Cajun dance workshops

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.


Cajun dance teachers Roux and Reuben show Theresa and Ruki how it’s done

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.

photo via The Testing Grounds

Johnny Can’t Dance Cajun Trio – photo via The 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.

The Testing Grounds

The Testing Grounds

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!

Cajun dance workshops
Mondays in March, 6:30pm
The Testing Grounds / Facebook
1-23 City Road, Southbank

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.