Your Questions: How Do I Keep People On The Dancefloor?

So, the floor is packed and everyone is having a great time. One of the harder aspects of DJing is perfecting the art of keeping it this way.

This week's question was emailed in by Andrew: "I wonder if you have any articles about sustaining a great set and keeping people on the dancefloor? I often build up the energy of a set (sometimes by gradually increasing the BPM over five or six tracks) over 20 to 30 mins and then play some killer, high-energy tracks.

"However, I find that when I continue to play similar high-energy tracks, people eventually leave the dancefloor. But, if I reduce the BPM to create some contrast in the set, the energy drops and people also leave the dancefloor. Any advice?"

Digital DJ Tips says...

Great question, Andrew. That's the conundrum: you can't risk wearing them out with high-energy tracks all night, and you risk clearing the dancefloor if you take things down too much. However, you create this issue for yourself by playing too many bangers too soon. You are leaving yourself with no room for manoeuvre.

Instead of constantly raising the BPM from track to track, why not try to do it in stages with peaks and troughs? This keeps the dancefloor much more engaged and it's also a lot of fun (and a challenge!) to implement. Also, don't forget that even "slower" tracks can have a lot of energy, it's not always about the tempo.

Find a group of people dancing that are really into what you are playing at that time and focus on them. We all know how infectious it is to see people going mad for it in the middle of the floor. Also keep a keen eye on the girls that are dancing. Keep them dancing and the guys will follow their lead and take to the floor. You have to be attentive and patient when properly programming a set. Picture yourself on the floor in those moments where you are not sure what to do next.

Programming music for DJ sets is one of the most important things a DJ does (more important than mixing). It is, in reality, the main part of the art. As such, it is difficult to give you hard and fast rules as to how you should do it, as everything depends upon what time you are playing, who turns up, how long they stay, and so on. You will naturally get better at this the more you gig out, so just take your time and learn after each gig experience. You could even get feedback from members of your audience after a set - this is a good way to improve, and is quite unexpected (and flattering, if I were the person being asked by the DJ).

Is there any advice you'd like to give our reader in order to maintain a packed dancefloor? Let us know in the comments below....

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Comments

  1. Great advice Christian for this important subject and not easy to ask so cheers to Andrew too.
    In my opinion its like sex: sometimes you have it, sometimes not or not easy.
    You have to persuade your crowd in a gentle way.
    For example by playing tracks from when they where very young and maybe know or forgot about.. so not the biggest bangers but the 'ohh yeah, what was it' tracks (each year has 5 or 10 big hits but also 50 nice records as well, not matter the genre)
    Sometimes colleages forgot: it's just giving them a good time! So when early and everybody is talking and laughing: let them! take your time, play great quality tracks and let them get in a good and 'hungry' mood for a good proper party evening.
    If they're 'tired' of the year/genre/tempo/volume you play, switch, just switch.. Don't go faster or louder!
    Do not play too loud (like when it's impossible to connect with each other)

  2. Ade Sands says:

    Hi Andrew
    (Copypasta from my DDJT facebook comment)

    Quite often, the audience needs a rest. Hi energy tracks translate to high energy dancefloors, and if you keep the energy up, the dancers will drift for a rest. People also leave the floor for drinks, social engagements, bathroom and other non-music reasons.
    Different Genres and sub genres will entertain most of your audience, dip in and out of them to increase and decrease the energy, the floor will react and the music will appeal more to those who like that particular type of music.
    It's important to remember that people leaving the floor doesn't always mean you are doing a bad job.

  3. Godspower Emmanuel says:

    I've always been in that situation...
    but I believe that who so ever that want to dance will dance and those that doesn't ,will not...
    it doesn't mean you are doing a bad job because people are leaving the stage or dance floor like Ade said...
    when ever I go Djing I always start with a low tempo music, I mix from old tracks but if i found out that the audience ain't responding well that's when I'll mix in pupuler currently released hit tracks ........when it's time for me to heat up the dance floor I'll then gradually increase my tracks beat by beat ,tempo by tempo...
    a mixture of old and new tracks.....
    I made to know
    it is 50% of what you want and 50%of want the audience want...
    I don't feel bad anymore because maybe they have others things to attend to..
    Am Dj Slamzy form Nigeria

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