Photo by Shane Karns
There is an age old debate in social dance scenes. When, if ever, is teaching okay on the dance floor? Ask a dozen different dancers and you’ll probably get a dozen different replies. Some people forbid it outright, some people feel like it’s their duty. Most people fall somewhere in between. Here we’ll discuss the merits of both ends, as well as the most common solutions to the issue.
On the Dance Floor
In many dance scenes, any kind of teaching on the dance floor is considered rude. Especially if there are lessons before the dance, many blues scenes try to keep a clear line between class time and dance time. In...
Drinking and dancing? Good or bad?
This is an blurb about drinking in public, so the usual disclaimers apply: no driving, moderation, know your limits, don’t mix with medicine, etc.
A wise man once said that life is always better after slightly less than two drinks. Ok, it was actually the leader of the Inibriatti (from That Mitchell and Webb Look), but the point still applies. A drink or so can ease nerves and act as social lubricant. More than two drinks and, boom, apocalypse, again, according to the Inibriatti.
The Good (ah, there’s that swaying feeling)
Some dancers dive right into the social dance floor with remarkable ease; take to it like fish to vodka, I mean water. Others, me included,...
Fusion, as a partner dance concept, is a very new thing. It's so new that we are still debating what the word means. This debate is complicated by the fact that many people do not even realize that there are multiple definitions being used. By my count, there are three distinct camps in the Great Fusion Debate.
Andrew Sutton, one of the first people to discuss fusion and an early promoter, instructor and organizer of the Fusion Exchange, defines fusion as "fusing your movement to your partners movement to the music". This is the philosophical definition. It does not define a dance, but a way of dancing. (Or, more specifically, a way of conceptualizing partner dance.) In this definition, fusion is a way of...
“How long have you been dancing?” I’ve been asked that question hundreds of times while dancing with a new lead. It’s always stymied me why that would matter. A much better question to ask a newly met lead/follow would be, “When was the last time you took a class? What did you learn?”
Years of dancing frequently equate to better dancing, but that is not always the case. Once the first rush of passion for this new hobby (or new style of dance) passes, many people stop attending classes, stop improving, and reach a plateau of dance quality. Often, it’s scary and difficult to learn new things, and without the excitement and interest generated by the freshness of a new...
So You Want to Grow Your Blues Community (or How to Help your City Catch the Blues)
By Pavel Tsinberg, San Diego-ish.
I live in a city that is better known for its fish tacos and draconian beach rules than for being a stronghold of blues dancing. We don’t suffer from a lack of blues bands, just haven’t really developed a thriving blues dance community. A little while ago, our only consistent blues (dance) venue ended its run and, coincidentally, some of the stronger dancers left town or sashayed into semi-retirement. My dance world developed a void, and I got involved to spread to word. Below are some thoughts on aiding and boosting the local blues scene.
Form a committee (yep, shades...
Consent is a topic that has popped up everywhere in the last year and blues dance communities all over the country are no exception. Consent is often brought up as a piece of the larger debate centered around how to make our dances safer and more welcoming places, for both new and existing members.
consent - to agree to do or allow something : to give permission for something to happen or be done
When we’re talking about consent in the dance community, there are two categories of things that ‘can be done’ that we talk about. Dance things and non dance things. This article will focus on the dance related consent issues.
1. Dance blues.
Okay, sure, there are some well-known blues DJs who don’t actually dance. And they are successful, right? Well, sometimes. However, it makes DJing blues MUCH easier if you actually do the dance yourself. You get a feel for what makes a song “danceable,” and what rhythms are interesting to dance to and which are not. You learn which songs are your favorites to dance to, and which songs make you and your friends want to leave the dance floor. It’s also good if you can try dancing to your own music that you are going to DJ – you can test it out and see if it is fun to dance to, and then if it is,...
Connection and self-improvement. That’s it. These two things are the driving forces behind a person’s transformation from casual dancer into lifer. When blues, or any activity, continually provides people with opportunities to feel connected and feel that they are improving themselves, those people (provided they are not getting more of these things from other sources) will be hooked. Great, but what actual actions do we take, what areas do we build up, to continually reinforce these feelings for ourselves and for others?
Social dance venues are places where people gather together at least once a week. (Think: church or writing group or community center.) Everyone has people they hope to see whenever they go out dancing, people they have wonderful,...