fbpx
Select Page

DISCOVER THE BLUES

Blog articles exploring the history, culture and values of blues dance.

WHY WE STARTED THIS BLOG

Blues dance is an African American vernacular dance that developed alongside blues music in the Deep South of the USA in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and is still evolving today. Like the music, blues dance is not just one style of dance, but a family of blues idiom dances.  Born from slavery, blues music and dance embody African American cultural values.  As teachers who are not from this culture we feel that it is essential for us to educate ourselves about the history, cultural values and the social context of the dance.  The articles in our Discover The Blues Blog are our way of sharing some of what we are learning on our own personal journey, and we hope they inspire you to discover more about the blues.

DISCOVER THE BLUES BLOG ARTICLES

Helen Humes & All Star Band

Helen Humes & All Star Band

What a line up! Helen Humes (vocal), Sonny Terry (Harmonica), Brownie (Kazoo) McGhee (Vocal & Guitar), Willie Dixon (Vocal & Bass), T-Bone Walker (Vocal & Guitar), Memphis Slim (Vocal & Piano), Jump Jackson (Drums) all in one video! This video is a...

read more
The Language of the Blues

The Language of the Blues

INTRODUCTION This article is a collection of excerpts from one of my favourite books, The Language of the Blues from Alcorub to Zuzu by Debra Devi. All quotes in this article are from this book, with the page numbers referenced under each subheading. I have selected...

read more
Blues Music: Songs and Their Stories

Blues Music: Songs and Their Stories

Included in this post: Introduction What are 'Race Records'? (A very brief explanation) The Songs: Original recordings, modern recordings, and short anecdotes. INTRODUCTION A good 15 years before Robert Johnson even made his first recording, the blues was well...

read more
Angularity & Asymmetry in African American Art & Dance

Angularity & Asymmetry in African American Art & Dance

Included in this post:   Introduction: “The grammar of culture” Angularity and Asymmetry in African and African American Art Angularity and Asymmetry in African and African American Dance Different Cultural Values Introduction: The Grammar of Culture “Nowhere is...

read more
Blues Dance: An African American Vernacular Dance

Blues Dance: An African American Vernacular Dance

This article aims to briefly explore the meaning of vernacular dance, referring mainly to two books: ‘Steppin on the Blues’ by Jacqui Malone and ‘Jazz Dance’ by Marshall and Jean Stearns. More books are listed at the end of the post.WHAT IS VERNACULAR DANCE? According...

read more
Blues History: Willie Dixon

Blues History: Willie Dixon

Can you imagine what blues music would be like without such hits as Hoochie Coochie Man, Little Red Rooster and Spoonful? Neither can many people. Thankfully, we don't have to. Little did the world know that in 1915, the person who made all of this possible would be...

read more
Ma Rainey: Mother of The Blues

Ma Rainey: Mother of The Blues

Let me start by saying that I am not fully satisfied with this blog post. Ma Rainey is one seriously interesting lady... honestly, I could write a thesis on her, not a blog post!  So sadly I've had to leave out a lot of interesting information. I'm sorry!  But if what...

read more
Mamie Smith: Queen of The Blues

Mamie Smith: Queen of The Blues

WHO IS MAMIE SMITH?  Name: Nee Mamie Robinson, Mamie Smith after marrying William “Smitty” Smith. Life: May 26, 1883 – September 16, 1946. Thought to have been born in Cincinnati, Ohio, however there are no records of her birth. Mamie Smith, a versatile vaudeville...

read more
Recommended Reading and Viewing

Recommended Reading and Viewing

Blues dance is intrinsically linked to the music and rooted in history. Although the dance, like the music, has changed over the years we believe that to fully understand blues dance you must learn about and respect the history of the music and the dance and the...

read more