underbeatblues
underbeatblues

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We dance to a wide variety of music. A lot of what you hear will be blues music from the 1920s through the present but there will also often be some country, R&B, soul, and chill out music in the mix as well.



Does blues dancing have to be sexy?

Blues dancing is extremely versatile. You can have a sexy blues dance. You can also have happy dances, and lazy dances, and silly dances, and energetic dances, and geeky dances, and over-the-top dances, and....well you get the idea.

 

How much grinding is involved?

There is no grinding involved. The traditional body position for blues is similar to the one we use for lindy hop with hips pulled back for good balance.

 

How is blues dancing different from lindy hop?

The music is a bit different though there is some cross over--on average blues music is slower. Blues dancing is a bit more free form in that it draws on many different styles of dance. In order to dance slower you may find that you have to work harder on certain areas of your dancing such as balance, connection, and knowing where your weight is.

 

Is it true that there isn’t any footwork?

Not really. Rather than having one basic footwork pattern (as in lindy hop or balboa) blues uses a variety of different footwork patterns. The list includes footwork and movement patterns from vintage blues dances like slow drag, jukein, and one step, as well as patterns from other dances like lindy, balboa, tango—anything really. The more dances you know the more options you have!

 

Is it true that there aren’t any moves?

Depending on your dance background, you may be accustomed to learning 6 or 8 or 10 beat moves and stringing them together like building blocks when you dance. Blues is often taught in a slightly different way, not because there “aren’t any moves” but because it is a bit more free form so the possibilities are infinite—it’s a bit like building something out of modelling clay rather than legos.  In our workshops we give dancers a variety of patterns and ways of moving that they can use in different combinations. You can also adapt a lot of moves that you already know from other dances.

 

So you just do whatever you want and make it up as you go along?

You could look at it that way but for those who like structure, there is still a structure to work within. If you go to a blues dance, you will probably notice that there is a shared repertoire of common patterns, and types of movement. Staying connected to your partner and being conscious of moving to the music also provide a type of structure.

 

Is it true that you don’t have to lead or follow?

No. Connection is really important in blues dancing and the lead/follow dynamic is an important part of connection. Because the music is often slower, followers often feel that they have more room to express themselves musically (while still following). Some followers do more hijacking in blues than they would in lindy hop but this is one particular style rather than a standard convention.

 

We believe the value of learning to both lead and follow and so give the opportunity to learn both roles in our classes. We also embrace switching so both partners can swap roles in their dance and will teach this technique too. 

 

I’ve done modern jive blues. Is it the same?

It is quite different in the same way that lindy hop is different from jive. If you come from a modern jive background and want to try the kind of blues dancing we teach it is a good idea to approach it as a completely different dance. You won’t just be picking up a different set moves you will also need to learn a different way of holding yourself, of feeling the music, and of connecting with a partner.

 

What kind of music do you dance to?

We dance to a wide variety of music. A lot of what you hear will be blues music from the 1920s through the present but there will also often be some country, R&B, soul, and chill out music in the mix as well.

 

 

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© Tracey Campbell