Genre of pop music, the 1980s offspring of soul music, funk, hip hop, and disco music. The term ‘dance’ has come to cover music made by and for disc jockeys (DJs) and played to club audiences on vinyl records as a component of live sets. During the sets two or more tracks are overlaid to produce a combined sound controlled by the DJ, and this is known as mixing. The term dance now covers an ever-expanding list of sub-genres.
US DJ Larry Levan's disco-inspired Paradise Garage club in New York City set the scene in the early 1980s, blending soul and funk records with drum machine beats to help create the garage genre. The growing popularity of genres such as Chicago House and Detroit Techno combined with the influence of Goa trance and the Balearic beats of Ibiza exploded in the UK as acid house in 1987, with clubs like London's Shoom paving the way for thousand of illegal warehouse parties. Dominated by DJs such as Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold, the popularity of UK-influenced dance music continued to be a major phenomenon throughout the 1990s and beyond, giving birth to large UK dance music festivals such as Tribal Gathering, and ‘superclubs’ such as Cream in Liverpool and Fabric and the Ministry of Sound in London.
The profusion of budding DJs and clubs has seen the sale of DJ turntables outstrip electric guitars in the UK since 1997. The rise of dance music and DJ culture has also resulted in the rebirth of the vinyl 12-inch single, a music format once thought to have been made redundant by the compact disc.
As dance music continues to diversify, new genres are constantly being given their own labels to make distinctions between increasingly subtle differences in musical styles. Examples include hard house, deep house, tech house, psychedelic trance, and acid techno.
In the 1990s breakbeat combined the sampled drum loops of hip hop with the beat patterns of 1980s electro. A slowed-down version incorporating reggae-influenced dub effects was born in Bristol as trip hop.
The fusion of breakbeat with indie and rock riffs was popularized by Fatboy Slim (the DJ pseudonym of English dance impresario Norman Cook) of Brighton's Big Beat Boutique in 1998 to create the sound known as big beat.