Blues dancing is a family of social dances and movements that grew alongside the many styles of blues music throughout U.S. history. It includes historical dances done by Black & African-American communities to blues and jazz-blues music, as well as modern interpretations of many of those dances and movements.
Blues dancing is characterized by an improvisational spirit, rhythmic drive, emphasis on personal style, and a deep connection between dancers and the music.
On the dance floor today, you might see different dances like the slow drag, fishtail, funky butt, or struttin’, as well as a breadth of personal stylings on these dances, and a wide variety of improvisations.
Suggested further reading:
- Steppin’ on the Blues by Jacqui Malone
- Jookin’ by Katrina Hazzard-Gordon
- Jazz Dance by Marshall & Jean Stearns
In the modern blues dance community, we seek to respect and understand the roots of blues music and dance, to respect and understand the people who created the blues, and to respect & make better space for Black folks today. We acknowledge that racism is a problem in society as a whole, and our dance scene as a part of that. Though many of us are just beginning this work, we are actively working to do better and be better, through educating ourselves and our community about issues of racism, appropriation vs appreciation, and what we can do to address them.
Suggested further reading/education: Curated list of resources