Apparently I’m repeating myself. I found an older fragment of an article I wrote a while back about fusing blues with other forms of dance. Later, I updated the article with a response to the trend toward “vintage” or “historical” blues. Here are those thoughts, spoken in the royal “we” of couple/companyhood, in their original form:
There has been some recent discussion throughout the swing and blues communities about the authenticity of the modern approach to blue dance. Some dancers have even researched “vintage” blues forms in order to practice and teach a more “correct” form of the dance, and others simply dance to blues music and call it blues. Where do we stand?
We agree that there are factors one may use to determine whether a dance can be considered “authentic” or not, and this is perfectly valid in a historical context. We recognize that some of the movement in our own dances may match a historical definition of blues dance, and some may not. We’re a bit more interested in the current expression of the form, however, so rather than adhere to a label and definition of the dance and build our understanding from there, we prefer to explore the specific mechanics of partner dance itself: connection, weight shifting, footwork, movement, musicality, and more. These partner dance concepts aren’t limited to any one form, but are used across all forms of partner dance no matter its historical origins.
How does it all fit together for us? We use historical definitions of blues dance as a sort of starting point: this is what the dance used to be, and sometimes still is. Then we build on that point by placing our attention on what actually happens when two people dance together, no matter what the form is called. This means that the form will inevitably grow beyond its definition. This is, we believe, the true reason we dance in the first place: to discover, to express, to create a shared moment of deeply human experience. In the end we may simply dance to blues music and call it blues, but what we’re actually doing is far beyond the scope of any single, limited defintion of a dance.