Workshop Levels and Audition Process
This year, we have Blues workshops in many skill levels.
All Fusion workshops are All Levels.
To take Advanced+ or Masters level workshops, you must audition!
To audition, please be in the Ballroom at the Highlands Masonic Event Center no later than 10am on Saturday!
Scroll below for information on Auditions. You do not need to register in order to audition; just show up on Saturday.
All Levels workshops allow dancers to engage with other dancers, regardless of level. These workshops are designed to have something of value for everyone from the rank beginner to the seasoned expert. The content is layered so that beginners can pick up the most important elements, while advanced dancers can practice the more nuanced elements of the dance. One can expect differentiated learning while incorporating values of inclusion and fun. There are All Levels workshops in Blues and Fusion.
Beginner workshops are focused on fundamentals for individuals dancing Blues for 6-12 months or less, who would love to explore a new dance role, or who wish to refine and practice basics in a focused way. The specialized Beginner Intensive Workshops on Saturday are meant to be taken as a progressive group. On Sunday, all beginners are invited to take the All Levels workshops with purchase of Sunday classes or an All-Access Pass.
The discounted Beginner Pass includes dances and the Saturday Beginner Intensive; to take Sunday classes, purchase an All Access pass or a single day workshop in addition to the Beginner Pass.
Intermediate workshops are geared toward dancers who have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of Blues dance and are seeking to find more nuance and technique in their dancing. Dancers taking these workshops are expected to able to dance with a consistent pulse throughout a song, be comfortable traveling in embrace and closed positions, be comfortable dancing multiple rhythms and Blues movements to a variety of Blues music genres and tempos, comfortably lead and/or follow with relaxed arms and body-lead movements, maintain one’s own balance and momentum especially during spins and turns, and to know multiple genres of Blues exist and be able to broadly identify differences as well as have a basic understanding that there are musical structures common in much of Blues music.
Advanced workshops are geared toward dancers who routinely refine and develop their technique. These workshops will be focused on deepening an understanding of fundamental elements of Blues dance or an introduction to specific Blues idiom dances. Dancers taking these workshops are expected to be able to: clearly identify when music is Blues; transition among Blues idiom dances in a variety of tempos; dance a wide variety of solo Blues movement vocabulary in both partnered and solo contexts; initiate and maintain control of one’s movement; maintain balance through turns, rapid direction changes and partnered momentum; express oneself artistically and stylistically without disrupting one’s partner’s expression or losing the Blues aesthetic; as well as create, maintain, and match tension with posture and tone. Although time dancing is not always a reliable consideration of one’s level, advanced-level dancers have typically been Blues dancing for a minimum of three years, dance multiple times a week/month, regularly take classes and workshops, travel to out-of-state Blues events, and are aware of the importance of self-assessing and setting goals for improvement. **Auditions are required and dancers must arrive ON TIME. Placement in the Advanced cohort will be made by a panel of judges.
Masters workshops are geared toward dancers who compete, perform and/or teach Blues on a regular basis and have developed and can communicate a nuanced understanding of Blues. These workshops focus on exploring topics with a great deal of nuance and providing rigor in terms of product, process, or content in learning Blues dance. Masters-level students are expected to be able to critically analyze and interpret taught movements and concepts, and see through to a deeper context and avenues for personal exploration. They learn choreography quickly, can imitate complex movements with minimal practice time, and understand the benefit of trying something on as it’s presented before intentionally applying their own personal style. They command their body movement in moving contra and homo-laterally, understand that leader and follower roles are often relevant to timing, and create movement that at times intentionally compliments or contrasts their partner’s. They know the language of Frame Matching and command a level of proficiency in applying it to connection. Although time dancing is not always a reliable consideration of one’s level, masters-level dancers have typically been Blues dancing for a minimum of four or five years, dance multiple times a week/month, regularly take and/or teach classes and workshops, travel to multiple out-of-state Blues events, and are aware of the importance of self-assessing and setting goals for improvement. **Auditions are required and dancers must arrive ON TIME. Placement in the Masters cohort will be made by a panel of judges.
Audition Process for Advanced+ and Masters Workshops
Audition Coordinator: Shoshi
Audition Judges: Brooke, Katrina, Jeff, Kara, Shawn, John, additional judges added if numbers warrant
10:00 AM – 10:10 AM – Check-In and Warm-up
- Dancers will check-in and place number on their backs.
- Music will be playing so dancers can warm-up.
10:10 – 10:25 AM – Solo Choreography
- All dancers, Masters and Advanced, will follow Shoshi in learning a one phrase choreography.
- Shoshi will teach each move separately first, and then teach the choreography by running through it together for a song.
- Advanced and Masters dancers will separate and perform in heats for their judges.
- Each heat will loop the choreo for a few phrases so they can make the choreography their own and be seen by the judges.
10:25 AM – 10:45 AM – Social Dancing
- Students will social dance with different partners for approximately 1.5 minutes each.
- Dancers without partners will wait to the side (dancers on the floor should take it upon themselves to ask one of the people who wasn’t dancing before).
- Dancers will be told when to switch partners.
- There will be 3-4 songs to make sure everyone gets to dance a couple of times.
- Judges will make decisions tap-in style during the social dancing, and volunteers will hand individual dancers their wristbands.
- As dancers are tapped in, they should leave the dance floor, remaining dancers will find new partners.
Notes on Getting Feedback
- Judges for each level will be announced the morning of.
- All judges for each level will be judging both leads and follows.
- Feedback on auditions is not guaranteed, but dancers can approach judges according to their feedback preferences (posted here) to ask if they have any thoughts.
- We encourage students to ask about private lessons in order to receive the most in-depth, constructive feedback.
In addition to demonstrating a solid Blues Aesthetic (grounded movement, consistent presence of pulse and internal timing, asymmetry, etc) in solo and partnered movement, dancers will meet the following criteria:
Relationship with Blues Music
- Demonstrates understanding of blues structure and phrasing
- Adapts their movement quality, and their basic and/or groove to fit the music
- Comfortable dancing to a range of tempos and blues genres
- Always balanced and ready to move
- Always dancing themselves (not dependent on partner to move them)
- Able to produce full body movement (flows through the whole body) in addition to isolated movement
- Able to create, maintain, and match posture, tone, and tension with partner
- Able to lead and follow turns, momentum, and rapid changes in direction
- Maintains balance through turns, momentum, and rapid changes of direction
- Able to dance a variety of solo blues movements in partnered and solo contexts
- Dances a variety of blues idiom dances
- Shows engagement with the learning process
- Able to follow and learn choreography and complex movements
Meets all of the criteria for Advanced, in addition to the following:
Relationship with Blues Music
- Highlights and expresses macro and micro elements of the music
- Embodies the essence of conflict and contrast inherent in blues music
- Uses different body alignments to create complex movement and shapes (contra, counter, natural, etc)
- Able to intentionally match AND contrast posture, tone, and tension with their partner
- Able to use lead/follow technique to create interesting timing and rhythm
- Layers individual voice, texture, and flavor onto blues movements
- Creates or adapts new movements into a blues context and aesthetic
- Follows and learns choreography and complex movement quickly and at a high level