Last year was the year that I started venturing out to blues exchanges and workshop weekends. Last year was also the year where I decided that “this dance” was a dance that I’m actually really enjoying being a part of, and it was probably time to learn it. I have always liked dancing to blues music, whether at a house party or at a pub, but I have always considered it more of a side hobby – something to do when I need a break from lindy hop/salsa/hip hop. What a difference a year makes.
When I was at BluesSHOUT! last year sitting and watching the competitions/social dancing/class demos, something amazing transpired right before my eyes that it’s hard to quantify it in words. What had happened was the undeniable group feeling that, we too, the participants, can rise to that level of skill and technique of the teachers, competitors, and other dancers we were watching. Think about that for a second.
I believe for me, this is what differentiates blues dancing right now from a lot of other dances that I like doing. Blues, for better or worse, is not as technically impressive or artistically flawless as other dances. (I mean, it is, but it isn’t. Ya’know?) But it’s raw, it’s real, and it’s constantly re-inventing itself. Everything I personally love about dancing.
Check out clips from last year’s BluesShout:
BluesShout 2009 – Ballroomin’ Finals
BluesShout 2009 – Juke Joint Finals
So what is so special about BluesShout? Heidi, in one line writes it perfectly:
BluesSHOUT! is meant not only to draw Blues dance closer to the roots of its past but to send it bursting into the future. – http://www.bluesshout.com/2010/history/index.shtml
BluesSHOUT! this year treated us blues dancers, organizers, and fans to an environment of growth, exploration and risk taking. The teachers and organizers created a general atmosphere that this event, was about not only taking your dancing to the next level, but the entire community’s as well. Ideas are amazingly powerful, especially when they involve the idea of “what could be”. For that reason alone is why we dedicate countless hours of our lives practicing and debating, why we become so emotionally attached to our local blues scenes and why it propels us to support our favorite competitors with genuine goodwill.
So thank you BluesSHOUT!, for inspiring us.