WCS = Blues?

Discussions and information on the current art and craft of dancing the Blues

Postby Damon » Wed Apr 06, 2005 8:08 am

swingmutt wrote:IMHO modern blues dancing is just borring body isolations from WCS while eliminating the footwork (ducks)...not that its not fun though ;)


I can't really argue... most of what is being done today by lindy hoppers isn't in anyway shape or form actual blues. Just because you do it to blues music (which is to say about a third of the time at most "blues" dances or "blues" rooms) doesn't mean it is blues dancing any more than doing a foxtrot to swing music makes it a swing dance.

Go to Cheap Thrills, you will see a LOT of real blues dancing. Go to Down Home Blues (shameless plug), you'll see a lot of real blues dancing. Not to say you want also see twitch and bodyroll fests there as well... luckily, they tend to be in the minority.

A friend of mine was telling me about some teacher somewhere (they wouldn't name names) who started their begining class with contact improv... this is exactly the kind of thing that develops this form of slow dancing that is being passed off as blues.

Sure freedom of expression is great... but introducing improvisation before you introduce lead/follow? Sure if she is hot a dance full of bodyrolls and pelvis bumping can be fun... but when a good song comes on I'd rather have the ugliest woman, or even a man to dance with who will actually follow (or lead me).

WCS is not blues dancing, but it is a way to swing the blues, especially if you are doing the older classic style.
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Postby vitrified » Wed Apr 06, 2005 12:14 pm

I think a lot of us want to learn more traditional styles of blues dancing rather trying to (some degree, at least) force a lindy or WCS peg into a blues hole (umm, that didn't quite sound right). Anyway, I do hope to get to see more traditional styles at Cheap Thrills.

And what is this "Down Home Blues" of which you speak?
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Postby LindyChef » Wed Apr 06, 2005 7:58 pm

Damon wrote:A friend of mine was telling me about some teacher somewhere (they wouldn't name names) who started their begining class with contact improv... this is exactly the kind of thing that develops this form of slow dancing that is being passed off as blues.

Sure freedom of expression is great... but introducing improvisation before you introduce lead/follow? Sure if she is hot a dance full of bodyrolls and pelvis bumping can be fun... but when a good song comes on I'd rather have the ugliest woman, or even a man to dance with who will actually follow (or lead me).


Perhaps they're from the PacNW? I see quite a few dancers up here pass off contact improv as blues dancing ... makes me want to smak them whenever I see them.

And I agree with you on rather dancing with an ugly good follow than a hot bad one. In fact, you can dance with me any time :)
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Postby Damon » Wed Apr 06, 2005 8:30 pm

Next time I'm up in the PacNW I will, perhaps even at CT.

Down Home Blues is the soon to be unveiled San Francisco Blues Dance Festival. If you are at Cheap Thrills you'll find out some details, otherwise a full announcement will be made here before any other board.
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Postby tinadiva » Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:58 pm

I know they're 2 separate dances, but in my dancing there's a lot of WCS/Blues overlap. I notice my Blues dancing get better as I incorporate things I've learned from WCS and vice versa.

Or hell, maybe all my dancing is starting to blur together. :)

Tina 8)
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Postby Damon » Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:28 pm

You could probably get a lot of the same amount of improvement in your blues by studying any improv based rhythmic dance, I know I've had some amazing dances with salsa and bachata dancers, and one amzing blues dance with a rhumba dancer.

WCS has an obvious tie-in with the blues being such an important part of that dances historical development musically speaking. WCS when done right is so similar tosome of the principles I use and teach when I talk about swingin' the blues as to be nearly indistingushable.
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Postby bryn » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:09 pm

I used a bit of contact improv in my last workshop... but after we'd done considerable work on how to dance within the blues aesthetic. It worked out great.

I now consider myself a WCS dancer in addition to being a blues dancer and lindy hopper. The ties between WCS and blues are variable, depending on how "old school" a particular dancer is. Some more contemporary WCS dancers don't really have any connection to swing, much less blues. Others retain more of the spirit and style encapsulated by blues and lindy hop.

In London, as elsewhere, I'd say we have both types as well as a range of dancers who fall somewhere in between. We're lucky enough to have Samantha Buckwalter (Mario Robau's niece and an all-star dancer in her own right) over here much of the year, and she's definitely doing her best to pass on the old school flavour. And given that both the WCS and blues scenes here have drawn the majority of their crowds from the modern jive scene, there is a fair bit of overlap. Many of the modern jivers learning WCS are also learning blues. Ironically, I think the dancers who posted that original ad are some of the least blues-influenced WCS dancers in the area (which is not to say anything about their talent or credibility -- they are awesome).

However, all that to say... blues and WCS are still not at all the same dance. Not even close.
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