What is Blues Dancing?

It’s solo, group, and partner dancing to blues music! Blues dancing officionatos consider “blues dancing” an “umbrella term” for a family of dances done to different types of blues music. We generally take styles of blues that date back to as early as the 1800’s, and extend roughly to the early 1970’s; though the dance we practice in our community today has changed these styles a lot due to the modern and cultural constructs around the way we participate in and teach dance. For example, back in the day people would have only known and danced to one or two styles of music, but we dance to ALL of them. We also often learn in more classic classroom settings. This changes our movement and relationship to the dance significantly.

Blues Dancing is entirely rooted in African American movement and places a high value on improvisation, polyrhythm, call and response, and solo movement expression inside partnership.

Unlike many partner dances practiced today, Blues Dance has not divorced itself from the improvisational nature of street dancing. Therefore, it does not give the practitioner just one basic step/rhythm pattern to rely on, but a multitude of steps, patterns, intricate body movements, and systems of connection; each relating to a style of music or a historical region of the United States. This can make the dance both incredibly exciting, easy to begin, and difficult to get very good at.

Blues dancing is as diverse as blues music. We have many “idiom” dances (street dances done in a local area during a period of time) that are included in our repertoire, each with their own set of connection guidelines, movements, and music style. Many competitions in blues dancing rely on the competitors having knowledge of the components of these idiom dances so that they can diversify their dancing to match the music.

To watch these styles in action, you can find curated playlists on my Flouer Blues Youtube channel.

What music do you dance to?

I have many curated lists of blues dancing music on my Spotify Profile. Feel free to check them out and use them for your practicing and local teaching. If you want to give me credit for finding the song for you… I won’t object 😉

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