Saturday Workshops: Kresge A
Always wanted to choreograph a piece, but never felt like you had the time? Had an awesome idea for that one song, but couldn't put the moves to music? Amanda and Chris are here to take your choreo from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat! Okay, probably more than 5 seconds, but faster than you think. We'll start from song choice and leave you with a frame for the future. Though this is an All Levels class, we recommend that you've been dancing at least a few months, since blues technique will not be specifically covered.
Please note, this class is 2 class periods
The second half of The Fast and the Curious. See the previous block for a description.
Please see the competition page for further details
Please see the competition page for further details
Sunday Workshops: Kresge A
Inspired by early slow jazz dancers, we'll add some melt, shape, and drape into your ballroomin' blues. Power into dramatic drags and add some burst to your turns. This style impresses partners and viewers alike.
There’s a lot of blues music out there that was created as dance music, but is difficult for the current community to dance to - specifically piedmont, country, and delta blues. This class will explore mental and physical tools to address particular elements of difficulty in these genres.
Lag is many things--an essential ingredient of blues dancing, a way we interact with the beat as dancers, and a way followers interact with leaders. In this class, we'll explore the technique and artistry behind partnered lag--the lag between leaders and followers--how & why followers can create it and use it in a dance, and ways leaders can react to it and use it to shape their side of the dance.
Sand isn’t a specific dance, but rather a way of moving legs and feet. It’s challenging, but also really damn cool. This class is all about the nitty-gritty technique and mechanics to make it look effortless, plus a few fancy footwork ideas to take home.
Saturday Workshops: Room 201
Combine fabulous spinal action with diagonal footwork patterns in this challenging and dynamic dance. Warning: this dance is highly addictive - you may find yourself wanting to sway the night away.
Stretch and momentum can easily be oversimplified, but truly advanced dancers know that the timing and precision of great mechanics can be overwhelming sometimes. We’re here to help!
Take your Ballroomin’ Blues game up a notch as we delve into Strut and Stride. These two idiom dances have distinct music and characters. For each dance, we will explore the movement technique, lead and follow dynamics, and personal expression.
We’re going to give you a collection of solo moves, but we’re giving you super-specific (and hopefully super-cool) versions, to challenge you mentally and physically!
Sunday Workshops: Room 201
This choreography will encourage us to embody the suave confidence that Nina expresses in her unapologetically sensual single "Buck".
How do you build and perform a character that is realistic and authentic? How do you act without seeming like you're "acting"? How can your character integrate with your dance, instead of taking away from it? This class will explore those questions, in a blues dance performance context.
If you are choreographing for a group of dancers, how do you play to their strengths and their skill levels? How much do you strive for uniformity vs. differences? When creating a duet, either partnered or solo, how can you give each dancer their own distinct voice within the dance? How do you create polish while embracing individuality? We love this topic and will share our best thoughts and practices with you.
Line Dancing is no longer limited to Country Music but has evolved with dance and technology as a mainstream social dance in its own communities and in the Club scene. Lady B, from New England Soul Line Dance Network, will teach one or more line dances during this class.
Saturday Workshops: Room 407
You may have wondered, what exactly is blues dance? Well, we’re going to boil it down for you. Expect to come away from this class with a solid understanding (or refresher) of what makes blues dance unique as an art form, and the ability to strip down your dancing to the essentials. We’re headed back to basics, y’all, because we all need more of them.
Close embrace is an essential connection style for many blues dances, but can also be quite challenging. In this class, we’ll work on getting your close embrace feeling comfortable to you and your partner, leading & following clearly here, and exploring the variety that close embrace has to offer.
A whole weekend full of classes often gets us in our heads about the dancing - let’s get out of our heads and into the moment with our partner! We’ve got some surprising techniques to bring your social blues dancing up to level ten.
This class covers different turns and techniques for leading & following turns in blues dancing. After this class, your turns will come out more clear, comfortable, and confident!
Sunday Workshops: Room 407
Looking for inspiration? Need a way to narrow down your ideas? Do you do things in classes but never end up using them on the social floor? Mike and Julie will give you some fun and useful games to use while social dancing, to help you with all of these things.
Are you really as precise as you could be in your leading/following of a step? Are you crafting it with all the attention you that you could be? Let’s zoom in and give this fundamental piece of dance the love it deserves!
You may have heard of contrabody, and think, “left leg forward, right shoulder forward.” You’re not wrong, but it’s so much more than that, too! Great contrabody movement is hard to achieve, but is both delightful and practical.
The best dances happen when both partners are inspired together to do things they've never done before. Learn to boost your creativity by limiting yourself, and have fun by listening to the music and each other. Come for the laughs, stay for the new moves!
Saturday Workshops: Room 491
Ok, so it’s not actually from Australia, but we did create it there. This is a solo choreography that showcases how we think about composition, musicality, and dynamism. Also, some cool transitions - because we can!
All genders welcome! We’ll be exploring gender expression through movement: what movements feel and look gendered *to you*? What movements feel most true to yourself? How does thinking about movement as gendered change when we’re in a blues context?
In this hour, we will set ground rules for discussion, define appropriation, consider the origins of the Blues, share experiences of race in the Blues scene, and venture into the muddy waters of "right" and "wrong."
Homework, before attending:
- Read "Cultural Appropriation: when 'borrowing' becomes exploitation" (Olufunmilayo Arewa, The Conversation)
- Read "Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism" (The Good Men Project, Huffington Post)
This hour will focus on the ways the conversation about race in the Blues scene has taken to the internet. Prominent voices in the conversation, their main points, and our reflections on these views will be central to our conversation.
After a long day of hugs, sometimes you just need even more hugs! We’ll get a little adventurous in this last class, with some tricks that can be performed from close embrace.
Sunday Workshops: Room 491
Ever feel like your dancing takes on a predictable pattern? That you get “stuck” doing the same 3 movements over and over? Playing with character is a powerful way to break free of those ruts that we all get into. This class will probably push your comfort zone and is designed to challenge you to new heights of expression and artistry.
Leave the Blues Scene? Have white people stop dancing? Create "Black Only" Blues communities? Intentionally invite Black teachers? In this hour, we will discuss what has been done to date in an effort to right the ship, and the results thereof.
Homework, before attending:
- Read "A Black Panther lawsuit is testing the cultural exchange between Africans and African-Americans" (Lynsey Chutel, Quartz)
- Read "Why I Stopped Blues Dancing" (Ellie Koepplinger)
This final segment is dedicated to a plenary session. We will focus discuss and outline next steps for individual, local, and scene-wide initiatives.
We will run through the mechanics of isolations, and drilling to make our isolations more efficient and less restricting so that we can dance with isolations as opposed to making the dance about isolations.
What makes you, you? Individuality is an important part of all of the blues dances. Bringing that individuality means being able to express yourself on the dance floor authentically. In this class we will explore ways to dance as yourself.