What are those dancers doing?
You may see them on the dance floor, dancing in a partnership or solo. They (hopefully) look like they know what they’re doing; executing dips and turns that suggest they are not just casually grooving to the music. If they look like they’ve studied dance, they probably have! But what kind? And where? Here is what you are most likely seeing:
Blues Dancing – You may see dancers that have studied blues dancing, although not many people worldwide have studied this style. Blues dancing is a term used to describe many different vernacular dances that evolved with blues music. However, you can recognize typical blues dancing by the relaxed posture of the dancers. They may dance close together in a partnership, or they may dance solo with swinging hip and groovy footwork. Blues dancing is taught by Portland Blues and Jazz at the Bossanova Ballroom every Tuesday from 7:30 to 8:30, followed by dancing until midnight. It’s also taught by Portland Dance Eclectic at Norse Hall every 1st Saturday from 7:00 to 8:00, followed by dancing until 11. Local instructors including Brenda Russell often teach workshops and are available for private lessons. PortlandBlues.com has the most comprehensive, provider-neutral list of blues dance instructors in the region.
West Coast Swing – West coast swing is a popular partner dance style done to many types of music, including blues! You can recognize west coast swing by the dancer’s upright posture and smoothness. Dancers move back and forth in a “slot,” giving it a different look than blues dancing. West Coast Swing is taught all around Portland; most ballrooms and studios offer west coast swing classes. Beginning classes are taught every Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:30 at the Norse Hall followed by dancing until midnight.
Lindy Hop – Lindy Hop developed with the jazz music of the 1930s and ‘40s, but some may swing out to blues. Lindy hop can be recognized by the athletic posture and bouncy energetic feeling. Lindy Hop is taught several times per week in Portland; including Sundays at the Norse Hall from 7:30 to 8:15 followed by dancing until 11.
Ballroom – You may see those with ballroom dance backgrounds doing rumba, cha cha, east coast swing and more to blues music. Many beginning ballroom classes are taught weekly at the Ballroom Dance Company in Tigard. PortlandDancing.com can help direct you to many options to practice and learn dancing! See you on the dance floor!