Dancin’ the Blues

Blues dancing can at times be quite sensual. So how can I do that and still maintain integrity? One word: Boundaries.

Over the past 10 years since I got more seriously into social dance I’ve learned quite a myriad of styles, primarily swing and ballroom. One night at a “fusion” dance about three years back, I learned yet another style — blues. (I’ve played that music as well, so I get the feeling.)

I bring that up because blues dancing can at times be quite sensual (and I for one enjoy the often-close physical contact with a partner). So how can I do that and still maintain integrity?

One word: Boundaries.

I always allow my partner to decide just how close she gets to me, and thus it’s up to me to control myself because she’s in effect expecting to trust me; most dance groups maintain a code of conduct anyway, so if I did anything uncouth I could be run out. An actual dance can be smoldering, the truth be told, but I just let that wash over me while we execute those moves.

Last night at a dance in a city park adjacent to the university district I engaged in two close dances with a woman young enough to be my daughter if I had children and whom do I find physically attractive. However, she was for a brief period a worship leader at my church and I’ve been a part of that ministry for two decades, so she probably suspected, correctly, that I wasn’t about to “do anything” precisely because of our association.

Some months ago during a blues festival fundraiser — here in Pittsburgh, we have quite a number of those — I engaged in a dance with one of my regular swing partners. Recently I told her, “I remember that dance.” And I’m leaving it at that.


A version of this post was previously published on UncommonSenseCommentary and is republished here with permission from the author.

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