When Griffin Taylor’s mother jokingly signed him up for ballroom dance as a freshman in high school, he had no idea it would become one of his biggest passions. That passion has led him to put together a light blues dancing night every Friday at the Enliten Bakery and Cafe in downtown Provo.
“The nature of blues dancing is very accepting and loving,” Taylor said. “The dancing is very fun and easy to pick up. The dance is about how you feel it. Everyone develops their own style and feel for blues.”
Taylor has competed on ballroom dance teams for both Provo High School and BYU. He found his passion for blues dancing when a friend took him to a blues night at the Ozz in Provo. He immediately loved the relaxed and free form of dance, which was very different than any of the controlled dancing he had always done in ballroom.
When the venue stopped hosting the blues night last November, Taylor decided to take on the task himself. With the help of other devoted fans, he managed to locate a venue, DJs and other teachers for lessons. Finding the venue was the most difficult task, but he chose Enliten Bakery and Cafe because of its affordability and spacious hardwood floors.
Dean Judd, the owner of Enliten Bakery and Cafe, was taken back when Taylor approached him about putting a blues night together.
“I didn’t know there was dancing associated with blues music, so I was surprised by the concept,” Judd said.
Judd chose to work with Taylor to make this weekly event possible. He saw that Taylor was not in it for personal gain, but rather, that blues dancing was something Taylor was passionate about and wanted to share with others.
Similar to the effect that blues dancing has had on Taylor, it has hooked many others with its uniqueness. Megan Olsen, age 27, has been dancing for two years and worked with Taylor to make the light blues night a reality. She has met many of her best friends through blues dancing.
“I always wanted to learn how to dance. I found blues first, and it was easy to pick up. It was really, really powerful,” Olsen said. “There is a lot of emotion behind it, a lot of feeling. It’s everything that makes us human: mourning, joy and all the things that you feel are there when you are dancing.”
Blues is an often misunderstood form of dance. Taylor discussed how people that see the dance in passing may view it as too sexual and get a bad first impression. According to Taylor, however, this is not true in any way. The dance requires the two partners to interpret the music together and communicate non-verbally in order to move together. As a result, the dance is performed much closer to each other than are other dances.
The light blues dancing night will begin at 8:30 p.m. every Friday at the Enliten Bakery and Cafe on Center Street in downtown Provo. A short lesson is held for the first 30 minutes. At 9 p.m. the lights turn down and the music turns up for dancing until midnight. Anyone, from beginners to experienced dancers, is welcome to come and meet new people while exercising and having fun.