Home Blues Blues (or Fusion) Bombs: Where and When Are They Okay?

Yes. Wait, that’s not an answer? Okay then. I can acknowledge that there may be some inappropriate places/times/situations for a blues or fusion dance bomb—maybe in the audience during a Bolshoi ballet, at a Catholic funeral mass, in the aisles of Congress in the middle of the State of the Union address, or during a married couple’s first dance . . . However, there are so, so many places/times/situations in which it is perfectly fine. I’ve danced in coffee shops and at gas stations, in the back room of an upscale restaurant, under statues, on boardwalks, on the top levels of parking lots, in diners, in a government building, in front of monuments, in local parks, in a mall, underneath a freeway overpass, through a fountain, on the side of a bike path in a national park, and three times in gothic nightclubs.


Carpe Dance

Have you ever heard those stories of real-life wedding crashers, people who just walk right in and join the party, people who are so confident that they are doing exactly what they should be that no one questions them? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Be polite about it. Don’t interfere with or prevent something else that’s going on; this includes blocking traffic of any kind. That’s about it. Beyond that, go for it. I brought over a dozen blues dancers glowing in white outfits to a goth club and partner danced till last call. We got some inquisitive looks. If memory serves me correctly, we had a temporary convert or two. No one was offended. No one minded. We paid attention to floorcraft and were having a blast. Most of the time, when someone sees you having fun, they are more likely to want to join in or watch than to wonder what gave you such audacity.


The Audacity (of Dance)

As for the audacity itself, well, there’s strength in numbers. Even when the number is just two, if you both agree that this is what’s happening, you give each other the permission and chutzpah to actually do it, to break out of the mundane and make life a musical, to do what you want rather than be bashful in service of a misguided sense of propriety.—I’m not saying you should dance to a song with cuss words in it turned up to full volume, doing hot-and-heavy micro at noon on a Sunday at a playground. Sure, that might cross a line, but dancing in open to blues on a boardwalk doesn’t even come close. Next time you hear a song that you’ve danced to before or have the urge to try dancing to, look around. All you need for a partner-dance bomb is one person willing to dance with you.


Pulling Out the Planner

If you want more partners, well, then organize a planned blues or fusion bomb. Call people up or create a Facebook event and invite your friends. You can dance bomb a concert, a nightclub, a park, anyplace where there will be music or where you can bring music without interrupting or preventing anything. Blues and fusion bombs let you mix things up, and who knows, you may find yourself accidentally converting some bystanders to the world of blues just by doing your thing. Ours is the best kind of evangelism.

In August 2010, Claire ran into high school–acquaintance Mark Carpenter on the Big Island of Hawaii, and, with urchin-stung swollen feet in oversized men’s flip-flops, she was invited to tag along with this traveling dancer. Since then, she has attended 21 exchanges/workshop weekends, including 18 focused on blues or fusion dancing and a 7-week stint in Herräng to learn basics of following Lindy. Claire currently resides in San Francisco where the dancing is excellent and she strongly believes what a stranger at her first exchange said: “If you’re dancing, then you’re a dancer.” Simple as that.


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