I’ve written before about how closed position creates more intimacy between the partners, and how it allows the partners to feel out one another together with the music.
Blues dancing is danced to slow blues – the kind that just begs for intimacy – and as such, it is danced primarily in closed position (depending on how much swing you mix into it). Learning blues dancing is a great way for all swing dancers to develop useful skills, such as leading and following, body movements, and musical interpretation.
Because the dance is in closed, blue dancing is a great way to understand leading and following. In closed position, the leader need only focus on the movement of his own body, and let the follower move with him. As a follower, she can learn to surrender to his lead and go with what she feels. With the centers close together, this dance is very much about dancing center to center.
Since the music is slower and in closed position, there is more time to explore body movement, rather than utilize patterns and footwork. With the partners’ bodies closer together, it is easier to communicate subtle movements, and it affords us the opportunity to really explore the music with different parts of our bodies.
Finally, because the music is slower, and because we’re in closed position, it allows us both the time and the freedom to focus on the music. Without the need to worry about leading and following patterns, we can get down to the fundamentals of movement to music.
Better body leads and follows, more body movements over patterns and footwork, and time to explore the music with your partner. Doesn’t that sound like a great recipe for amazing partner dancing?
Have you tried blues dancing? If so, how has it affected your understanding of swing dancing? Teachers, have you thought about using blues dancing to help your students focus on the fundamentals of swing dancing?