With dance music embedded deeply in European society for over 2 decades now, it’s no surprise that the history and developments in the music, genres, and the various communities, subcultures and lifestyles as a result of those have been documented for all of us to enjoy – and to grow a better understanding of the origins and workings of what is a huge part in the lives of an ever-growing amount of people. For your viewing pleasure, we have selected five seminal dance music documentaries that will be just as relevant in fifty years time. 

The Summer of Rave 1989

Documentary by the BBC on the development of rave culture in the United Kingdom during the summer of 1989 in the Thatcherite era, where feelings of disillusionment and isolation led young people to come together in abandoned warehouses to dance to a radical new sound from the states while under the influence of a drug that went seemed to go pretty well with it.



Maestro, tells the story of how a group of people found refuge and a call for life outside the mainstream in New York City. What evolved was a scene that set the groundwork for what was to come in dance music culture later, starting first with House and later Techno. Maestro gives a rare insight into those secret underground beginnings, which thirty years later has grown into a huge worldwide industry.

This video is no longer available for streaming, but can be downloaded via torrent instead.

dance music documentaries

Once Upon A Time In New York The Birth Of Hip Hop, Disco & Punk

How the squalid streets of ’70s New York gave birth to music that would go on to conquer the world – punk, disco and hip hop. Regarding disco, the doc goes into the famous loft parties of David Mancuso
that would become the template for dance parties, the career of local legend Nicky Siano, and the first time he played a mysterious new track by Donna Summer that would change the world of music forever.

Here is the first of four parts. The other parts of the hour-long documentary can be found here.

Don’t Forget to Go Home

Don’t Forget to Go Home (Original title Feiern) is a 2006 documentary film about the electronic dance music scene in Berlin and the early days of Berghain, which opened in 2004, one year after closing its predecessor Ostgut. Best part is perhaps the interview with a very young Ricardo Villalobos. Maja Classen wrote and directed the film.

Pump Up The Volume: The History Of House Music

Directed by Carl Hindmarch, Pump Up The Volume is a two and a half-hour in-depth look at house music, from its early beginnings to the side-branches it quickly created. Literally everybody that was relevant for the different periods in time are featured, from Louie Vega to DJ Pierre to Steve Hurley to the late Frankie Knuckles. This is a history lesson you just have to follow.

(FYI this is no top 5 ranking, and we know there are many other documentaries on dance music. SO feel free to leave those in the comments).