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Meet Tracy James of Do Something Blue in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracy James.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I discovered swing dancing in 2004 during my last year at the Savannah College of Art and Design. A fellow student learned how to dance in his hometown, Lawrence, Kansas, and wanted to share what he knew with others so he started a swing dancing club. We met two to three times a week to practice so we could be ready for the Atlanta Lindy Exchange, a social dance weekend, that was scheduled for the first weekend in April, which was conveniently near the end of our school year.

After months of practice our swing club caravanned up to Atlanta and danced until it was morning, for three nights in a row. One of those nights our exhaustion tried to talk us into leaving, but instead we went to grab some air; En route, a dark room decorated with white holiday lights and people gently swaying to blues music grabbed my attention. I entered and was immediately hooked by a connection to the music and the movement’s inviting pulse.

Upon graduating the following month, I moved out to Los Angeles happy to find someone hosting blues dancing workshops and another inviting dancers to “blues-bomb” a bar that had live music. Unfortunately, when the bar was sold and the workshop operator stopped organizing events, there was nowhere left to blues dance. With a passion for this style of dance and now a sudden lack of it in LA, I decided to start my own monthly blues dance, Do Something Blue, as well as a regular workshop weekend, L.A. Blues. Today, over a decade later, I have a lot to thank dancing for, including most of my friendships. I can’t imagine my life without the enrichment dancing has given me as well as seeing the excitement it brings to others.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The largest obstacle when hosting a dance event is finding a space to rent, especially given the hours. “You want to do what until 1am?” is the typical first response from the venue owner. Most conversations don’t go much further, but if they do, there are some important factors to consider like the floor (is it smooth?), the size of the space, location convenience, and parking. Considering these possible obstacles, Do Something Blue has been very lucky to work with two great locations over the past eleven years: Fred Astaire Dance Studio Pasadena and American Legion Post #13 (we recently moved from Fred Astaire to the Legion due to space).

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Do Something Blue story. Tell us more about the business.
Do Something Blue is held the last Friday of the month (unless otherwise noted on our website) and specializes in providing a place to blues dance to blues music. This is different from, say, attending a live blues music concert where a dance floor may not be provided or going to a dance that plays a variety of music (blues, swing, fusion, etc) that invites blues dancing. In addition to hosting this monthly dance, I also organize an all-levels, blues dancing workshop weekend, L.A. Blues. This event includes two days of lessons, three nights of dancing, live music, and special guest instructors from across the country. Next year’s event is February 23-25, 2018 with teachers Grace Jones-Taylor and Nick DeWitt from Austin, Texas.

Registration opens Friday, November 17, 2017. Prices have not yet been announced but an estimate of early bird registration is between $120-140 for the full weekend pass.

Do you feel like our city is a good place for businesses like yours?
Los Angeles is a phenomenal place for Do Something Blue and blues dancing. The dance scene, both locally and (inter)nationally, is so welcoming, which is important since this city is so diverse. It’s beautiful to see a dance floor full of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, skill levels, etc, all coming together to share something that brings them joy, not to mention it’s a great escape from the ‘normal’ nightlife of the big city. Plus, it’s wonderful to have a place to disconnect and socialize while being active. After all, it would be really awkward if someone was texting or checking their Facebook while dancing with you!


  • Do Something Blue: Blues Dance Lesson 8-9 pm (included in cover) / Blues Dance 9 pm-1 am / $10 Cash* *This is the cash discount price. Full price (using Credit) for entry is $11. No bills larger than $20 accepted.
  • L.A. Blues Workshop Weekend: Registration opens Friday, November 17, 2017. Prices have not yet been announced but an estimate of early bird registration is between $120-140 for the full weekend pass.

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