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This article is about a music genre. For Eurovision Dance Contest, see Eurovision Dance Contest.

Eurodance (sometimes known as Euro-NRG or Euro) is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the late 1980s in Europe. It combines many elements of techno,[2] hi-NRG,[1] house music[1] and Euro disco.[2] Eurodance production continues to evolve with a more modernized style that incorporates elements from electro music.

This genre of music is heavily influenced by the use of rich melodic vocals, either exclusively by itself or inclusively with rapped verses. This, combined with cutting-edge synthesizer, strong bass rhythm and melodic hooks, establishes the core foundation of Eurodance music.[2]


Eurodance music originated in the late 1980s in central Europe, especially in Germany, where rave parties were becoming popular. It became mainstream in 1989 when German producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti (under the pseudonyms Benito Benites and John "Virgo" Garrett III) formed the Snap! project in Frankfurt. Snap! songs combined rap and soul vocals adding rhythm by using computer technology and mixing electronic sounds, bass and drums. By doing so a new genre was born: Eurodance.[3] In the following years, Frankfurt produced other Eurodance acts including La Bouche, Jam and Spoon, Magic Affair and Culture Beat, and new groups popped up all over Europe.

The term "Eurodance" gradually became associated with a specific style of European dance music. During its golden years in the mid-1990s, it was referred as "Euro-NRG"; in Europe it was often called "dancefloor" or simply "dance".[4]

While some use a much broader definition of what is considered "Eurodance",[1] over time, the term particularly came to refer to an NRG-based genre from the 1990s which included a solo vocalist or a rapper/vocalist duet.[5] Although the term was initially used to describe only European dance music productions, there are some examples of acts from the 1990s produced in America, which followed the same music style and became popular particularly in Europe, nowadays are also referred to as Eurodance music.[6][7]

Characteristics of the music[edit]

Most Eurodance is characterized by synthesizer riffs, one or more vocals with simple chorus, one or more rap parts, sampling and a strong beat.[2][8] Sometimes non-rap vocals are used.[8]

Eurodance often carries a positive, upbeat attitude; the lyrics usually involve issues of love and peace, dancing and partying, or expressing and overcoming difficult emotions. The early to mid-1990s Eurodance vocals were frequently done by a solo vocalist or a mixed rapper-vocalist duet.[8]

Many groups used variations of the rapper-vocalist theme, such as a German rapper with American singers (Real McCoy), or the use of reggae rap as in Ice MC and Fun Factory, or scat singing as in Scatman John.[8] Solo singing artists such as Alexia, Haddaway, Lynda Thomas, Tess, Corona, Whigfield, Double You, and DJ BoBo also contributed to the genre. Eurodance lyrics are almost always sung in English, regardless of the artist's nationalities.[8]

Almost all Eurodance emphasizes percussion and rhythm. The tempo is typically around 140 beats per minute, but may vary from 110 to 150.[8][9]

Most Eurodance is very melody-driven. Unlike most pop music, which is usually written in major keys, most Eurodance songs are in minor keys, similarly to techno. This, along with positive lyrics, helps contribute to the overall powerful and emotional sound of Eurodance.[2] Besides the contribution of the female or male vocals, there is often a noticeable use of rapid synthesizer arpeggios.[2]


In Europe[edit]

From the early to mid-1990s, Eurodance was popular in Europe; the style received extensive airplay on radio stations and television shows, resulting in many singles appearing in the charts. For example, in Italy there were seven singles in the top ten of the chart at the end of May 1995.[10]

By the late 1990s, the popularity of this genre had started to decline slowly. At this time, the classic Eurodance sound gradually morphed into progressive house.[11] In the 2000s, the mainstream music industry in Europe moved away from Eurodance in favour of other styles of dance music such as nu-disco, electro house, dance-pop and R&B.[12][13]


Eurodance was popular in Australia in the early 1990s, particularly during the time of the emergence of warehouse parties and raves. Its popularity in the country waned in the late 1990s and early 2000s, however the interest redeveloped around 2009 thanks to artists such as Melbourne DJ Havana Brown, who went on to achieve international success.

North America[edit]


Canada was a major Eurodance market, the largest outside Europe, which produced its own variant called Candance. From about 1992 to 2000, acts such as Capital Sound, Jacynthe, Shauna Davis, Emjay, Love Inc., Temperance, Jefferson Project, Big Bass, DFS, Kim Esty, The Boomtang Boys, Solina, Joée, Roxy, and BKS among others; originating mainly in major cities of Central Canada such as Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa were hitting the airwaves. The Toronto sound was more pop-oriented, while the Montreal one was more house-oriented. Eurodance received significant airplay on radio stations in the Greater Toronto Area such as Power 88.5, Energy 108 and Hot 103.5. Montreal was also a major Eurodance market, with MC Mario's famous radio show on Mix 96, called "Party Mix" and Bouge de là, a popular TV show on MusiquePlus. Eurodance is still played in rotation on Z103.5 (formerly Hot 103.5), and have a dedicated Live to Air broadcast every Wednesday night, called Wayback Wednesdays.[14]

United States[edit]

Eurodance is not well known in the United States outside of the major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston etc. Exemplifying this is the Eurodance classic "Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)", by Scatman John, an American artist; despite topping the charts in multiple European countries and reaching number 3 in the United Kingdom, it only reached as high as number 60 in the Hot 100.[15] Another notable example is the Life in the Streets album, a combined Eurodance music project from American rapper Marky Mark and Caribbean reggae vocalist Prince Ital Joe, which was not released in the United States, but was a huge success in several European countries including singles like "Happy People" and "United" that topped the German charts.[16][17] One notable exception is Haddaway's "What Is Love, which reached number 11 on Billboard Hot 100 and has seen some popularity due to being featured in a 1996 Saturday Night Live skit.

A few Eurodance artists (including La Bouche, 2 Unlimited, Real McCoy, Cartouche and Ace of Base) made the Rhythmic Top 40, Top 40 Mainstream and the Billboard Hot 100 during the early to mid-1990s. However, the sound tended to be more house and the rap-oriented artists received airplay. For instance, the German hip-house project Snap!, the Belgian hip-house project Technotronic and the Dutch techno dance project L.A. Style received quite a bit of airplay early on.[18][19][20]

The more Hi-NRG-oriented artists were typically played only during special "mix" shows, and it was often necessary to go to a club to hear Eurodance music. While Eurodance did become popular with club DJs in the United States, radio stations were cautious about playing anything that sounded too much like disco during most of the 1980s and 1990s. By the end of the 1990s, however, some of the later acts such as Italian group Eiffel 65 and Danish group Aqua did receive extensive airplay.

Despite lack of widespread radio play, many Hi-NRG and Eurodance songs are popular at professional sporting events in the United States, especially ice hockey and basketball.[21][22]

Compilation albums, such as the DMA Dance: Eurodance series of compilation albums (1995–1997) from Interhit Records and Dance Music Authority magazine,[23] were popular and helped to define the genre as well as to make it accessible in the U.S. and Canada.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Allmusic: Euro-Dance
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bogdanov, Vladimir (2001). All Music Guide to Electronica: The Definitive Guide to Electronic Music (4 ed.). Backbeat Books. pp. x. ISBN 978-0879306281. 
  3. ^ "Neue Ehrlichkeit. Mit Tanzmusik aus dem Computer feign zwei Frankfurter Klangbastler weltweit Erfolge." (PDF). Der Spiegel (in German). 3 October 1994. p. 268. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Genrelexikon: Dance Click on "weiterlesen" to see full article. Requires Javascript.
  5. ^ "Top Top 10 - Eurodance Artists". 
  6. ^ Reel 2 Real Biography
  7. ^ The Outhere Brothers Biography
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Eurodance Dominates Charts 06/24/95". Billboard. 24 June 1995. 
  9. ^ "The Eurodance Encyclopaedia - FAQs". 17 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "HPI - Settimana del 27/05/95". 
  11. ^ Simon Huxtable (11 August 2014). "What is Progressive House?". Decoded Magazine. Retrieved 14 March 2016. It was then that the DJs who used to play what was previously known as Euro dance hi jacked the genre and it mutated into the commercial sound people tend to call Progressive House today. 
  12. ^ "Electro House". Beat Explorers' Dance Music Guide. Electro House rose to prominence in the early to mid 00's as a heavier alternative to other house subgenres that were prevalent at the time. 
  13. ^ Kellman, Andy (17 January 2011). "Andy Kellman's 100 Favorite Charting R&B Singles of 2000-2009". AllMusic. 
  14. ^ "Upcoming Events | Ristorante Buonanotte | Z103.5". Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  15. ^ Billboard (Retrieved July 9, 2014)
  16. ^ Wolfgang Spahr (3 December 1994). "HITMAKERS '94". Billboard magazine. New York: Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 54. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 4 March 2006. 
  17. ^ "Prince Ital Joe". Retrieved 4 March 2006. 
  18. ^ "Snap! - Chart history - Billboard". 
  19. ^ "Artist Search for "technotronic"". 
  20. ^ "Artist Search for "la style"". 
  21. ^ "Quizzo Trivia Night at Shake Shack - BU Today - Boston University". 
  22. ^ Eurochannel. "2 Unlimited - Belgium - Eurochannel". 
  23. ^ "Various - DMA Dance Vol. 1: Eurodance". 
  24. ^ Gajarsky, Bob (May 19, 1997). "Review: Various Artists, DMA Dance Volume 3". Consumable Online. Hoboken, NJ (109). 

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