What is Blues Dancing?

Blues dancing is a family of historical dances that originated and evolved from African rhythms and movements. The dances developed alongside and were danced to blues music, often in juke joints and at Blues house parties, which gives the dance style its intimate feel.

Although some people view blues as a sexual or sensual dance, the genre actually demonstrates the passion of the entire range of human emotions – from sadness to joy – not just sensuality. W. C. Handy, who wrote some of the first published blues songs, talks about the first time St Louis Blues was played:

Something within them [the dancers] came suddenly to life. An instinct that wanted so much to live, to fling its arms to spread joy, took them by the heels. – W. C. Handy

Early African-American blues dances were very simple in their core movement and allowed for a wide variety of musical interpretation, embodying a black aesthetic approach to rhythm, movement and melody which permeated black music.

Blues dances as a genre have been said to share a certain aesthetic:

  • An athletic and grounded body posture and movement, characterised by the weight being held on the balls of the feet, the knees bent, the hips pushed back, and the chest forward.
  • An asymmetry and polyphonic look/feel to the body, characterised by an equality of body parts. No limb or part has precedence, but they all work together both in a simultaneous and serialised fashion. The focus and weight shifting moves through various parts of the body; poly-centric.
  • Rhythmic movement. Not just a single rhythm being used in/with the body, multiple meters or rhythms are used. Articulated movement in the torso (chest, rib cage, pelvis, butt) identifying and emphasising different rhythms.
  • Improvisation between dancers and on their own movements. Based on the rhythm section of the band.
  • A drawing of the beats, dancing in the space between the beats, pushing and pulling creating a sense of tension both in the body and the body moving through space, while remaining loose and relaxed.

Here is a little video explaining what blues dancing is, and what it isn’t:

Blues Dancing

We are ONE year old this week! We re-started Stokie's: Warwick last November and can't quite believe it. So, we've been busy being silly (as you'll see below). Here's a not too serious video for you all to enjoy. Feel free to share with anyone you think might find it amusing, interesting or both. Plus, Wednesday's event looks like being a good one. 🙂 Come down and help us celebrate our first year of this club. There'll be plenty of cake too: https://www.facebook.com/events/1426498670805142/

Pubblicato da Stokie's Blues Exchange: Warwick su lunedì 6 novembre 2017

 

And here’s a demo of a simple blues dance:

Sources: Damon Stone’s BlogColorado Blues DanceWikipedia