Monday, February 6, 2012

Blues Dance! (An explanation)

Can it really be possible that I haven't shared anything about the wonder that is blues dancing?! I just realized after yesterday's post that most of my blues dance sharing has been done via facebook. I've missed sharing it with all of you! As if I've even got an audience. ;)

All the same, you must know about it, you really must. It's too wonderful (in my opinion) not to know about.

I first was introduced to blues dance in Provo, UT. Provo, while not being my favorite location, has an incredible dance scene. Really, you can find just about any kind of dance done on a regular basis somewhere in the area. Swing dance, salsa, folk dance, ballroom, country western, square dancing, and blues dance. Given that BYU has such a diverse dance program, many of those things are available both at BYU and about the city. Anyway, my brother Kyle had alluded to going and Blues dancing, and that was the first I'd heard about it. Several months later I was then living in the area and I heard about it again. And then a month or two later, one of my friends convinced me to meet him at Blue Tango in Provo (Thursday nights at The Ozz! 8:00 (I think) for lessons, dancing until midnight! $5! Go!) and I decided to go. Good heavens, what took me so long to be introduced to this form of dance?!

Where with country dance, leads really have to know moves in order to do just about anything interesting, with blues dance the style is just so much more accepting and flexible. Yeah, knowing moves helps leads to do more interesting things, but even if they just know the basic of basic style, they can use that just as easily to make each dance awesome. Because blues dance is about communication with your partner and movement to the music. That's about it. You can incorporate just about anything you want into blues, as long as it has a bit of the blues style of movement, moves to the music, and communication with your dance partner is present. So watching blues dancers, you'll rarely see two couples dancing in the same way. If a lead has a really strong swing background, that style may be evident in the way they dance blues. If they've got a latin dance background, that might be there too. And that's ok. Room for variation is there.

So, for me, as a traditional follow, not having to generally worry about knowing any moves, one aspect I love about blues is that it takes that pressure off of the lead to be extraordinarily experienced and knowledgeable about the dance form in order to have fun on the dance floor. Move to some beat of the music, do your best to communicate what your partner, and you'll be pretty good from there.

Really, I can't sing high enough praises of the dance form. For me it was therapeutic while I was living in Utah. I was working and busy and going down each Thursday night was just a wonderful release, to get lost in the movement and the music. It wasn't about who I was dancing with, it was just about me. It has the potential to be a very intimate thing between two people, but as I was never dancing with a guy I was dating until much later in the game, I never viewed it in that way. Instead it was about me relaxing enough to listen, physically, to the music and to the communication from whoever I was dancing with.

Blues, as a style of dance, is much like the music. It's emotional. It's sensual. It's energetic. It reflects the music.

Ok. Example time. This first one is from a competition in Portland. I love the style of what they're doing, though you have to recognize that they're competing and on some level that means you don't really see even the basic pattern of movement and the moves are more complicated.



(Portland Blues Dance Competition 2009 v1)

This next one is again a competition (in Texas), so there is again the realization that the moves are sometimes a bit more complicated and that these dancers are really good. Good gracious, the first woman is incredible. I hate to say it, but with almost all of these you just don't notice the leads at all. Which is a bit frustrating because the they're doing so much and yet that isn't overly noticeable.



(2010 Lone Star Championships - Strictly Blues Finals)

Ok. Now I want to go blues dancing some more. 


You can find blues dancing groups all over the country if you look hard enough. It is still an up and coming form of dance and many don't know about it. If you're in the Cincinnati area, here's the website, although I've found the facebook and meetup groups to be the most helpful. 

Bone of the day today is the Os Coxae, or the Hip Bone. This is actually a fusion of the Ilium, Ischium, and Pubis. The hip bones are cool because you can palpate most of them through you skin.


Day 33

-imminent: about to happen
-immolate: sacrifice
-immure: build a wall around
-impecunious: indignant
-imperturbable: calm

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