Rabbit described it charitably by saying “Paxus dances like he is listening to a musical instrument which has not yet been invented.” But i have to confess i was a bit terrified heading into our blues dancing adventure. Feonix had contended that Blues Dancing and Yoga were powerful non-sexual intimacy building tools that we should include in the Loud Love conference we are organizing. Ali (a new Oaker and part of the organizing team) was skeptical of the Blues Dancing part of this claim, so we needed to see it and experience it for ourselves. After a 45 minute lesson, we jumped into the deep end of beginner Blues Dancing.
Feonix was right. Blues Dancing, in contrast to many forms of dancing, requires a high level of consent consciousness to work. The leader needs to send clear signals to the follower and they need to have a sensitivity to the followers comfort level. I loved that the women asked me to dance and as poor as i was at the steps, i walked away feeling confident that our interaction was a positive one for them – despite my poor dancing.
At one point when i was dancing with Feonix i noticed a young woman who had her head against her partners chest and she had an incredible smile on her face. I was appreciative of what i assumed was either a long trusting dance relationship or a romantic connection between this smiling dancer and her lead.
Thirty minutes later this smiling dancer, Nina, would introduce herself to me. We spoke of my developing theories on Blues Dancing and consent. And like a good propagandist, Nina was quick to point out that there are problems with the consent culture in the DC area blues dancing scene. Nothing especially serious, but people who were scaring away new dancers by being creepy around them. Nina told me of partners who are sloppy in their signals and did things their followers did not want them to do. But my mind had already linked onto the metaphor of blues dancing and advanced consent culture. When i asked Nina about the partner who she was smiling so broadly on, she told me it was someone she had met one week earlier, but they had an extraordinary connection. I was blown away, and further convinced.
When Steve later asked me who my favorite dance partner was, i had to say Nina. Not because she was the most talented dancer (this was quite hard for me to tell), nor for her grace and attractive appearance. For me Nina was the best dancer, because she shook me up. She showed me her emotional daring both in asking me to dance and in dancing so close with a near stranger.
And daring is my favorite trait.
And i had a fantastic time and am convinced Blues Dancing should be part of the Loud Love conference we are organizing May 31-June 2 at Sophia House (more info and register here).
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