Parents and half your friends think all dance music sounds the same? Sort them out with our idiots' guide to the music of your happily misspent youth.
The secrets of dance music revealed!
Vibe: Definitely sexy and (sometimes) slightly camp. Absolutely loaded with meaning (though it's not always clear what the messages are). It's a soul thing, right?
Popular dance techniques: A bit of a wiggle (hips), a bit of a shuffle (feet), a bit like disco, really …
Cliches: Loads of big old divas/camp old queens screaming about the music itself or their hopes for a brighter future. Lyrics can be as basic and sentimental as 'Music sounds better with you' or deep and meaningful like, erm … 'Brother, sister, one day we will be free/No fighting, violence, people crying in the streets/When the angels from above come down and spread their wings like doves/ As we walk, hand in hand, sister, brother/We'll make it to the promised land'.
Vibe: Tough, dark and sometimes alien. No need to smile. Kraftwerk said it best: 'We are the robots'. But that doesn't mean techno is soulless or lacking the funk. In certain states of mind, techno has plenty of sexual allure.
Popular dance techniques: Stomping. Imagine you're a cranky robot and you're almost there.
Cliches: Anything to do with the space age and the melding of the human mind and machine. Stripped of lyrics, some of the best techno sounds as if it could have been made by machines - operating themselves, no less!
Vibe: Dark and serious. Drum'n'bass heads get into it partly as catharsis and/or as serious music appreciation.
Popular dance techniques: Complex syncopation of body movements involving just about every ligament and joint in the entire body. But you can shuffle your feet or hop around a bit and no-one will care - just keep that head nodding with the big phat bassline.
Vibe: Funky as f**k. Electro is pure party music for people who enjoy a bit of freestyle madness. Expect to see smiles all round and plenty of hip action.
Popular dance techniques: All of the hip-shakin' and arm-wavin' can make it look and feel a bit like robo-sex. Trust us, this is a good thing.
Cliches: Just like techno, electro encourages us to think that 'we are the robots'. The tweaky high-pitched sounds in the music seem to have the sole purpose of bursting the bubbles in your brain. Relax, you're just being assimilated.
Vibe: Freaky and very trippy - in every sense. The ancient roots of trance have grown from shaman lore and tribal gatherings around massive bonfires to include techno-shamanism and the weirder elements of the 20th century psychedelic movement - so you might encounter some intense cosmic energy, man …
Popular dance techniques: Insectoid. Get yourself into a praying mantis stance and pretend you're making love with the submissive male of the species, but try to avoid biting the heads off your imaginary insect lovers - you'll scare the children. Common variations include goth-like whirling dervishes and Apache prancing.
Cliches: Loads of New Age carry-on, including claims by some tranceheads that they can channel the entire universe through their crown chakras. If you can reach a state of bliss - even for a second - and be at (on?) one with the universe, surely that's a positive experience?
Vibe: Depressing? Well, what do you think? Of course not! Let's just say ecstatic, and leave it at that.
Popular dance techniques: Once upon a time, hip-hop MCs told their audiences: "Wave your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care!". But these days, the disco bunnies of the house and techno era will do just that with hardly any encouragement.
Cliches: Cute boys with their tops off enjoying some sweaty bump n' grind action while waving an expensive bottle of water in one hand and a half-sucked glo-stick in the other. And the girls put Hugh Hefner's Playboy Bunnies to shame by gyrating all night wearing hot pants, fancy bras … and six inch (15.24cm) heels. If you like aerobics, you'll love Hi-NRG. If not, then you'd better stay home.