Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Blues Workshop: From Middle School Dances to Almost That Sexy.

Last week, I attended a three-hour blues/musicality dance workshop lead by Peter Vawter, a dance and music teacher originally from the West coast, but living in Japan for the last 10 years or so. He's touring Korea with a well-known swing dancer from Seoul, giving workshops along the way. Lucky me--Min Gi and Anna (head of the other Daegu swing club) organized the whole thing and it went off fantastically.

I've been intrigued by blues dancing because when I've seen it done well, it's the sexiest damn thing I've ever seen. No lie. I'm partial to Latin dances for their sensuality, but I was blown away by blues.

However, every time I've tried it, it's been awkward for many reasons. For one, you have to follow really well because your bodies are pressed so tight together. If you make a mistake in the footwork, you could accidentally knee your partner in the groin, especially if he's shorter than you (and this often happens to me in Korea). Even the spins happen in tight to the body, though I've been getting more comfortable with that in Lindy, as I can now successfully NOT elbow Gong Bi in the face (unless I want to, of course).

Our initial discomfort with being that close to each other manifested itself in the first half of the workshop seeming like a middle school dance in the gym. Blues doesn't work without some grinding actions, so Peter played us hip hop which loosened us right up. Mmm... Sexy.

Also, the "lifts" or "throws" in blues are not jumps, but dips. With a jump, I support most of my own body weight. However, with dips, I have to trust a man to hold my weight up with his body. Um... I already have weight issues. This is compounded because many Korean men are smaller than me. And I live in a country that doesn't believe it's possible for a woman to weigh more than 60 kgs (about 132 lbs). As a result, except for certain fellas, I usually just support my own weight and arch my back. This works pretty well for the guys I could break by sitting on them.

At any rate, at the end of three hours, I was able to do a lot more than I could before. Plus I think it is improving my follow for other kinds of dances. It felt sexy dancing with the guys. It was great.

In the meantime, enjoy Peter and his Korean partner dancing to "Wade in the Water." May I recommend you dim the lights, pour a glass of wine, and light up a candle first? It'll put you in the proper mood.


  1. Love the video . . . it's "LOOKS" easy but it ain't.

    He's got amazing transitions and a great relaxed energy and presence.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. J,

    You've got the "ain't" part right... Easy this stuff is not. Been dancing just over a year now, and I still feel horribly awkward and 몸치ish. *sigh*

  3. Hey there guys! I just found this thread, thanks for the kind words and I hope they are still dancing in degu :) Could you please send me Anna's info? I'd love to pass through again my next trip... Degu was one of my favorite places in this trip :)

    peter :)



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