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get into the groove how to plan party music to get your guests dancing 1 2 3 4 5
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the musical progression of the evening
So you’ve made you mixes, cleared out a dance space, and it’s less than an hour until the guests are due to start arriving. Now’s a good time to plan out what you want to play when.

There’s no point in breaking out the good dance tunes too early in the evening, when everyone’s going to be too busy noshing on your appetizers and mingling with other guests to make use of that lovely, open dance space you cleared away in your living room (dining room, wherever). Since no one’s going to be paying much attention to the music during the first couple of hours of your party, the music at this point can be anything that helps to create a fun mood – if you’re going to be playing less familiar songs, now is the time to do it. Ska, kitschy-cool lounge music (the Ultra-Lounge series is rather fun), cute French and Japanese pop (now’s a good time to break out your Pizzicato Five) are all party background music favorites in my house, but just about anything that creates a groovy festive sort of ambience is good. . t i p s
• If you’re musically- impaired, ask a music-fanatic friend to help out with the mix-making. Make sure they know that you’re looking for good dance music that’ll get people moving, and if there’s any particularly genre that you particularly love, let them know as well.
• Assign a friend music duty at the party – this person will be responsible for keeping an ear out for skipping discs, adjusting music volume, changing CDs, and so on. Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself – most of your friends will love to do whatever they can to help out with the party.
• Dancing generally has a sort domino-effect: once you get a handful of people going, others will rapidly join in the fray. If no one’s dancing, grab a handful of friends (the more the better) and hit the dance floor.

Two to three hours into the evening, your party should officially be in full swing. If you’ve been a vigilant host(ess), the liquor will have been flowing freely for a few hours and inhibitions will be beginning to fade, which means it’s a perfect time to ease into dance mode. While the last of your background music CDs finishes playing, replace the rest of the CDs with your brand-new, handpicked, super-fab dance mixes. Gradually nudge up the volume. And dance.

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