Blues Dancing History

For a quick introduction see what is blues dancing?

Appreciation vs. Appropriation

We believe it’s respectful to approach art from another person, another time, another culture with appreciation for what it authentically is, and what it meant to those who created and practice(d) it.

Taking on a form of the art without that respect is sometimes referred to as appropriation. Leaders in the world of blues dancing write about this. Here’s an article from one of the foremost blues dancing historians, Damon Stone on the subject.

‘The Question of Appropriation’ breaks it down into addressing exploitation and disrespect of other’s culture. It uses Hound Dog as sung by Big Mama Thornton and Elvis Presley’s as an example.

Another article on the subject, ‘Cultural Appropriation: When Borrowing Becomes Exploitation’.

History Resources

An interesting talk one of our bluesCENTRAL leaders attended. The Church, The Devil, and the Blues.

An article: Improvisation in African-American Vernacular Dancing

A Reading List

A selection of books where you can learn much more:

Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader by Julie Malnig

Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition by Adam Gussow

Black Dance in America: A History Through its People by James Haskins

Black Dance: From 1619 to Today by Lynne Fauley Emery

The Black Dancing Body From Coon to Cool by Brenda Dixon Gottschild

Blues All Around Me, The Autobiography of B.B. King by B.B. King with David Ritz

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism by Angela Y. Davis

Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues by Elijah Wald

I Put A Spell On You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone by Nina Simone

Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formation in African-American Culture by Katrina Hazzard-Gordon

Moanin’ at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolf by James Segrest and Mark Hoffman

Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance by Jacqui Malone

Stomping the Blues by Albert Murray

The Big Book of Blues: The Fully Revised and Updated Biographical Encyclopedia by Robert Santelli

The Definitive Guide to the Blues, 3rd edition

The Devil’s Music: A History of the Blues by Giles Oakley

The History of the Blues: The Roots, The Music, The People by Francis Davis

The Land Where Blues Began by Alan Lomax