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Who wants to learn Cajun dancing? We do! Ruki and I wrangled up some friends on Monday night and hightailed it down to The Testing Grounds for some live music and dance lessons. It was a perfect random Melbourne night.
Who are the Cajuns? You might have heard about their food, since it seems to be taking over Melbourne. They’re actually French-Americans who fled Canada and settled in Louisiana way back when. Their cultural influence on Louisiana — and the blending of their culture with the Native Americans, African-Americans, and European immigrant groups — has given the world Cajun and Creole food. And Mardi Gras. Their music is old-timey: banjos, accordians, and the like.
I found out about the Cajun dancing when I saw the Le Blanc Brothers playing at the Brunswick Music Festival. (Post to come — the Plus Ones have been invited guests for the fest.) Band member Craig Woodward, one of the stalwarts of Melbourne’s folk scene, mentioned his Cajun workshops. I grabbed a flyer:
Learn to dance Cajun two-steps and waltzes in the modern style. Informal dance instruction with Reuben & Roux, live Cajun music from the Johnny Can’t Dance Cajun Trio! Monday nights in March from 6:30pm @ Testing Grounds.
You all know how much we love The Testing Grounds. While it might be a wee bit hard to find the first time, it’s a veritable treasure trove of fun events. (Like the Projector Bike tours on Fridays, which Ruki loved.) The instructors Roux and Reuben taught us a few moves. Roux is a genuine Cajun transplant — she even wore a traditional Cajun Mardi Gras outfit — and Reuben picked up the steps when he lived there. They led us through the Cajun two-step (just as easy as it sounds) and the Cajun waltz (way easier than the normal one). Everyone was soon kicking up a mini dust storm as we swung around to the Johnny Can’t Dance’s tunes.
So get down for these workshops the next few weeks. I promise you’ll have a great time. (There’s even a bar!) Plus, the next time you’re at one of Melbourne’s Cajun/Creole restaurants (say, Gumbo Kitchen in Fitzroy, The Collection in Richmond, or Le Bon Ton in Collingwood), you’ll be able to do some authentic Cajun dances!
I heard a rumour there might be a Sunday arvo session of Cajun music on Sunday 30th, too. Keep an eye on our events calendar to find out more.