Fancy Footwork | Dancin’ the blues

Guest post by Greg Dyke

As a dancer (in the blues partner dance scene), trying to understand blues music can be challenging. The variety is huge and the set of music that gets DJed or is played by live bands is not always representative of this variety, or can include songs from various blues-adjacent genres.

Tallmusicguidetotheblueshe way blues music is often described and categorized has never seemed directly relevant to me as a dancer. If you take the All Music Guide to Blues, for example, various subgenres of blues are described by period, history, geographical area and instrumentation.

If you take the different blues idiom dances, many of them are also attached to a period and geographical area, and to specific types of music.

Knowing this history and how things relate *is* important if we want to develop a meaningful practice that is respectful of where the music and dance come from. [^1]

However, coming from a “I just want to have fun and dance nicely to whatever music is playing” perspective, there is just too much information to assimilate over a short period of time, and too little that is directly (or obviously) relevant to dancing.

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