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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alternative dance
Stylistic origins Alternative rock, electronic dance music, New Wave, electronic body music
Cultural origins Mid 1980s United Kingdom
Typical instruments Electric guitarbassdrumsdrum machinesynthesisersampler
Other topics

Alternative dance (also referred to as underground dance in the US)[1] is a musical genre that mixes rock subgenres with electronic dance music. Although largely confined to the British Isles, the genre has gained American and worldwide exposure through acts such as New Order in the 1980s and The Prodigy in the 1990s.



Allmusic states that alternative dance mixes the "melodic song structure of alternative and indie rock with the electronic beats, synths and/or samples, and club orientation of post-disco dance music".[2] The Sacramento Bee calls it "postmodernEurosynthtechnopopnew wave in a blender".[3] Cultural historian Piero Scaruffi suggests that electronic body music first witnessed in Belgium, and later in Canada, between 1980 and 1984 laid the foundations for the alternative dance saturation in the 90s.[4] The genre draws heavily on club culture for inspiration while incorporating other styles of music such as synthpop, acid house, and trip hop. The performers of alternative dance are closely identified with their music through a signature style, texture, or fusion of specific musical elements.[2] They are usually signed to small record labels.[5]

Notable scenes and artists

Most alternative dance artists are British, "owing to the greater prominence of the UK's club and rave scenes in underground musical culture". New Order are cited by Allmusic as the genre's first group because of their 1982–83 recordings, which merged post-punk with the synthpop in the style of German collective Kraftwerk. Alternative dance had a major impact on Britain's late-80s Madchester scene and 90s trip hop and rave scenes.[2] The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers are two prominent examples of the 90s British scene,[6][7] while in the US, Chicago's Liquid Soul to San Francisco's Dubtribe expanded dance music "beyond its old identity as a singles-driven genre with no identifiable, long-term artists".[1] The American scene rarely received radio airplay and most of the innovative work continued underground or was imported.[5] The Prodigy's third studio album The Fat of the Land was the first international alternative dance hit after debuting at number one in 25 countries, including the US, in 1997.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b Kot, Greg (25 July 1996). "Picking Up The Beat: Underground Dance Music Steps Into The Spotlight With Chicago Summit" (Tempo). Chicago Tribune: p. 1. 
  2. ^ a b c "Alternative Dance: Genre". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "Hot To Trot: A Guide Attitude Included To Sacramento's Alternative Dance Scene". The Sacramento Bee: p. TK14. 12 October 1990. 
  4. ^ Scaruffi, Piero (2003). A History of Rock Music: 1951–2000. iUniverse. p. 210. ISBN 0-5952-9565-7. 
  5. ^ a b Talbot, Mary (14 December 1995). "Mixed Tapes A Sticky Matter Depending On The Spin, Deejays Plying Their Trademarks Are Either Artists Or Pirates". Daily News. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Harrington, Richard (24 August 1997). "A Spark in Electronica? The Alternative Dance Genre Isn't Saving the Music Industry—Yet". The Washington Post: p. G5. 
  7. ^ "The Chemical Brothers: Full Biography". MTV. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 

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