Blues Dancing Exhibit and Oral History Project
- Post Date: 9/3/2019
- Author: Jennifer White
- Reading Time: 2 minute read
Most people are familiar with blues music—you might know names like Etta James, B.B. King, or Buddy Guy—but what is less known is that there is also a tradition of dancing to blues music that evolved along with the music and is now referred to as “blues dancing.”
“Blues dancing” draws on African American social dance done by ordinary people in homes, apartments, bars, clubs, churches and ballrooms since the late 1800’s. It includes a family of dance idioms that share a common aesthetic, but developed differently from region to region and over time.
Blues dancing has been done in non-black spaces since approximately the 1990s. While some cities have regular local social dances, many dancers travel regularly to attend weekend dance festivals in various cities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Dancers draw inspiration from earlier blues dance idioms.