Blues, my Naughty Sweetie…

Blues dance. I always enjoy watching eyebrows raise as I mention that I dance Blues. Most do it in wonderment or realization that yes Blues music can be danced to, but then blank out when they try to picture it.

Blues music is one of those genres of music that has been around so long and through so many different eras that it’s so ingrained to our music culture that we forget about it. In my opinion, everyone loves Blues music in one form or another. I, along with a larger community, actively go out and express my love for it through dance.

Why I dance to it or why I love it is a question that is tough to answer, not for myself, but also for many other dancers. We just feel the need for it. IMHO, great blues music is full of soul and is raw in its form. There is pain, sorrow and suffering, yet at the same time there is life and hope. It’s the same for me when I dance. Dance is an expression of emotions done in the rhythm and feeling of the music, and that is what separates dancing from moving. Why I dance is a very personal thing for myself, and can only be described or understood best when dancing with me. Maybe that is why I partner dance, so I can share myself and what I feel for the briefest of moments till we part when the music ends and I can share it with the next person who I dance with.
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Chillin’ like a villain @ UBC Robson Square

In the last little while, I have felt bombarded with a mess of things to do in the dance scene other than just dance. At some point I will have my chance to do my own Half Year in Review and you’ll see what I have been up to. But, finally, in the last week, I have been able to just pause and breathe for a moment. Usually I am led to one of my favorite summer spots of the year – UBC Robson Square.

Pictured above, Robson Square is one of the main areas for dancing of all kinds to be found here. During the summer months, there’s Friday night Dancing at Robson Square (rotating forms of dances, mainly ballroom) and Sunday Afternoon Salsa. But what keeps on drawing me back is the street dancers who come and practice there every day.

There’s lockin’, poppin’, whackin’, hip hop, b-boys/b-girls, and crews of all kinds that rotate in and out of the area. You’ll find new dancers to some of the best instructors/dancers in the city watching, training, and giving advice to each other. Most of them there, probably because it’s free, open, and perfect for dancing and they are absolutely inspiring to watch. It makes me feel like I should be training as well.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do. Who wants to join me? :)

Wining and dining wit’ a bit o’Jass

Fun Organizer tip: Organizing is tough, wine and dine with your guest instructor and everything will be fine. :)

In the last little bit, I have been working to inject my ideas into to the scene. Joining Dance 4U (Salsa dance company), instructing Blues/Partnering classes with Dance 4U (with the amazing Tamara Cohen) and Diane Garceau of Night and Day Dance. My latest foray: mini-workshops with out-of-towners.

You know, putting stuff together can be tough, with all the planning and organization, emails, IMs, chats, pigeon routes (I’m looking at you Tyson), etc. I’m kinda lazy and may seem all relaxed and care-free most of the time, I’m not; I’m a giant mass of tension and anxiety, especially when organizing. While I just want to yell on the sidelines at the scene to get better, it’s not going to happen if there are no shakers and makers in the scene.

For our 3 readers, you may recognize my pal Joanna Kassoulides from Toronto, who came in and brought some Sugar Shakers choreography (RE: SASS) to Vancity. Everyone was fantastic, the turnout was unprecedented, and the grin on Joanna’s face throughout the class was completely worth the sweat (no tears) for all the organization, and anxiousness throughout.

I just wanted to thank, Angie Weddell from Jump Session (Vancouver) and Joanna for working with me to get this all organized. You guys are fantastic. Erin June for being awesome and hospitable. And of course all the Vancouver dancers that came out and joined in on the workshop.

Ladies: Alison, Mariee, Rosea, Tanya, Katie, Lisa, Lindsey, Luciane, and the girl with the dragon tattoo (Sorry! I never got your name, and I don’t think it’s a Dragon tattoo either), Erin, Becca
Men: Warren, Chris, Barney, Simon, Tristan, Robert, Vincent, Evan

I do hope I have everyone’s names correct!

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