August 9-11, 2019

Take My Hand: Slow Drag

A Weekend of Dancing and Research in Washington, D.C.

what is slow drag?

 This Take My Hand will be a celebration of Slow Drag, from the 1880s to the 2010s. It forms a unique opportunity to take a really deep dive into this deceptively simple dance, which allows you to focus on the details. Whether it’s the cultural context, the details of technique, or the use of Slow Drag to learn more about related dances, you will find your interest catered to. 

What is Slow Drag? As happens so often, the Blues and Jazz Book Club has an excellent answer. I’d particularly encourage you to watch the first few seconds of Damon’s video on there (after Slow Drag he moves on to Struttin’, which is a very different dance). Our answer is a little more narrow, specifically not including the Scott Joplin stuff or the ballroomin’ dances called Slow Drag within the Swing community (not that there’s anything wrong with them, but they’re a different thing). 

There’s a fair amount of evolution within its history, but from start to finish we’re doing dances in close embrace that feature a step to the side on beat one or two and a returning step on beat three or four. There will be no big moves taught, nor fancy footwork rhythms (you can get a little fancier with your upper body), no spins or dips. This isn’t an all the things ice cream sundae, with sauces, toppings, fillings, and multiple flavors of ice cream on a fancy base. This is really good vanilla, with some subtle flavorings. People watching you dance might not know that you’d come to this weekend, but your partner will; not having to think about choreography and having partners who are confident in the baseline means that we can explore musicality, partner dynamics, and other issues without distractions, many of which skills may transfer to your more complicated dancing. 

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Take My Hand Blues

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20024, United States

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