This is a common question – especially among first-time coaches and choreographers. After choosing songs to go into your pom routine, deciding on the tempo of your mix is the next step.
As a general rule of thumb, the current trend is to have your routine be somewhere between 140-150BPM (beats per minute). When deciding which is best for you, first and foremost think about your team’s level of ability. Your dancers need to be able to keep up with the music. If they can’t hit clean, sharp movements at your chosen tempo, it’s too fast.
Secondly, take into consideration your style of choreography. Are you going to be hitting every beat? Do you like to incorporate and-counts? Try something around 140BPM for beginner/lower level teams and 144BPM for intermediate to advanced teams. Or do you tend to hold counts in your choreography and take slower transitions? In that case, faster music can keep the energy of your routine up and make your movements appear faster. Try closer to 150BPM for routines like this.
I also did some research for you! After having a closer look at some of the highest scoring routines from the 2013 competition season, here’s what I found:
- University of Minnesota (Div 1A) – 150BPM
- University of Cincinnati (Div 1A) – 144BPM
- University of Memphis (Div 1A) – 157BPM
- Lake Forest High School (Large Varsity) – 150BPM
- Floyd Central High School (Large Varsity) – 150BPM
- Rosary High School (Small Varsity) – 150BPM
- Eden Prairie High School (Small Varsity) – 140BPM
- St Thomas More Catholic School (Small Varsity) – 142BPM
- PACE Elite (Open Pom) – 150BPM
- JF Oberlin University (Open Pom) – 136BPM
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s really a style choice and trends change over time. But what doesn’t change is common sense. Speed can add energy and difficulty to a routine – but be careful not to sacrifice quality and execution for difficulty.
Have you found a routine whose tempo you want to emulate? Can do! Use this online tool. Play the routine video or music track in a separate window or tab and use any key on your keyboard to tap/count for beats per minute.