Blues dancing is an umbrella term for a family of historical and modern dances done to blues music. Rooted in African movement, blues dance places a high value on improvisation, rhythm, polyrhythm, and solo movements.
Most partner dance forms have risen from cultural groups during periods of growth and creativity. Over time, the dances developed basic steps and patterns that come from the rhythmic structures of the music they are danced to. Thus this structure provides new dancers with shortcuts into the “feeling” of a dance.
Blues dance has not divorced itself from the improvisational nature of street dancing, therefore, it does not give the practitioner just one basic step pattern to rely on, but a multitude of steps, patterns, intricate body movements, and systems of connection. This can make the dance both incredibly exciting, easy to begin, and difficult to get very good at.
We also have many “idiom” dances (street dances done in a local area during a period of time) that are included in our repertoire that do have simple basic structures, along with connection specificities that participants can learn and incorporate into their social dancing. Many competitions in blues dancing rely on the competitors having components of these idiom dances. Understanding the music and culture surrounding these idiom dances is a very important element of learning to be a knowledgeable blues dancer.