Cajun dancing is a joyful community experience. It has such an infectious sound that one almost has to get up and dance. It stated with small gatherings on porches in rural southern Louisiana and larger community gatherings. Today, residents of Acadiana celebrate their cultural heritage and pass a good time at dance halls and at festivals throughout the area.
The following is a short guide to how to dance, and do it more or less correctly. The disclaimer here is that this guide will not make you a dancer - really the best idea is to take lessons to get a basic idea of how to dance. If there is no instructor in your area, you might try a few phone calls or e-mail to people in your area who are interested in Cajun and Zydeco. You'll be surprised how many people are in that community.
If you can't find a dance instruction, the next best idea is to attend events where there are good dancers and ask for help. Most dancers are happy to help out novice dancers, so just go up and ask politely. Remember, no matter how much you know, the best way to become a better dancer (and the have fun, of course) is by getting out there and doing it. The final suggestion is try an instructional dance video. I have review of most all of the available videos under "Journal."
Keeping the disclaimers above in mind, this guide is really intended for those who already know a little about what they are doing, or at least what the dances should look like. Please see the contents on the right.
Distinct style have evolved in Louisiana to match the different styles of music. Cajun dances is most often a two-step, waltz, and sometimes jitterbug (although some controversy exists to the authenticity of jitterbug). Zydeco dance is syncopated version of two-step that is done in place, as opposed to traveling around the room as with Cajun two-step or waltz. In Louisiana dance halls or at festivals, some persons dance while others may just listen to the music. Outside of Louisiana, the Cajun and zydeco scene is more closely tied to the social dance community, and Cajun and zydeco music is often played at dance-oriented events. There are exceptions to this. For example, the top drawing Cajun and zydeco acts (i.e. Beausoleil and Buckwheat Zydeco) often play purely listening-type concert venues. However, most of the other bands play smaller dance halls or festivals where dancing is a big part of the Cajun and zydeco scene.