Father’s Day is this weekend so in honor of Dance Dads, I’m adding a list of songs that might just be perfect for a father/daughter recital choreography, a wedding dance, or other performances. These range from sentimental to spirited. Hopefully you’ll find something new or a song you’ve never considered before. (And in case you think I’m neglecting these — look for father/son, mother/daughter, and other combinations in the future!)
Father and Daughter — Paul Simon; Surprise
Audiences will enjoy this bouncy tune with its affectionate message without overdosing on sugar:
“I’m gonna watch you shine; Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign so you’ll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you”
Daddy — Kristen Chenoweth; Let Yourself Go
This one is a cute jazz number that would be tongue in cheek since the “daddy” in this song is not necessarily a father figure. However, the singer wants “a diamond ring, bracelets, everything” and tells Daddy “You oughta get the best for me.” Play up the superficial stereotype of having Daddy wrapped around his little girl’s (gilded) finger and you could have a cute number on your hands.
My Heart Belongs to Daddy — Sophie Milman; self-titled
There are lots of versions of this song and you could pick one you like but I’m suggesting this version by Sophie Milman because this recent update has a tempo that moves yet maintains the feel of a jazzy standard.
Colorful — Rocco DeLuca; I Trust You To Kill Me
Not an obvious choice, perhaps. The lyrics are ambiguous but couldn’t every father say that his little girl is “the most colorful thing that I’ve seen…”?
Daddy’s Girl — Katey Segal; Room
If you’d prefer something that’s a little bit country, the genre is not wanting for daddy-daughter tunes. But this one from actress Katey Segal may not be as familiar or overdone even though she performed it on the popular sit-com 8 Simple Rules.
She’s a Dancer — Phil Keaggy; Way Back Home
Christian artist Phil Keaggy has a Beatles-esque sound. With lyrics like “As you reach for the sky, love, and pirouette ‘cross the room, just remember that you are my love, and no other can replace the face of you” this one seems pitch-perfect for a dance recital. Keaggy’s lyric is not without Christian references, particularly in the last stanza, so it may not be for everyone but, it is sure to charm most.
To Make You Feel My Love — Billy Joel; Greatest Hits Vol. 3
Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) — Billy Joel; River of Dreams (or Greatest Hits Vol. 3)
There’s a father/daughter two-for-one deal on this Billy Joel Greatest Hits album. To Make You Feel My Love is actually a Bob Dylan tune and has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including most recently American Idol’s Kris Allen and British singer Adele. These versions are sweet but I’ll always have a sweet spot for Joel’s version. Pick whichever you’d like but a male vocalist will accentuate a fatherly interpretation of this lyric, especially when performed with teen or older dancers.
Lullabye is perhaps more appropriate for choreography pairing a daughter (or daughters) with her father, and could work for both younger or older students. The song has a bittersweetness that any parent in the audience could appreciate.
Sweet Child O’ Mine — Guns n’ Roses; Appetite for Destruction
Dads will feel like the rock stars they are when dancing to this tune. It’s not your average little girl theme but could be a super sweet number all the same.
Winter — Tori Amos; Little Earthquakes
Tori Amos will put a contemporary/lyrical dance spin on the traditional father-daughter dance. It would be interesting to see how fathers could be incorporated into the dance and movement with this one. It is tender without being overly sentimental and if done well might just be a show-stopper.
Wild World — Cat Stevens; Tea for the Tillerman/Greatest Hits (or try the Mr. Big version)
This one may not be specifically written for a daughter but the lyric is close enough that it could work in this setting. Plus, those familiar with the song may enjoy this unique interpretation of a favorite tune.
When The Stars Go Blue — The Coors (with Bono); Dreams: The Ultimate Coors Collection
Again, this lyric is somewhat ambiguous but as a duet that mentions dancing in a wedding gown it could be a lovely father/daughter choreography or wedding dance. Though the Ryan Adams song has been covered by others, I’m partial to The Coors version (and not just because I will be a fan of U2’s Bono “until the stars go blue”) but because of its crisper tempo and the complimentary vocal tone of the duo. This is often found as a live track but the studio version is on the album listed above.
Have your own song suggestions? Add them below!
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.