch during their sets.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I7RSPDCH54V34MSOU2EJ3TJB3M Mark M

    I’m a dancer first and a DJ second, so i have a different perspective from most. it can definitely help behind the booth or even on a dance floor in some smaller clubs and bars. the problom i run into is that i can dance to just about anything. people come up and tell me to play something they can dance to. i find this statement to just be ridiculous. especially when playing house music.

  • kleva

    NEXT TOPIC: DRUNK WHILE DJING lol.

  • kleva

    NEXT TOPIC: DRUNK WHILE DJING lol.

  • licks

    The comments in this thread really sadden me. The article was really clear and spot on … if you don’t get what it is to enjoy yourself and let loose on the dancefloor then you’re never going to set your dancers free as a DJ.

    I think some of you need to forget about programming MIDI for a while and go out and dance till 6am cause this is a much more fundamental lesson on how to DJ.

  • ManDingo

    Why I responded to this article and why the discussion of dancing seems off putting…maybe not off putting but…I don’t really know. My brain just went, ‘what is this!?
    PEOPLE, JUST UNDERSTAND THAT DANCE HAS NO RULES!! IF DANCING TO YOU IS TAPPING YOU FOOT…THAN TAP YOUR FOOT. IF DANCING TO YOU IS WATCHING SOMEONE BOUNCE TO YOUR MUSIC..THAN WATCH THAT PERSON.

    With the influx of sooo many new dj’s appearing so fast every day, the quality of having so many dj’s has suffered big time. Hence this article. To be technical is one thing, but I draw the line at trying to inform people on how to breathe and feel the art of djing. IT’S TOO EASY!!

  • ManDingo

    Why I responded to this article and why the discussion of dancing seems off putting…maybe not off putting but…I don’t really know. My brain just went, ‘what is this!?
    PEOPLE, JUST UNDERSTAND THAT DANCE HAS NO RULES!! IF DANCING TO YOU IS TAPPING YOU FOOT…THAN TAP YOUR FOOT. IF DANCING TO YOU IS WATCHING SOMEONE BOUNCE TO YOUR MUSIC..THAN WATCH THAT PERSON.

    With the influx of sooo many new dj’s appearing so fast every day, the quality of having so many dj’s has suffered big time. Hence this article. To be technical is one thing, but I draw the line at trying to inform people on how to breathe and feel the art of djing. IT’S TOO EASY!!

  • ManDingo

    …what about this. ‘DJ, YOU CAN DANCE IF YOU WANT TO.’

  • ManDingo

    …what about this. ‘DJ, YOU CAN DANCE IF YOU WANT TO.’

  • ManDingo

    LMAO!!!!!Sometimes I think TechTools should stick with the technical and let the organic be more of a self discovery!!!
    To dance or not to dance!? Everybody wants to be a dj and everybody is a dj and now I’ve gotta go see every clown-pop-dick-and harry try to dance behind the booth. Maybe an instructional dvd in the store for those with two left feet and no rhythmic pulse!
    DJing is becoming to cosmetic-oh I’m fabulous, watch me dance bitches!! Let people discover some shit on their own!

    OH…BY THE WAY, DID I MENTION I LIKE TO DANCE!!

  • ManDingo

    LMAO!!!!!Sometimes I think TechTools should stick with the technical and let the organic be more of a self discovery!!!
    To dance or not to dance!? Everybody wants to be a dj and everybody is a dj and now I’ve gotta go see every clown-pop-dick-and harry try to dance behind the booth. Maybe an instructional dvd in the store for those with two left feet and no rhythmic pulse!
    DJing is becoming to cosmetic-oh I’m fabulous, watch me dance bitches!! Let people discover some shit on their own!

    OH…BY THE WAY, DID I MENTION I LIKE TO DANCE!!

  • Jhonnyv
  • Jhonnyv
  • Matthewontherocks

    You know, I find it funny that Ean was criticized so much for this piece. This community seems to be so fixated on the technical aspects of the art, but what good are these technical skills if you don’t have people to express your artistic vision to? Music and dancing go hand in hand. It’s like peanut butter and jelly or cookies and milk; they were just meant to be together.

    In the article I wrote on creative structure, I quoted David Mancuso who once said, “A DJ is there to participate. He should have one foot in the booth and the other on the dance floor.”

    I was a participant on the dance floor before I was a DJ. I never lose sight of that because our objective as a DJ is to possess our listeners with the musical spirit to the point where they move to the rhythm and start talking in tongues. We are the fuckin’ Peter Popoffs of music.

    It’s interesting how many DJs don’t dance. I honestly think they are afraid to. Actually, a lot of people are afraid to dance because they feel they don’t know how, and don’t want to be made fun of. We as humans were made to dance. Look how a lot of ancient cultures used song and dance as a form of ritual. There’s a sacred bond between humans and musical movement.

    I urge you all to stop seeing articles like this in black and white; give them some color. The first article I wrote, I was working with Chad (DJTTs Copy Editor) He sent me the first draft I submitted with all these revisions and corrections he wanted me to make. I’m going to be honest, at first, I was a little offended. I thought to myself, “My artistic vision was expressed just fine.” (Bear in mind, this was my first time working with a professional copy editor!)

    Anyway, I came to realize that Chad really knew his shit, and all he wanted to do was make me look like the best writer I could be; HE WAS ON MY SIDE! I love Chad now, he made me look like a bad ass!

    The point is, the articles we post at DJTTs aren’t to talk down to you or preach to you what is right and wrong, they are to help you be the best DJ you can be; WE ARE ON YOUR SIDE. Put aside your ego and deeply consider what we have to offer.

    If you don’t like it that’s fine. You should really just go back to your bed room and continue to play for your Teddy Ruxpin…

    From Russia with Love,

    DJ Matthew on the Rocks

  • Matthewontherocks

    You know, I find it funny that Ean was criticized so much for this piece. This community seems to be so fixated on the technical aspects of the art, but what good are these technical skills if you don’t have people to express your artistic vision to? Music and dancing go hand in hand. It’s like peanut butter and jelly or cookies and milk; they were just meant to be together.

    In the article I wrote on creative structure, I quoted David Mancuso who once said, “A DJ is there to participate. He should have one foot in the booth and the other on the dance floor.”

    I was a participant on the dance floor before I was a DJ. I never lose sight of that because our objective as a DJ is to possess our listeners with the musical spirit to the point where they move to the rhythm and start talking in tongues. We are the fuckin’ Peter Popoffs of music.

    It’s interesting how many DJs don’t dance. I honestly think they are afraid to. Actually, a lot of people are afraid to dance because they feel they don’t know how, and don’t want to be made fun of. We as humans were made to dance. Look how a lot of ancient cultures used song and dance as a form of ritual. There’s a sacred bond between humans and musical movement.

    I urge you all to stop seeing articles like this in black and white; give them some color. The first article I wrote, I was working with Chad (DJTTs Copy Editor) He sent me the first draft I submitted with all these revisions and corrections he wanted me to make. I’m going to be honest, at first, I was a little offended. I thought to myself, “My artistic vision was expressed just fine.” (Bear in mind, this was my first time working with a professional copy editor!)

    Anyway, I came to realize that Chad really knew his shit, and all he wanted to do was make me look like the best writer I could be; HE WAS ON MY SIDE! I love Chad now, he made me look like a bad ass!

    The point is, the articles we post at DJTTs aren’t to talk down to you or preach to you what is right and wrong, they are to help you be the best DJ you can be; WE ARE ON YOUR SIDE. Put aside your ego and deeply consider what we have to offer.

    If you don’t like it that’s fine. You should really just go back to your bed room and continue to play for your Teddy Ruxpin…

    From Russia with Love,

    DJ Matthew on the Rocks

  • Nathalymacomber

    Don’t like the music. Please change it!

  • Nathalymacomber

    Don’t like the music. Please change it!

  • Your_mom_is_a_pole_dancer

    LOL,
    How about this: instead of flopping around like an idiot (for the sake of flopping around); use those hands to twiddle some knobs or make the music more interesting and use the head bobs and toe taps for keeping time. Not to say there is anything wrong with really getting into the music.
    Leave the “responsibility” of dancing to the dance floor.

  • Your_mom_is_a_pole_dancer

    LOL,
    How about this: instead of flopping around like an idiot (for the sake of flopping around); use those hands to twiddle some knobs or make the music more interesting and use the head bobs and toe taps for keeping time. Not to say there is anything wrong with really getting into the music.
    Leave the “responsibility” of dancing to the dance floor.

  • No

    does a pianist playing for a ballet need to dance to be a good pianist?

    let the music make the talking the rest is external

  • Jerseydancingstar

    When did dancing become a DJ Skill? (I agree with a dj who dances connects with her/his crowd/dancers) …

    does this mean we now need compete with “so you think you can dance!?”

    it’s bad enough we tods like Pauly D slip through.

  • Jerseydancingstar

    When did dancing become a DJ Skill? (I agree with a dj who dances connects with her/his crowd/dancers) …

    does this mean we now need compete with “so you think you can dance!?”

    it’s bad enough we tods like Pauly D slip through.

  • Danielupton24

    what a load of nonsense.

  • Danielupton24

    what a load of nonsense.

  • Jhonnyv

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  • Jhonnyv

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  • http://twitter.com/ruslanmusic Ruslan

    Great article

  • http://twitter.com/ruslanmusic Ruslan

    Great article

  • Anonymous

    I agree %100 with Richie, I don’t need to see a Dj dancing to have a good time, for me it’s all about the music (let the music do the job). John Digweed never dance, his personality is kind of shy, and he can really control and feel the crowd. I feel the same way, I can really feel the music when I play but I don’t need to dance plus I’m a terrible dancer, so you do what makes you feel more comfortable. Just my opinion!

  • Anonymous

    I agree %100 with Richie, I don’t need to see a Dj dancing to have a good time, for me it’s all about the music (let the music do the job). John Digweed never dance, his personality is kind of shy, and he can really control and feel the crowd. I feel the same way, I can really feel the music when I play but I don’t need to dance plus I’m a terrible dancer, so you do what makes you feel more comfortable. Just my opinion!

  • DJPC4

    stupid topic.

  • DJPC4

    stupid topic.

  • http://twitter.com/Rafi_V_Miami Rafi V

    Ean is totally on point. Nice one!

  • http://twitter.com/Rafi_V_Miami Rafi V

    Ean is totally on point. Nice one!

  • DJ Kid Kardia

    I agree. I get to watch world-class DJs every week and the ones that bore me the most are the ones that are not dancing or at least jumping up and down from time to time. I think the only exception is if you are really working the tools and are so busy but even then it’s good to break for a moment and really interact with the crowd.

  • DJ Kid Kardia

    I agree. I get to watch world-class DJs every week and the ones that bore me the most are the ones that are not dancing or at least jumping up and down from time to time. I think the only exception is if you are really working the tools and are so busy but even then it’s good to break for a moment and really interact with the crowd.

  • Steve

    I don’t post often but thought this video was quite appropriate..

    You’ve got two different style dj’s here. The first Mills, doesn’t really move that much to his music (doesn’t really have time to with the three decks going in this video ha)..

    Wind forward to 5:30 and watch Random Noise Generation on the other had have a ‘bop’ or whatever you want to call it. But they really get into it. Both work, but I thought it was a good example.

    That is all..

  • Steve

    I don’t post often but thought this video was quite appropriate..

    You’ve got two different style dj’s here. The first Mills, doesn’t really move that much to his music (doesn’t really have time to with the three decks going in this video ha)..

    Wind forward to 5:30 and watch Random Noise Generation on the other had have a ‘bop’ or whatever you want to call it. But they really get into it. Both work, but I thought it was a good example.

    That is all..

    • Anthologic

      Nice vids man thanks for that! Cheers

    • Anthologic

      Nice vids man thanks for that! Cheers

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Grant-Reynolds/748309866 Grant Reynolds

    Totally Agree with this article Ian.. Ive always been one of those boring DJ’s to watch that didnt seem like the music was inspiring me. but then at my last gig i had a couple of drinks, loosened up and started dancing behind the decks, playing my MIDI keyboard above my head (triggering Isotope stutter) and generally enjoying myself. the crowd absolutely loved it!! Im a dubstep DJ BTW..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Grant-Reynolds/748309866 Grant Reynolds

    Totally Agree with this article Ian.. Ive always been one of those boring DJ’s to watch that didnt seem like the music was inspiring me. but then at my last gig i had a couple of drinks, loosened up and started dancing behind the decks, playing my MIDI keyboard above my head (triggering Isotope stutter) and generally enjoying myself. the crowd absolutely loved it!! Im a dubstep DJ BTW..

  • http://www.d-jam.com D-Jam

    I think that if I can’t bounce or dance to it, then I won’t get into it. I don’t think a DJ needs to be doing “Jesus poses” or bouncing around…but they should try to interact with the crowd.

    Regardless, I agree there’s been a lot of music out there with no bounce…no groove…nothing that would make people dance to it. I’ve personally never been a fan of music where the crowd is standing there bobbing heads.

  • http://www.d-jam.com D-Jam

    I think that if I can’t bounce or dance to it, then I won’t get into it. I don’t think a DJ needs to be doing “Jesus poses” or bouncing around…but they should try to interact with the crowd.

    Regardless, I agree there’s been a lot of music out there with no bounce…no groove…nothing that would make people dance to it. I’ve personally never been a fan of music where the crowd is standing there bobbing heads.

  • http://www.conundrumlive.com Richie

    Its not necessarily about dancing, as mentioned, its about stage presence and charisma behind the decks whether its standing fairly still droping an absolutely killer set (Andy C) or dancing round with the lights on, scratching upside down and smiling like cheshire cat all night (DJ Marky). Its all about what works for you, not about if you’ve got rhythm. Personally, I’m all over the place, singing along, jumping around making eye contact and that’s maybe because I do the same when I’m on the dancefloor, so that’s how I feel most comfortable. You need to do what makes you feel comfortable enough to play a awesome set because its 99% about the tunes and the crowd, don’t let someone else tell you you need to be able to dance.

    Having said that, I intend on booking Gaslamp Killer based purely on a Youtube video of him playing the Mary Anne Hobbs stage dancing around like a headcase! Take from that what you will.

    • Chad

      With you there, altho it’s cool to see a Dj boogie, if the tunes are making me bop then happy days. But yea, gaslamp killer is nuts mate. Well want to check him out.

    • Chad

      With you there, altho it’s cool to see a Dj boogie, if the tunes are making me bop then happy days. But yea, gaslamp killer is nuts mate. Well want to check him out.

  • http://www.conundrumlive.com Richie

    Its not necessarily about dancing, as mentioned, its about stage presence and charisma behind the decks whether its standing fairly still droping an absolutely killer set (Andy C) or dancing round with the lights on, scratching upside down and smiling like cheshire cat all night (DJ Marky). Its all about what works for you, not about if you’ve got rhythm. Personally, I’m all over the place, singing along, jumping around making eye contact and that’s maybe because I do the same when I’m on the dancefloor, so that’s how I feel most comfortable. You need to do what makes you feel comfortable enough to play a awesome set because its 99% about the tunes and the crowd, don’t let someone else tell you you need to be able to dance.

    Having said that, I intend on booking Gaslamp Killer based purely on a Youtube video of him playing the Mary Anne Hobbs stage dancing around like a headcase! Take from that what you will.

  • http://www.seb-rock.com Seb Rock

    Pretty difficult… It’s a pain in the back to know others seeing you dance… I do look like a starting helicopter. Seriously, I am happy to have that booth around me while dancing to the beat. And it is very necessary to move to what you’re playing – with a little additional smile… A few years ago I was playing a regular off location party and people often told me I was looking “kinda angry” while DJ’ing. I told them several times that I was trying to concentrate myself on the things happening. After changing things obviously, people came earlier to the floor and smiling while watching me “starting” in the booth. Think of it this way… sometimes it takes a while to get an evening started while the floor is too empty until some “early idiot” is needed who starts it – so why don’t take this part on your side… ;-)

    • Richie

      I’m always thy “early idiot” as I just love dancing, can’t control myself, it’s almost an obsessive compulsive reaction to any beat I hear. I feel we play a vital in making everyone get over themselves and just get on the floor. Haha.

    • Richie

      I’m always thy “early idiot” as I just love dancing, can’t control myself, it’s almost an obsessive compulsive reaction to any beat I hear. I feel we play a vital in making everyone get over themselves and just get on the floor. Haha.

  • http://www.seb-rock.com Seb Rock

    Pretty difficult… It’s a pain in the back to know others seeing you dance… I do look like a starting helicopter. Seriously, I am happy to have that booth around me while dancing to the beat. And it is very necessary to move to what you’re playing – with a little additional smile… A few years ago I was playing a regular off location party and people often told me I was looking “kinda angry” while DJ’ing. I told them several times that I was trying to concentrate myself on the things happening. After changing things obviously, people came earlier to the floor and smiling while watching me “starting” in the booth. Think of it this way… sometimes it takes a while to get an evening started while the floor is too empty until some “early idiot” is needed who starts it – so why don’t take this part on your side… ;-)

  • http://www.inka-schamane.at Thomas

    If i love the song i am playing (hopefully this is always the case:-)) it would be unnatural for me not to dance and move with the beat! And then you feel what song should come next …

  • http://www.inka-schamane.at Thomas

    If i love the song i am playing (hopefully this is always the case:-)) it would be unnatural for me not to dance and move with the beat! And then you feel what song should come next …

  • http://djgirish.com DJ Girish

    I can’t imagine mixing without dancing. Its a must for me to dance, my legs slam on each beat of four on the floor.. also while tweaking the nobs.. scratching.. everything.. my body mixes the songs more than my ears, my eyes and keys, and rhythm.. its the feel,, and my body give me the feel…..

  • http://djgirish.com DJ Girish

    I can’t imagine mixing without dancing. Its a must for me to dance, my legs slam on each beat of four on the floor.. also while tweaking the nobs.. scratching.. everything.. my body mixes the songs more than my ears, my eyes and keys, and rhythm.. its the feel,, and my body give me the feel…..

  • Mojaxx

    Completely agree with the idea that if your music doesn’t move you, then you can’t expect it to move a crowd.

    That doesn’t mean you have to be a huge showman waving your hands like Guetta or Norman Cook, I’ve stood in booths behind some DJs who are much more restrained and focused, like John Digweed and Hawtin, but they’ve still got a little shimmy going on in the hips or whatever.

    If you can’t feel the power of the music you play, you should go home.

    • StrangeMatterDJ

      Dude, you should check out Goldierocks. She danced her ass off behind the decks! Saw her at Creamfields festival last year and she was awesome!

    • Davidlannigan1

      I got to agree here..Digweed’s bedrock nights at Heaven London were legendary – and he does not dance much! As for myself I agree that you gotta get a “sway” on at least!

    • Davidlannigan1

      I got to agree here..Digweed’s bedrock nights at Heaven London were legendary – and he does not dance much! As for myself I agree that you gotta get a “sway” on at least!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chayan-Tranceaddict/1000682919 Chayan Tranceaddict

    We all play edm and we shy away from dancing!!haha!!
    if a dj understands the flow o’ dancing he is ought to understand and mix dance music better.
    Great article!!always thought o’ it,but care should be taken not to get too wild and sweaty especially when the booth is laden with our controllers.

    • StrangeMatterDJ

      Screw that! I make a show of my performances! If I get a bit sweaty, so be it! Yeah, I’m a bit hands-in-the-air. But I play trance which kinda calls for it. The crowd is reaching for the lasers and so am I!

  • Hewzter

    I always dance when DJ’ing, even if I am alone in my studio, hell, I started DJ because I love to dance to music I Love so much, nice to choose your own tunes when doing it. Best part about it is when the crowd loves what you are doing and you can keep them just as happy as you are yourself with it :) A scream of joy from anyone in the crowd once and then – it what keeps me going!

    • Laz

      AGREED!!!!!!!

    • Laz

      AGREED!!!!!!!

  • Coldfuzion

    Glad to know im not a weirdo ;). Been Djing in my bedroom and now on my schools radio station – and I cant help but dance when DJing. The music just takes over control!

  • http://www.doma-entertainment.de Carnage

    Dancing is like a topping for a good cake… You can do a good job without it, but the people will follow you, when you do it!!!

  • http://twitter.com/jeremysexton Jeremy Sexton

    Just like I never trust a chef that’s too skinny, I don’t trust a DJ that doesn’t dance. If you’re not buyin what you’re sellin, why in the world should I???

    • http://fredrikalm.se Fredrik Alm

      Spot on Jeremy! No matter what we are buying, the sellers passion for their own product is the best way to be persuaded!

    • Leon Lisowski

      Agree! When you get right down to it everything we do is an effort to make people dance. I much prefer to see the DJ dancing in the botth with a big smile on his face as I think it really lifts the corwd. If you were to watch Carl Cox then Richie Hawtin the dfifference is clear. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Richie but I would like it more if he looked like was enjoying himslef behind the controllers!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Gonzalez/1367745387 Pedro Gonzalez

      bingo!

    • http://www.facebook.com/xdubbaxbubbax Stephen Dub Bub Almada

      good call jeremy, im always dancin in respect when im djing, I also like to get the crowd hyped during breaks in the music…let evryone know that im here and im making them dance!

    • http://www.facebook.com/xdubbaxbubbax Stephen Dub Bub Almada

      good call jeremy, im always dancin in respect when im djing, I also like to get the crowd hyped during breaks in the music…let evryone know that im here and im making them dance!

    • Mistersweetlife

      I’ve said that for years…if you aren’t moving to your music, why should they?

    • Mistersweetlife

      I’ve said that for years…if you aren’t moving to your music, why should they?

  • http://lovetodjblog.com Lovetodjblog.com

    I dont think you should force this dancing upon yourself, sometimes most of us look riduculosly cheasy trying to dance, I feel that this goes more along the lines of what a reader posted as sway, that natural feeling that you cant control until you pay attention to it and notice what you are doing and yes I agree you should transmit that energy to your crowd. Also Ive noticed and this doesnt really have much to do with the article that some dj’s usually begginer to intermediate have more fun and TRY new things that dont always go well but it gets the crowd going even if they completely miss what they where trying to do but they go for it. just thought id share :)

  • ocd

    um, the second soundcloud example track is just a string of random canned loops…

    huh?

  • http://ax11.myopenid.com/ Tom

    I think, this is very short-minded. “Dancability” is a subsitute for several well-known phenomena in music and -yes- dramaturgy. All the author does is dumbing down general rules to special cases and he shows blatant ignorance about anything that music is beyond rhythm.

    • Bastid26

      you obviously have very little understanding of what you are talking about and have blatently not understood the point that Ean is trying to make!

      ‘Dancability’ when referring to their sets is generally the raison d’etre for most DJ’s, I mean really – how many DJ’s do you know that play out live and are not looking for their audience to dance/have a good time? And stating that ‘music is beyond rhythm’ dude how many clubs have you been to recently!!!!

      • http://ax11.myopenid.com/ Tom

        Believe me, I have quite a decent understanding of what I am talking about – and I might have performed in more clubs that you have seen. I know very well that the dancing crowd is the reason for anything we do. They are the community and music is my religion. But what the author -whom I perfectly am able to follow- describes, are in my understanding as a long term instrumentalist and composer just the symptoms, not the real mechanisms of music. It seems like he’s talking about how to build a wall and only describing the wallpaper to me. You, dude, in my opinion are exactly the kind of ignorant, blindly ranting anything beyond your scope that is responsible for “DJ” being a synonym for “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”.

        • Bastid26

          All very prettily written but what exactly is your point here? I for one take nothing rational or relevant from either of your previous posts.

          While I am sure that you are a long term instrumentalist and composer, this article is not about the mechanisms of music as you describe but more the symptoms of a great DJ who is seen to be enjoying his music/mix and in turn projecting his energy and enthusiasm to the crowd whose ‘symptoms’ are people dancing off of the vibe.

          As for me being ignorant I think that the best part of 20 years spent playing and dancing to many types of EDM in many corners of the globe as well as being an active participent in the birth of many underground scenes (inc. hardcore, jungle/dnb, breakbeat, dubstep, tech funk etc) gives me the ability to be critical of your nonsense.

          P.S. I was not aware that DJ was a synonym for “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” as this is most definitely not my personal experience. oh and if it helps I have a Msc Mechanical Engineering from Cambridge.

          Best regards,

        • Bastid26

          All very prettily written but what exactly is your point here? I for one take nothing rational or relevant from either of your previous posts.

          While I am sure that you are a long term instrumentalist and composer, this article is not about the mechanisms of music as you describe but more the symptoms of a great DJ who is seen to be enjoying his music/mix and in turn projecting his energy and enthusiasm to the crowd whose ‘symptoms’ are people dancing off of the vibe.

          As for me being ignorant I think that the best part of 20 years spent playing and dancing to many types of EDM in many corners of the globe as well as being an active participent in the birth of many underground scenes (inc. hardcore, jungle/dnb, breakbeat, dubstep, tech funk etc) gives me the ability to be critical of your nonsense.

          P.S. I was not aware that DJ was a synonym for “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” as this is most definitely not my personal experience. oh and if it helps I have a Msc Mechanical Engineering from Cambridge.

          Best regards,

        • DJ Irias

          “It seems like he’s talking about how to build a wall and only describing the wallpaper to me.”

          Actually, to build on your clever metaphor, he’s talking about how to build a whole friggin neighborhood of mansions; being a great DJ is no simple task, fool. Seems like you were expecting all the answers from this one article. Why don’t you go read some of the other excellent materials on this site before you start calling Ean ignorant? No one likes a hypocrite…

        • DJ Irias

          “It seems like he’s talking about how to build a wall and only describing the wallpaper to me.”

          Actually, to build on your clever metaphor, he’s talking about how to build a whole friggin neighborhood of mansions; being a great DJ is no simple task, fool. Seems like you were expecting all the answers from this one article. Why don’t you go read some of the other excellent materials on this site before you start calling Ean ignorant? No one likes a hypocrite…

      • http://ax11.myopenid.com/ Tom

        Believe me, I have quite a decent understanding of what I am talking about – and I might have performed in more clubs that you have seen. I know very well that the dancing crowd is the reason for anything we do. They are the community and music is my religion. But what the author -whom I perfectly am able to follow- describes, are in my understanding as a long term instrumentalist and composer just the symptoms, not the real mechanisms of music. It seems like he’s talking about how to build a wall and only describing the wallpaper to me. You, dude, in my opinion are exactly the kind of ignorant, blindly ranting anything beyond your scope that is responsible for “DJ” being a synonym for “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”.

    • Bastid26

      you obviously have very little understanding of what you are talking about and have blatently not understood the point that Ean is trying to make!

      ‘Dancability’ when referring to their sets is generally the raison d’etre for most DJ’s, I mean really – how many DJ’s do you know that play out live and are not looking for their audience to dance/have a good time? And stating that ‘music is beyond rhythm’ dude how many clubs have you been to recently!!!!

  • Xtwonine29

    100% agreed…the more i play the more this thing proves true. it’s like when you enjoy your mix (and ofc it’s not a crappy one) and dance, you send a positive vibe to ppl on the dancefloor

  • http://www.facebook.com/thecrayon Christopher Crayon White

    I have to agree with certain tracks wanting me to dance more than others. Like a House remix of Cant touch this by MC hammer. I start doin the robot on the decks. In other cases songs that make the crowd go wild wont always get me dancing.

  • Exokinetic

    Totally agree with this!

    I actually had this epiphany one day after going over some live set vids I had of myself…

    I was doing so after trying to put the set list from one of those nights together while practicing, and it just was not working. I couldn’t understand why. I was watching the video and it became immediately apparent every-time I made a change in the booth…

    ..weather it was popping the headphone up, adjusting the EQ slightly, or slamming the channel fader up to drop a new track…

    …every time it was in time to however I was dancing at the particular moment, it was like the music was telling me to tick my knee to the side on every 4th beat, and I would use that tick to trigger any manipulation I was making.

    It just kinda clicked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1553807759 Ben Djbk Kalish

    “Things are going well, a sexy groove starts to settle in, when boom- the dj dramatically switches the rhythm to something terribly different – killing your vibe and the moment.”

    This is what every Bar Mitzvah/Sweet 16 DJ does here in NY, and the crowd hates it! They gotta read up on this, half of DJing is your intra-personal relationship with the crowd.

  • Been djing for 30years

    I disagree with some respects of this article.
    Some of the most respected and biggest DJ’s that get booked time and time again aren’t all dancing behind the decks. They are

    1. Reading the crowd, visually looking to see what the crowd is responding to.
    2. Thinking of the next track or tracks that would move in the direction that the crowd is feeling

    Jumping behind the decks, waving your hands, and stage diving like a rock star never interested me and I think its bit gimmicky. Yes there are alot of people that like that, but if you ever played in the big old school clubs in NYC or East Coast you’ll find that sometimes you are up so far in the booth that you can barely see the crowd (dancing is sure going to help you then).

    I understand that most people that go out to clubs lately have lost the art of allowing a DJ to control the direction and have the people move with him/her. Now they just want their favorite track played then go to the second or third room after to see what that DJ is playing there. Or watch some DJ scream and jump around which entertains them for a sec then they go to the next room.

    When DJ’s used to control the room with only 1 DJ at a time for the evening. I remember people coming out of the parties satisfied because the DJ gave them what they needed, not just what they wanted. I seen people dancing far longer at those events then the one’s recently.

    As far as changing the music, you don’t have to only change the style during breakdowns. Move with the way the crowd is going. All the big one’s start slow then progressively build the set to a peak and bring it back down for the end. Hard to do this now since half the parties you’ll play at (besides clubs) will only give you 45min or 1hr.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • http://www.djpc3.com DJ PC3

      I think you missed part of the column. Its not talking do a buch of crazy/gimmicky stuff to try and “show character” but finding a physical expression to the songs your playing.

      In Chicago, among Hip Hop DJs, we call it the “sway.” Every DJ has a different “sway,” some bob their heads, others tap their foot, others still swing their shoulders back and forth.

      The point is doing something externally that keeps your whole body on beat. I find difficult to really enjoy my set, keep the crowd going without my “sway.”

      BUT I COMPLETELY AGREE that you need always be engaged with the crowd. Even through my “sway” I am always looking at the crowd, figuring my 3rd and 4th songs are gonna be. And I also agree that have longer sets (I believe 2-3hrs is optimal for a DJ), really is the best way truly take your audience/crowd on a “musical journey.”

      • WooDz

        I love jumping up and down and fist pumping like an idiot. But you will look a right twat if the crowd isn’t with you. I’ve never heard the expression before but yes I have a Sway when playing music. I helps keeping my timing, I feel the music, get in a groove and bang every mix is just falling into place at right time on the beat.

    • http://www.eangolden.com Ean Golden

      I agree with your main point- a dj does not have to dance to do a good job, but it helps. That really is up to personal taste. I am mainly saying that you should understand the dancer. its hard to see how djs that never danced can really understand what its like from the crowd perspective.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Gonzalez/1367745387 Pedro Gonzalez

        Didn’t the survey say most people on here were bedroom DJ’s anyway – you would think those people are the ones trying to mimic what they hear in the club. Being in the club you’re either dancing or leaning on the bar.. I’m thinking we’ve got some bar leaners here.

        Doing wedding, quinces, grad and anniv parties you’ve also gotta add all the line and group dances that it pains most to do.. the cupid shuffle, electric slide, cha cha slide, follow the leader… etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Gonzalez/1367745387 Pedro Gonzalez

        Didn’t the survey say most people on here were bedroom DJ’s anyway – you would think those people are the ones trying to mimic what they hear in the club. Being in the club you’re either dancing or leaning on the bar.. I’m thinking we’ve got some bar leaners here.

        Doing wedding, quinces, grad and anniv parties you’ve also gotta add all the line and group dances that it pains most to do.. the cupid shuffle, electric slide, cha cha slide, follow the leader… etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/xdubbaxbubbax Stephen Dub Bub Almada

        totally ean….ive had music in my blood, no lessons required, been playing drums for 17 years now. you can tell when people have rythem and when people want rythem taught to them because the dont know BPM / time…..and i think this also tells somthing about the DJ….alot of DJ’s dont dance because they have no rhythm, and was taught how to mix beats, but dont understand phrases or basic music structure. you can tell by their mixing and their groove behind the decks.

        it hard not to dance when im mixing, it like the music takes ahold of me and tells me what to do….i love it!

        ps GREAT SUPER AWESOME MEGA FUN @ DJTECHTOOLS!
        u guys are awesome!

      • http://www.facebook.com/xdubbaxbubbax Stephen Dub Bub Almada

        totally ean….ive had music in my blood, no lessons required, been playing drums for 17 years now. you can tell when people have rythem and when people want rythem taught to them because the dont know BPM / time…..and i think this also tells somthing about the DJ….alot of DJ’s dont dance because they have no rhythm, and was taught how to mix beats, but dont understand phrases or basic music structure. you can tell by their mixing and their groove behind the decks.

        it hard not to dance when im mixing, it like the music takes ahold of me and tells me what to do….i love it!

        ps GREAT SUPER AWESOME MEGA FUN @ DJTECHTOOLS!
        u guys are awesome!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Molinari/100000609966384 Scott Molinari

        Yes, it’s like the chef analogy above. How can the chef know his culinary creations taste good, if he doesn’t taste them himself? That is rule number one with being a chef. However, he doesn’t have to eat the whole plate though, which “Been DJing for 30 years” seems to be referring to. Making a fool out of yourself as a DJ isn’t what Ean is getting at.

        The DJ must appreciate dancing, to really do a good job and showing he does enjoy the music he plays, even if it is a slight head bob, is all it takes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Molinari/100000609966384 Scott Molinari

        Yes, it’s like the chef analogy above. How can the chef know his culinary creations taste good, if he doesn’t taste them himself? That is rule number one with being a chef. However, he doesn’t have to eat the whole plate though, which “Been DJing for 30 years” seems to be referring to. Making a fool out of yourself as a DJ isn’t what Ean is getting at.

        The DJ must appreciate dancing, to really do a good job and showing he does enjoy the music he plays, even if it is a slight head bob, is all it takes.

      • http://www.djdaveshare.com Dave Share

        My number 1 complaint. This is my biggest problem with tracks that have lots of dead space in the middle. Sure a 3 minute, beatless buildup sounds cool in your headphones, but when you’re dancing on the floor, you’re left wondering what you’re supposed to do until the beat kicks in.
        Thank you for this article as I’ve been saying this for years. Oh, and as the article says, JUST CAUSE 2 SONGS ARE THE SAME TEMPO, IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY MIX WELL TOGETHER!
        /rant

      • http://www.djdaveshare.com Dave Share

        My number 1 complaint. This is my biggest problem with tracks that have lots of dead space in the middle. Sure a 3 minute, beatless buildup sounds cool in your headphones, but when you’re dancing on the floor, you’re left wondering what you’re supposed to do until the beat kicks in.
        Thank you for this article as I’ve been saying this for years. Oh, and as the article says, JUST CAUSE 2 SONGS ARE THE SAME TEMPO, IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY MIX WELL TOGETHER!
        /rant

    • Adam N.

      For me, NOT to dance to musik I enjoy is very hard.. I am no professional DJ (yet) but I really agree with Eans point here.

      Of course, you don’t HAVE to dance in the booth to be a successful DJ, altough I believe that if you have a genuine passion for the music that you are playing then you will dance as an natural reaction to the music that you/that is playing. This natural reaction is also the reaction you would want the crowd to feel/have during your set, right? Consequently, dancing keeps you in tune with the crowd and makes it very much easier to “read the crowd” because you are actually acting like a performer and as the people in crowd at the same time… Anyway, thats the way I would like to see myself one day as a DJ.

      Also, I feel that it’s not about just “jumping behind the decks” or “waving your hands” like if you are following some kind of manual…You just dance, naturally, instinctively and impulsive to the music that you are playing. Altough if you wave your hands and jump around all for the reason of gimmick, well then of course it will be “gimmicky”.

      I agree though, very much, with your point about what most people in clubs are looking for, but personally I would never want to play music or create music only for the sake of satisfying the masses… This would be like prostitution for me because musically (or otherwise) I don’t believe I have so much in common with a crowd that enjoy “Lady Gaga music”.. But in the end, none of this really matter, because when you look beyond the masses you will find a crowd of great variation who really wants to enjoy what I believe is the real essence of music.. That is why i agree with you that you should give them the music YOU think THEY NEED!!! And hopefully you will convert them into pure awesomeness =)

      $0.02 from Gothenburg, Sweden.

  • DJ Dennis

    I have got to get the jocks at Sirius channel 7 (70s on 7) to read this article! It would teach ‘em how their incessant genre flipping just SUCKS… Disco, rock, folk, pop, repeat. Egads… All the songs were fine, they just didn’t fit together very well. Worse than the worst commercial pop station ever.

    Thought-provoking article. Time to get thee to the woodshed and practice some of those switch-up techniques!

  • NIKK C

    Bounce, Rock, Skate….. Roll

    • Karlos Santos

      Vaughan Mason ;-)

  • Bob

    rhythm*

    :)

  • Anonymous

    100 percent agreed with this article. There is nothing worse than seeing a DJ with a great setlist but their actual set has no flow. I have left so many clubs because of this reason alone. Seems to happen way too much in electro mostly

    • Matt Zee

      so many new djs think by dropping the heaviest electro bangers they’ll come across as a good dj…totally agree bro

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottbrio Scott Brio

    GOTTA have a good stage presence. If you’re not into your music, why should the crowd be? Lead by example! Good article!

    • Goldenshower001

      number #1 way to kill stage presence??? listen to advice from D D D DJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ SCOTTTTT BRIOOOOOOOOOO

  • Willrj Marshall

    Absolutely this. The best sets I’ve ever done, I’ve been dancing madly and really getting into the groove of things. I play reasonably complex breaks, so feeling the groove is vital to track selection.

  • http://www.facebook.com/themiah Jeremiah Stanley

    Nice to see some coverage of partner dance DJing on here. Not just booty-hoppers dance!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Gonzalez/1367745387 Pedro Gonzalez

    I’d like to think I inspired this with a tweet =)

    • TOONTOWN

      haha we have the same name brother! same spelling and everything. awesome.

      • John Smith

        Isn’t Pedro Gonzalez the Mexican version of John Smith,

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pedro-Gonzalez/1367745387 Pedro Gonzalez

          Not really, but coming from a John Smith I could take that as a compliment.

  • Kieran-Craddock

    Brilliant article! Some DJs can get too caught up the technicalities of mixing and forget about their crowd, which is why they’re there!