After a bit of an internal hiatus from blues and partner dance (I just wasn’t feeling compelled to do much), I feel like I’m back….and better than ever!
This time I’m delving more deeply into blues music. I remember going through a phase like this at the beginning of my swing dance craze, back when I started dancing in the first place, back when the newness of it all compelled me to learn all I could about this new thing I so dearly loved. I listened to a lot of swing music then, I learned about its origin, along with the dance, and I felt I really could embrace my experience on the dance floor from the inside out. I didn’t just dance to the music, or on the music – I danced inside it. I breathed it!
Now the same is happening, but with blues. It’s no longer enough to simply show up at a dance and dance to the songs I like. I want to know what they are, where they come from, who sings them, and what they’re about. I had no idea that blues music reaches back quite so far. I had no idea that watching a recording of old blues singers could be so compelling, but it’s true – the look in Howlin’ Wolf’s eyes from some of those old films is…well….frightening….awe-inspiring…moving. Moving. Moving!
How many blues dancers realize that they’re dancing to the deep outcry of people who struggled, who fought, who had it tough but came through the fire anyway? No wonder I needed a break – the dance was becoming all mechanics and no feeling. I’m back to that original place I entered all those years ago – feeling, feeling, feeling!
At one point during my search for new music, I tried to find playlists for blues dancers. Not much luck there! I realized that there is a huge hole out there in the internet – not enough information about the songs that are great for dancing. Perhaps DJs would rather hide their secrets. I’ve decided I’d like to expose them, or I guess I mean I’d like to share them – share my own adventures in music so that others can have the experience of dancing to the songs that are really moving. So, time permitting, that’s my plan – start listing the artists that sing and play their hearts out, first of all, and then list the songs that are best for really going somewhere on the dance floor. I’ll list slow, medium and faster blues along with fusion, world, and other not-quite-blues genres as well as non-blues music that has enough bluesy elements or simply enough feeling to make me want to blues dance to it. Perhaps blues dance is no longer blues dance once you change the music, but it’s close enough. The feeling is there. The same elements apply.
Speaking of the elements of blues dancing, Diane and I are also teaching blues again, and it feels great. We’re delving deeper into the dance now, and we’re finding new ways to break down the things we do and offer concepts that will help other dancers expand what they do as well. Our latest mini blues dance class went really well, so we’re organizing more, spreading our unique insights, hoping to positively influence the Vancouver dance scene one dancer, or one small group of dancers, at a time!