Opening and Closing a Dance Floor

September 10, 2016 by Staci Nichols

In a nightclub, when the first DJ opens, the club is generally empty (and, even if it isn’t, the early birds are rarely dancing). When most people enter the club, they’ll be jumping in mid-set. For that matter, they’ll be leaving mid- set as well. On the radio, of course, music plays continuously and the DJ isn’t concerned with getting people to dance. Therefore, the art and science of opening and closin173-24-25g a dance floor is really a concern unique to us as mobile DJs.


I’m not going to claim to be an expert, so all I can really share are my own strategies. I’d imagine each and every one of us have our own system for opening a dance floor. I can say that I use every tool in my box, as far as pre-dancing crowd reading is concerned, to determine my opening strategy (the playlist, crowd demographics and behavior, time of day, day of the week, level of darkness in the venue, amount of alcohol flowing, etc.)

My go-to opener is to start with is Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” (The song’s not too old or too new, has remained super popular yet not overdone, and the lyrics are a great match: “This is the moment / Tonight is the night / We’ll fight ’til it’s over / So we put our hands up / Like the ceiling can’t hold us.”) “Can’t Hold Us” is 146 BPM—just like Billy Idol’s “White Wedding,” so at the mostly instrumental bridge towards the end of “Can’t Hold Us,” I’ll play a bit of the “White Wedding” chorus so both songs are audible.

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Staci Nichols Staci Nichols (10 Posts)

DJ Staci Nichols is based in San Diego. She specializes in spinning “country fusion,” Latin/Spanish, and mainstream music. Her wedding know-how has appeared in San Diego Style Weddings, Offbeat Bride, Wedding Planner Magazine, Gig Masters, Brides Without Borders, Book More Brides, and more. Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter: SanDiegoDJStaci

Filed Under: Issue #172, Performing