Holy City Blues Exchange III

So last weekend, I road-tripped it out to Charleston, sometimes known as the Holy City because of all its church steeples making its skyline, for the Holy City Blues Exchange III.

Man, do I love blues dancing.

The attitude differs across different types of blues music, and it’s so much fun listen to the music and pick out what you feel personally, and then communicate that with your partner in the dance. Evening/afternoon dances are typically more upbeat, jukin’ blues, with lots of hip shaking and funky grooves. At the late night dances (and when I say late, I am not kidding: I left the venues around 6AM both nights. Mornings? Eh.), the music selection is typically slower, or passionate, in a way, with slow-drag style dancing being the most appropriate. This is where blues dancing can get sexy – and it’s tons of fun. (note: blues dancing is sexy, but not sexual. There’s a difference.) One thing I liked about this event is that at both late night dances, they opened up a second room that was dubbed the “alternate room” where the DJs played music not of the typical blues variety, but still carried solid beats that you could groove to. Basically, a lot more contemporary material covering rap, funk, and even some triphop. And I reeeeally like triphop. To me, if there was a genre of music I like for sexy times, it’s gonna be triphop. So there’s already that mentality I’ve got in my mind as I’m dancing, and mmm, it’s just so much fun.

There weren’t any workshops, unlike the first exchange I went to this past summer in Columbia, SC. No workshops – just dancing. And honestly, I was okay with that. It was fun to just dance and talk to new people. I even entered the Jack and Jill competition! That was nerve-wracking. I wasn’t a finalist but I did make it as an alternate! I got to talk to one of the people who judged the comp and she told me that I had a very strong blues aesthetic in my dancing, and I had pretty spot-on musicality and pretty decent technique. The one thing I didn’t particularly shine on was partnering, and that made sense. I know for a fact that my blues partnering skills need work. Blues dancing is about conversation, dialogue, and she told me it looked more like I was dictating rather than calling and responding, if that makes any sense. It’ll come with practice though.

But when I was dancing with said judge gal, she made a remark that I’ve probably been watching a lot of Dexter. This was a major compliment in this situation. For context, she was talking about Dexter Santos, a nationally-recognized blues dancer in the scene. Anyways, I think it’s neat that I got that comment about my aesthetic being somewhat like Dexter’s because, well, he’s definitely someone I want to emulate (for now, anyways, as I’m still relatively a beginner blues dancer. Eventually I imagine I’ll form my own groove and style.)

Also it’s nice having an Asian-American figure in the dance scene that I can look up to, in a sense. For blues, it’s Dexter. For WCS, it’s Arjay Centeno. I’m fairly certain they’re both of Filipino descent. Hmm…seems coincidental.

Anyways, I ended my stay in Charleston with a brief bike ride around downtown.

Charleston is such a picturesque city. It’s absolutely lovely to bike through. A lot of homes have that antebellum, southern design that’s just so charming. On the topic of picturesque, I did bring our old D70 to play with, but 1) I really know shit about how to properly use a camera and 2) the card in this camera is rubbish. I had probably taken nearly 200 photos of the different dances (or tried to anyways, with what little skill I have) but on the last day, the camera/card farted out and somehow I lost ALL of those photos. But it still read as memory space being occupied. This makes me conclude this card is just garbage. Ugh. I have just a small handful of pictures I took while biking around the city, so I guess that’ll have to do, and I guess I won’t really miss the dance photos I lost – the flash on the D70 is broken as well so I had to work with the venue lighting (which is always dim) and a lot of photos came out blurry. Le sigh.

I wish I had more time to explore the city! And I totally would have, except I was the carpool driver for three other people I was housed in since they flew in/train’d in from out of town and thus would require transportation. I didn’t mind too much though; they were all pretty cool people.

Anyways, Holy City Blues Exchange has been SUPER fun and I am definitely coming back again! If I’m in school next year though, I probably won’t have time, but I will return at some point!

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