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What is Blues Dancing?

Blues dancing developed alongside blues music, emerging in the early 1900s as a black vernacular dance in the American South.  It has evolved to become a popular couples dance embraced by many contemporary swing dance scenes.  Some of the original stylings, like "slow drag" and "ballrooming blues," form the basis for much of today's blues dancing.

Very simple in its core movement, blues dance relies heavily on weight shifts, walking, and improvisation.  While there are any number of "basic" moves (typically involving rhythmic pulsing or walking to the music), there is no single footwork pattern.  Articulated movements (i.e., body isolations) are commonly added by either or both partners in response to the music.

Blues allows for a wide range of expression by both partners, in particular affording followers to contribute to the dance "conversation" to a much greater degree than most other partnered social dances.


Creative, expressive, sensual, intimate, fun, musical and improvisational are all descriptions of contemporary blues dancing.  Now danced in many swing scenes worldwide, blues offers variety in movement and a (usually) slower pace for partner dancing.

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