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April 08, 2016

Nikki Benz Shares Tips for Selecting the Perfect Feature Dance Music

Adult star Nikki Benz wrote this article for AVN magazine. It ran in the April 2016 issue; to see the online edition, click here. I’ve worked in the adult entertainment industry for more than a decade, which has given me some perspective. Besides modeling and performing, I really enjoy feature dancing because it allows me to express myself through movement, as well as connect with my fans on an intimate level. Like anything, there are ways to ensure success when feature dancing, and selecting the perfect music is a big part. Through The Lee Network, I’ve been booked to perform at nightclubs all across the country, and as you might assume, music plays a huge role in my performances and how I engage my audience. Over the years, I’ve refined my style and learned a few things about how music impacts, improves, and stimulates a performance. Here are a couple tips on how feature dancers can use music to refine their routines. Read on… Best Genres of Music I typically only dance to hip-hop, but I used to dance to rock and techno as well. I noticed that I get tipped more when I dance to lively, upbeat music; and that’s normally hip-hop. 98 percent of the key to success is knowing your audience, and knowing what does and doesn’t work onstage. I’ve been to clubs where I scanned the crowd and knew that hip-hop would work, but if I was doing feature dancing in Arizona during bike week, then maybe it wouldn’t work. Just because you like death metal in your car doesn’t mean you can play it on stage. Music plays into the entire vibe of your set, so you want to showcase that you’re having a good time, but you also have to be selective.Picking Your Song Selection My music library is very extensive, so I’ll usually only play current, top songs. It changes weekly, but what’s currently hot on the charts includes these numbers:• Drake’s “Hotline Bling”• Nicki Minaj’s “Truffle Butter”• The Weeknd’s  “The Hills”• Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”Then, every once in awhile I’ll mix in an old-school hip-hop song, like “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G. Adjusting Your Style to Fit the Music When I’m dancing, I’m always aware of how my music sets the tone for the audience, as well as how it exaggerates fantasy. The slower the song, the more clothes I take off. For example, with “The Hills” by The Weeknd, I always make sure to play it last, and by that time I’m fully naked, so it definitely helps me seduce the crowd. I feel like any feature dancer should pick dances that parallel the songs, and know how you’re going to dance to it beforehand. Feature Dancing vs. In-House Dancing Depending on the club, I may or may not keep to the vibe of the music that’s already playing. For instance, I’ve been to clubs where they played techno all night, and I loved it because I knew when I came out to hip-hop music, I was going to change the whole vibe of the club. As a feature dancer, you want to stand out. If the girl before me plays a song that I have in my set, then I’m going to tell the DJ to take it out because you never want your music to sound like the girl before you.Club Location Impacts Music Selection Every time I go to a club, I ask the manager questions about the scene and the crowd. If there’s a convention in town, then I want to know what its audience is. You always want to play music that the crowd will be into or you won’t get tipped, and you probably won’t be invited back to the club. For example, when I feature dance in Europe, they’re very big on house music so I don’t play hip-hop music there. You have to factor in whatever music is popular in that place or country.Playlist Selections Aimed at Women Usually women are the first ones to get up to dance, so what I play during my sets are always current, hot songs on the radio. I’m always playing music that is relevant to today because at the end of day, whether they’re male or female, people go to nightclubs to have a good time and to party, and you want them to spend more money. Buying drinks and good music go together, and when that happens, the club owner is happy and I’m happy.Music and Costumes When you’re a feature dancer, you should definitely have costumes. There’s nothing worse than when you look like the next 20 girls at the club. My trademark costume is a pinstripe mafia suit with a carnation. My fans are known as the “Benz Mafia,” and that particular costume goes great with hip-hop music. If I’m wearing more of a girly costume, I’ll play more pop and R&B music—like Rihanna. I adjust my costumes to my music, but I also adjust my attitude as well. People want to see a person who is happy to be there, so put a smile on your face. Your attitude is everything. Feature dancing is entertainment, so never forget that you’re there to entertain the crowd.I hope these tips on music help the next time you are feature dancing. Tweet me your favorite songs to dance to at @NikkiBenz.

 
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