Foot work. It always has to come down to the feet. Move them pins and the rest follow. Move them in time to music and you're dancing.
So my Soul Line Dancingness is moving right along as I get them feet to do what I say they should be doing while music is in the air.
As Whitey my Soulness has not kicked in...yet. But my feet and I are hopeful that in more time spent groovin Dave's body will blacken up.
My quest is unfolding in stages.
Stage I: Zydeco
My first challenge is to master a series of slides, cha chas, and shuffles enough to be able to dance 4 or 5 Zydeco line dances I've discovered. One down three or four to go.
The issue is that in Zydeco, as well as with other Urban/Soul Line Dances, the steps are a tad different from the countrified "yeehaa" slap and tickle of the stereotypical line dancing boot scoot. You are not a horse in shoes, but something low and slivery.
That's 'Soul' in motion....
So I'm working up a sweat here doing the Zydeco thang.
Stage II: Soulness on YouTube
After I've Zydecoed enough and learnt the key Zydeco moves I'm keen to move along to tackle more complex choreography.
I've spent a lot of time trawling through YouTube line dances under 'soul' or 'urban' and I've collected some kick ass routines and reviewed the work of some extraordinarily talented choreographers. Around the clubs dances become favorites and the routines rake off, and my present fav is Terminal Reaction/Jamie Foxx Line dance.
It may take me a year or more -- maybe never! -- to get any where near this level of dance but if! -- and when? -- I do a few things will be clear:
- I'd be more flexible with greater awareness and control over my body's movements.
- My mind will be sharper as I would have had to remake/re-engineer my brain to learn a succession of detailed movements.
- I'd be having much more fun much more often.
- I'd be dancing at the day to day limits of my Fibromyalgia and adding another exercise level to my option hierarchy of daily activity.
Heres' another dance developed through the Lorenzo "GoLo" Evans choreographing team: "Soul Food" Soul Line Dance:
Now that's a groove.
The scene is chock full of dances like these and then when you move over into Hip Hop styles they get more energetic and maybe more suited to a younger pair of legs.
The good thing about line dancing and actually learning the moves is that you don't leave yourself open to the ready injuries you may get with free form antics. Nor are you forced to wait upon 'a' partner -- a special some one else -- a Ginger Rogers.
As I review the work of a few choreographers and standalone dances I've learnt to respect the line they negotiate between making the best use of the music and their own creativity while developing routines that are accessible for large numbers of amateur dancers who simply want a fun time out.
Of course, for me and my partner in dance -- my co-habitee -- we may have to form a Soul Line Dancing club somehow in order to get the lines filled in. Now that's a challenge in itself: challenging with a stand off to country.
However, the good folk at Happy Feet Soul Line Dancing Network are very supportive, despite the complication that I'm in far off Australia. But hey! already forming in my noggin is the prospect of one day touring the Soul Line Dance hot spots in the USA and taking in a few workshops mixing it with the scene.
It amazes me how few white folk are doing the Soul Line Dance thing. Stand out in that regard is Stanford Line Dance Class but it still is, understandably given the music and culture, an Afro American phenomenon. Here in Australia the contemporary dance style that is standalone -- albeit not in a line -- is rock n'roll. There are a few clubs for that very fifties and sixties swing. But overall the line dance scene seems to be encased in an eclectic mix of country rule and 'miscellany'.
I dance this at a local class as it is a dance lesson afterall -- but that's not me, and I'm surprized how many of my generation (sixties youth bought up on rhythm and blues) are, or maybe are, accepting of being sentenced to such music.
Goddam Country! It's foreign! A foreign country.