I'm getting into DJing. Personally, I really like drum and bass for listening and would like to integrate it into my sets. However, drum and bass is very fast. Most EDM is 110-140 BPM, but most drum and bass tracks are 170-190 BPM.

I know that drum and bass is a dance genre. How do people typically dance to it, considering how much faster it is than most other EDM genres?

  • You can't slow the track down? Sep 9, 2015 at 3:32
  • @JacobSwanson Honestly, that would defeat the point of playing drum and bass ;-) Also, slowing down a track by more than about 5 BPM starts to introduce noticeable artifacts, and slowing it down by 20-30 BPM would probably degrade it badly.
    – Kevin
    Sep 9, 2015 at 4:19
  • I found this quite interesting: "Many people just don't know how to dance to drum & bass. I used to DJ at a stupid little strip club, and between girls on the stage, I would play whatever music I wanted. I would often play some drum & bass, (…) they would ask that I not play such fast music, and that they didn't know how to dance to it." reddit.com/r/DnB/comments/ugxwu/why_isnt_dnb_more_popular Sep 10, 2015 at 15:12
  • 2
    How do I dance to drum and bass? Badly.
    – Carl H
    Sep 14, 2015 at 7:49
  • 1
    Here's another video to show you how people dance to dnb... youtube.com/watch?v=TQdIiEUFtqk
    – Patrick
    Nov 17, 2015 at 16:10

7 Answers 7


While your question is more about informal club dancing (what my wife thinks of as "free style"), I think that a quick look at formal dance styles will provide a firm basis for answering this question. In fact, my wife and I will often switch back and forth between informal club dancing and formal dancing, even within the same song - especially East Coast Swing and Cha Cha.

The critical thing when dancing is to pick a dance that has the appropriate time, rhythm, style, and tempo for the music. Picking a dance style for a piece of music is a skill that dancers learn after having some meaningful exposure to perhaps five or six different dances.

Music with a 3/4 (also 3/8, etc) time signature are generally for some form of waltz. There is a waltz style Viennese Waltz that is specifically designed for faster tempos (up to 180 BPM).

Both Foxtrot and Rumba are dances that work well with a slower tempo, but one would probably look and feel out of place dancing the Rumba to big band music, or Foxtrot to Latin music.

Some dances, such as Samba, are danced to songs with a specific rhythm. People who have learned one of these dances can generally recognize the rhythm.

I did a search for a page listing dances and recommended tempos and found this page. It lists four dances that are in, or overlap, the desired tempo range:

So clearly, people do dance to music in the range that is quoted in the question. Therefore I don't see any reason why folks would be unable to dance to that style of music. I recommend playing some and see what happens.

  • -1 I asked about drum and bass, but your answer doesn't even discuss electronic music. The dances you listed are more appropriate for formal dances and orchestral music than informal club dancing.
    – Kevin
    Sep 9, 2015 at 14:56
  • Very good point. I have edited my answer to better frame it in terms of what was asked.
    – Donald.McLean
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:07
  • 2
    I would love to see you trying to waltz to jungle
    – Patrick
    Nov 17, 2015 at 16:11
  • 1
    Waltzing to Jungle would only be possible if the song had a 3/4, 3/2, 3/8, etc. time signature, and then only Viennese Waltz (which is not an easy dance). Salsa is a better dance for fast music with 4/4, etc time signatures, or the Quickstep, which is a Foxtrot variant for fast tempo music.
    – Donald.McLean
    Nov 17, 2015 at 16:31
  • A fair point that the time signature is unlikely to work for a waltz; I was more meaning I'd love to see someone dancing a traditional dance style to a very untraditional music style like drum and bass. And I fully agree that this DJ should just try putting some on and seeing what happens.
    – Patrick
    Nov 18, 2015 at 11:09

How do people dance to drum and bass?

Really fast!

That's the most obvious answer, anyway. And I'm not joking.

The other option is to dance half-time, i.e. on the snare (2 + 4). There is no pronounced 1 + 3 in DnB anyway.

Most people do a combination of both: steps and larger body moves in half-time, smaller hand moves and quick steps in between.

How do people headbang to 250 bpm death metal? Same thing: either they get sore necks, or they bang in half-time.


Most of what I've seen is "stepping", which I wrap my mind around by thinking of it is 'bass music skanking' (I know this isn't what the actual roots are, it's more rooted in jumpstyle and the crip walk, iirc).

There's actually a whole subreddit devoted to it: https://www.reddit.com/r/dnbstep/

One of the fun things about dnb is the fact that the bpm is so high that you can play with jumping between dancing at time and moving at half time. One of my buddies was trying to get a group together in austin that was trying to learn west coast swing, but they were learning it to dnb.


For drum and bass, the footwork is rather basic but open for much interpretation which is where the entire fun is.

It is a two-step but for the tempo, you introduce a little fling. So the basic rhythm goes as following.

For the right-hand:

1: Left foot down on the down beat

2: Left heel raise on the 2

3: Right foot down on the syncopated 3

4: Right heel up on the upbeat

This results in an asymmetrical dance where the right foot moves faster than the left foot in the syncopation has the 3 delayed. If the 3 is advanced, then the right foot is slower than the left foot. In a very simple dance, the feet might not leave the ground. But for more trickier stuff, you do end up leaping and flinging the feet. The arms then move as a balance to how active the feet are moving.


You want to know how people dance to jungle, easy. Stick some jungle on and dance to it. See what you are doing? Thats how people dance to it.

I can't believe you'd be seriously thinking of dropping some dnb into a set and not have ever been anywhere and danced to any. You'd really really benefit in every way from finding a local dnb night, going down and getting sweaty in the crowed for the night.


You sway your shoulders left, right, left right, left right to the slowest part of the beat, while also turning your head a bit in sync with your shoulders. Preferably while taking a long drag from a cigarette for maximum effect.

Source: My friend Alex who always looked really badass when he danced to drum and bass, it was his favourite genre of music.


People dance to Drum and Bass at half speed. You know how trap music sounds really fast? Well it's not. It's typically like 65bpm, but the drums are programmed to sound really fast, giving it the illusion of speed. Kind of the same concept, but in reverse. Hope this helps.

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