The brick walls of Klub FAMU reverberate with a musician singing Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on home,” the dance floor is filled with couples rocking, swaying, and wearing huge smiles. It’s the first night of a 3-day blues dance workshop called Little Blues Sister, Volume III, to which I have a ticket, a deep love of blues music, and a total curiosity as to what “blues dancing” is all about.
The moment I sit in the lounge overlooking the dance floor, a man in a jaunty cap says, “Hi! What’s your name? Are you a dancer?” Let me introduce you to my new friend, Woody, a Hungarian who traveled from the U.K. specifically for this workshop and who is a VERY enthusiastic blues dancer. “I didn’t even know this was a thing,” I say. “And I love the blues!” He’s heard that before. “Most european cities have small blues dance groups,” he says. “but to really get the big numbers we have meet-ups all over Europe. People fly in from all over, even the U.S. and Australia!” He’s seems to be right. The first night’s party has people arriving directly from the airport and bus stations with luggage in hand, which is promptly dropped in a corner. There is no wasting time when there’s a good music and a partner to dance with.
Blues dance itself doesn’t look particularly difficult. Woody tells me you don’t have to be a great dancer to enjoy it. It has more to do with the connection between partners and their connection to the music. Interestingly, there is not designated lead (male), follower (female) in blues dance. It was described to me as more of a “dialogue” between dancers, with no designated lead and in fact, the leader can change WITHIN the song.
The community itself is very warm and welcoming. Morgain Holendová, one of the weekend’s organizers, stretches out beside me on a chaise lounge and says, “let’s talk.” The Little Blues Sister weekend workshops sprang from the Blues in Prague dancing group, which holds weekly blues dancing lessons at Kavárna Liberál (which you should know, because it’s awesome.) Courses typically last five weeks, and run approximately 600kc. They even let you attend the first lesson for free, and let you decide if you want to continue the whole cycle. The classes are open to new members, and believe me, you will make new friends, learn some funky moves, and hear some of the best music ever created (EVER!)
Blues in Prague