FAQ

What is do Something Blue?

do Something Blue is a blues dance held in Los Angeles (well technically Pasadena). There is a lesson (included in the cover) and four hours of social dancing. The music is often DJ’d but sometimes there is a live band. do Something Blues also hosts a workshop weekend, L.A. Blues, on occasion.

View This Year’s Blues Dance Dates

What is blues dancing?

Like blues music, blues dancing finds its origins in African rhythm and movement.

Using the powerful beat originating from African Chants/Calls, blues dancing is about connecting to the earth and your partner. In fact, the best description of blues dancing is that it is a conversation. Because a large part of what makes blues dancing appealing is the physical interpretation of the music, it is open to intimacy and creativity between the dancers that is arguably unlike any other social dance.

This is not to say that blues dancing must be intimate and sensual. On the contrary, blues music “is a sharing of human conditions that everyone can access on some level, and a blues dance can include the entire spectrum of human emotions”, which does not mean that it has to look or feel sexy or sensual to those dancing.

Based on these emotions, there are several different styles of blues dancing. “Gut-Bucket,” “Fish Tail,” “Strutin'” and “Slow Drag” are all different ways to interpret blues music.

In other words, like the description ‘swing dancing’, blues dancing is an umbrella term for a lot of different styles. Swing dancing has Lindy Hop, Balboa, West Coast Swing, etc, while Blues Dancing has both Ballroomin’ (i.e. Savoy Walk, Slow Drag) and Jukin’ (i.e. Fish Tail, Strutin’) styles. The foundation for all of these blues dancing idioms is a two step.

If you’d like to see videos of blues dancing,

Visit dSB’s YouTube Channel

I’m new to blues dancing. What should I expect, wear, etc?

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body.” -Martha Graham

These are some suggestions we compiled. Whether your first blues dance is do Something Blue or another venue or event, we hope it helps!

Make sure to also read about proper dance etiquette and safety under

dSB’s Policies

Preparing For The Dance

Bring:

  • Cash (some dances are cash only, there might be coin-only parking meters and/or maybe you might get dinner out with a group)
  • Smooth soled shoes (it’s best to have as little rubber on the sole for turning and spinning purposes – we suggest no flip flops or high heels as well)
  • Extra shirts (bodies are moving, so venues can get warm and this is in case you perspire a lot)
  • Hand rag (bodies are moving, so venues can get warm and this is in case you perspire a lot
  • Mints
  • Water

Do:

  • Apply deodorant
  • Plan to arrive to the lesson ON-TIME, if not slightly early (this is considerate not only to the teacher, but the other students as well)

Don’t:

  • Eat garlic
  • Wear cologne/perfume
At The Dance

Asking people to dance

  • Ask people to dance, including the instructor(s)!
  • It is polite to first make eye contact, smile and then ask verbally
  • Don’t present your hand as a way of asking, even if it also includes a verbal inquiry
  • It is ok to (s)he says “No”

Being asked to dance

  • It is good practice to say “Yes” when someone asks you to dance, but you always have the choice to say “Yes” or “No”
  • Typically if someone asks you to dance and you say “No”, it is polite to a) sit that song out and b) ask that person to dance later that evening*

*This is in the circumstance(s) you say no because you need to go to the bathroom, get water, fresh air, etc. If you are saying “No” because that person makes you uncomfortable, unsafe, etc this does not apply. Most venues have a code of conduct in place, so, in the best way you feel comfortable, you should share your concerns.

What is a steal dance?

A Steal Dance is when special* dancer(s) are invited to the center of the dance floor and other dancers steal them throughout the selected song. Steal them often and kindly, like when they are coming out of/leading a turn and you can easily take their hand.
*Special at dSB means it is the dancer’s birthmonth, they are moving away, or visiting from out-of-town.

What is the Bow Tie Dance?

The Bow Tie Dance is our tribute to Carl Flores, a SoCal dancer who was a warm and welcoming person known the world over. Carl loved dance, he loved travel, and he loved to wear bow ties. He left us too soon and in honor of him our first song after the Birthmonth Steal Dance invites everyone back on the floor to dance with someone they have NEVER danced with before. It’s our Bow Tie Dance — meet new people, make new friends. We miss you Carl!

What are dSB’s Policies?

Code of Conduct

do Something Blue (dSB) is proud to be part of the worldwide blues dancing community. We want our attendees to have a fun, safe, and welcoming experience at our dance. We are dedicated to making sure our guests feel safe and accepted and to providing a harassment-free and safe social dance experience for everyone regardless of dance ability, dance background, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion or any other characteristic or trait.We ask all attendees, staff, and volunteers at do Something Blue to comply with the following code of conduct. The dSB Staff will enforce this code throughout the event. We are expecting cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody. If you feel that anyone is disrespecting the Code of Conduct, please bring this to a dSB Staff Member’s attention.

Options For Help

  • If for any reason you feel uncomfortable while at do Something Blue, we would like to help. While attending our dance, feel free to seek out one of our staff members. Alternatively you can speak with the DJ or the front desk person and let them know you are looking for a staff member and they will send someone to find one of us for you. OUR STAFF: Tracy, Charlie, Matt, and Jenny
  • If you prefer to contact do Something Blue via email, you can email us at dosomethingblue@dosomethingblue.com When you contact a staff member, we will engage you in, as much as possible, a confidential and discreet conversation.
  • When appropriate, you will be asked how you would like the situation to be handled. And finally, action will be taken at the discretion of the dance operator.
  • If you’d like to remain anonymous, please write down your concerns and drop them off in the Suggestion Box in the Front Lobby.
Safe Space Policy
  • Be polite and friendly while socializing and social dancing.
  • If you are a parent of minors, you are expected to chaperone your children at all times.
  • do Something Blue supports the idea that dance roles (lead and follow) are not tied to gender. We encourage all dancers to dance their preferred role(s) and to avoid assumptions regarding each other’s desired/preferred dance roles, including solo dancing.
  • Harassment is not tolerated in any form, which can include offensive verbal comments, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, disruptive behavior, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Harassment includes verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to any of the above listed characteristics or traits, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
  • If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the event staff may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or asking them to leave, without refund.
  • If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a staff member immediately using one of the methods above. Staff will be happy to help participants whether it is taking action on those engaging in harassing behavior to contacting local law enforcement, providing escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event. We value your attendance and your safety.
  • If you feel unsafe or if something just does not look right nor feel right and you sense someone may be in danger, please contact a member of our staff immediately.
  • Intoxicated persons are not allowed into do Something Blue.
  • Demanding that a person dances with you is not acceptable. Always ask, understanding that it is their right to say, “Yes,” or “No.”
  • Do not feel obligated to dance with anyone who makes you uncomfortable. It is your body and you have a right to choose who touches it.

We expect all participants to respect and adhere to these policies at do Something Blue.

Dance Etiquette & Safety
  • Do not offer unsolicited advice to fellow dancers on the social dance floor.
  • Use your full range of senses on the dance floor to avoid accidental collisions and injuries. DO NOT DANCE RECKLESSLY. It is every dancer’s responsibility to be aware of their own and their partner’s movement and position, as well as the movement and position of the dancers surrounding them, in order to avoid all forms of dangerous contact.
  • While there is always some risk associated with any physical activity, we are committed to preventing injuries before they happen. Unsafe dancing is any movement that puts anyone at an increased risk of of physical injury. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Yanking or jerking your partner around or unnecessarily forceful movement when leading or following (risk of shoulder, arm, and upper-back injuries).
    • Bending over your partner during a dip when leading (risk of lower back injuries and/ or getting hit in the head by another dancer or the floor).
    • Sudden weight sharing when following (don’t dip yourself), or any lift where both of your partner’s feet go above your knees.
  • If you are unsure what constitutes unsafe dancing, please ask a staff member or that night’s instructor(s).
  • If inadvertent contact is made on the dance floor with surrounding dancers, apologize immediately (even if you believe you’re not at fault). Help keep the goodwill going!
  • Don’t forget to practice good hygiene. For example, groom yourself appropriately prior to the dance, bring extra shirts, towel off when needed, wash hands when needed, brush your teeth, bring mints, etc. In other words, this is a “contact sport” so maintain cleanliness out of respect for your prospective dance partners.

Remember you should always contact someone if you need help.

Lastly, please remember that we are all volunteering and dedicating our time to do Something Blue because we are passionate about blues dancing and the Los Angeles blues dance community. We ask that we all look out for each other and be kind and respectful to one another so we may continue to spread the goodwill and positive spirit that is blues dancing!

Thank you and please enjoy your time at do Something Blue!!

Where else can I go blues dancing in the Los Angeles area?

Thursdays: Blues Dance Lesson and Dance at Lindygroove (Pasadena)

The LAST Friday of the Month (unless otherwise noted): do Something Blue (Pasadena)

Various Nights: Joe’s Bar & Grill (Burbank)

Also check out http://bluescal.com/ for blues dancing events around the country.

What is the history of blues dancing?

Coming Soon

What is the history of blues music?

The evolution of the blues provides insight into the changes that took place in the lives of African Americans after slavery ended. ” Jessica McElrath, African-American History.

Before blues music, solo music in the Black culture was irregular. Black music revolved around chants, call-and-response, and work calls. However, with the end of slavery and the discovery of the individual, Black music was free to explore” the personalized form of the song.” For instance, now instead of calling out to others, the singer responded to him/herself as they told the harsh realities of life.

In 1895, George W. Johnson created the first blues recording, “Laughing Song”. By 1920, blues was in its hayday, and Mamie Smith’s recording of “Crazy Blues” and “Its Right Here For You” sold 75,000 copies in its first month of release- the price was $1 a record.

The market continued to be mostly African American throughout the 1930’s and new artists continued to emerge including: Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, and Ethel Waters.

Blues would go on to influence other musical styles jazz, bluegrass, and rock and roll to name a few. By the 1960’s, there were several fusions of these styles, as well as artists from every race, country, and gender. And, with the Civil Rights & Free Speech movements, as well as other never-ending political battles, each generation has been inspired to find the blues as a way to express themselves through song.

dosomethingblue@dosomethingblue.com

Email with any questions you may have about
do Something Blue or blues dancing in Los Angeles.

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What People Are Saying

  • Great Music – Fun people – good dancers — Highly recommend this event!

    Brenda L.
  • The music is more bluesy than other blues events I’ve been to in LA. I went there with some friends and we had a good time, the organizers are very approachable and helpful.

    Dura G.
  • Best blues dance that I know of in SoCal. Good DJ’s, good ambiance, friendly people. Class included, which is always fun.

    Victoria N.
  • My favorite place for good blues music and great blues dancing. Love the people and Tracy the organizer is an amazing person.

    Jenny C.
  • THE place to go and learn to blues dance and/or just to dance to great blues music! Love, love, love coming here! The music, the people, the atmosphere and the overall experience is a fantastic time every time!!

    Shane K.