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History of Blues Dance

Blues dances are a family of Black American vernacular dances danced to blues music; dances within this family are linked by shared aesthetics and techniques rooted in Black American traditions and historical context.

The two main styles of blues dance are Juke Joint Blues (Juke, Jookin', Jukin') danced primarily to delta and electric blues and Ballroom Blues (Ballroomin') danced primarily to jazz blues.

Jukin' comes from the south and its name comes from the fact that it was danced in "juke joints" the type of bars that early blues musicians would have played in. Because of the limited space in such bars, jukin' evolved as primarily a dance on the spot and, reflecting the music it's danced to, tends to be sharper and more punctuated with more focus on hip movement.

Ballroomin' blues comes from the ballrooms in the Northeast. When the big bands slowed it down to play a song that could be waltzed or foxtrotted, the dancers came up with their own style of dance based on a fusion of swing, vernacular jazz, and ballroom dance movement. Due to the having more space in ballrooms, this style of blues tends to travel more with elegant lines and momentum based movements. 

Example of Jukin' here.

Example of Ballroomin' here.


The history of Slow Drag by Julie Brown:
A Landscape of Slow Drag

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