Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Rhythm Blues

I've been unable to find out when the Rhythm Blues was introduced to ice dance, but it must have been later than the Blues, which was in the 50's.

The RB (so I don't have to type 'rhythm' over and over) is the first dance I've done where the steps have a tiny bit of complexity. Progressive, stroke,  RFO swing roll, LFO stroke with 'lilt', progressive, progressive with hold, LFI Swing roll, RFI swing roll, progressive, step behind step behind step behind, progressive.

Whew! For once I find the steps along the side actually trickier than the end steps. After the 'progressive hold', I have to step into a LFI swing roll. I'm used to having a stroke in front of a swing roll to give me time to meditate on what I'm about to do next. Here, I'm down in the knee for the progressive and hold, bring the left leg out from under the crossed right leg, step on the ice and do an inside swing roll. .....Hmmm....tricky. I think I have to have myself canted towards the centerline in that progressive  rather than straight down the side coming out of that progressive. Must ask Dance Coach. Step too wide and the whole thing destroys the power I need to get into the next swing roll. Bleech! The following RFI swing roll with the step into the round the corner progressive has a fiddly touch to it too.

Compared to that, the end pattern with its evil step behinds is now a cuddly teddy bear of comfort. The only problem with the end pattern is that it needs a certain 'blues feel' about it. Unfortunately, while I've looked at all the RB's I can find on youTube, I can't find one with a blues feel in the end pattern. Everyone looks mechanical. I'm putting my 'amateur auteur' hat on. I think it would look more bluesy if the free foot were held lower on the rise after the step and had a little hip action, but that's not what the judges want to see.

If I'm mentally messing with stuff anyway, it would be fun to do the RB in foxtrot hold.  I wonder if Dance Coach will do it with me once, just for grins.  We always end the lesson with some stuff in foxtrot hold, it would be fun to do a whole pattern (and shock the ice dance purists!) Or maybe not.

[After I wrote this post, I asked Dance Coach about doing a dance like the Canasta Tango or the RB in Foxtrot hold. Apparently, he's a purist. He gave me a look of such horror and shock, I knew I'd stepped over some forbidden ice dance line. I'm surprised he didn't cast me into the outer darkness with the freestyle skaters and people who put lemon in their coffee.]

"See what happens when  you do something different?"


  1. The origins of the Rhythm Blues do indeed seem to be shrouded in mystery. I could find that it was invented by someone called Robert Craigin in the USA, but that was it. Curious.

  2. With your lead. I was able to find several references to Robert Craigin and the Rhythm Blues. My guess is that it may have been a roller dance before it was an ice dance. There was a lot of crossover in the 40's and 50's. Thank you.

    1. Funny you should mention roller. While I was looking for info on the Rhythm Blues in my 'Dancing on Skates' book (which covers both ice and roller} I discovered that roller has a variation on the Fiesta Tango called the 'Siesta Tango'. Presumably you take a nap in the middle of that one...

  3. People put lemon in their coffee????