The Dance is Garth Brook’s signature song.
The song was written by Tony Arata.
Arata says on his website the inspiration for the song was a scene from the movie Peggy Sue Got Married. He writes, “Kathleen Turner discovers she can’t alter one aspect of her past without affecting the rest. No one gets to pick their memories, thankfully.”
Arta was a little known Nashville singer when he co-wrote this tune. He spent three years pitching the song and being turned down.
At a random open-mic night at Nashville’s Douglas Corner, he met Garth Brooks, also an unknown.
On his website, Arta says, “We were both doing whatever we could to stay in Nashville, trying to get our songs heard by anybody. The only folks listening, however, were other songwriters as no one else was usually at our shows”…”When Brooks heard “The Dance,” he told Arata that if he ever got a record deal he was going to cut it. The rest was history.”
Garth Brooks released it on his debut album in April 1990. The Dance was the fourth and final single released from this album.
The Dance was honored as both the 1990 Song of the Year and Video of the Year by the Academy of country music.
Garth Brooks explains at the beginning of his music video, “song is written with a double meaning – both as a love song about the end of a passionate relationship, and a story of someone dying because of something he believes in, after a moment of glory.”
Brooks performed the song for the final episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on February 6, 2014.