This year we don’t have strict “Beginner” and “Intermediate” tracks. That means that most of you have two classes to choose from each hour. We tried to divide them up with some sense of logic. Generally speaking, Track A is more focused on vocabulary and style. And Track B is more technique. But that is a a very big generalization. So look at your options and see what sounds more interesting or more helpful! And don’t flee when you hear the word “basic” in the class description. Everyone works on basics. Poke your head into one of the Master’s classes and what are they working on? Yep, basics.
Foundations – Dave and Haley
We’ll be breaking down everything that makes Blues work. We will explore the the heart of connection and movement in Blues dancing. For all levels – whether you’re new or experienced in Blues, this is a great way to make sure that you’re building on solid ground.
Precision Blues – Shawn and Amanda
Learn the differences between weight changes and steps and how to apply them. We’ll cover how to lead basic patterns like the box step, then use them as a basis for leading and following Thelonious Monk-like rhythms and level changes, so you can turn your bodies into bebop instruments!
Juke Joint Style Blues – Lucky and Rachael
Juke joint style blues is a style of blues based off of the slow dances being done in Juke joints around America at the turn of the last century. This class will give you a firm grip on the basics of blues dancing and will go over weight shifts, pulse, fishtails and counter balance.
Lego Your Preconceptions – Lucas and Karen
Learn 125 moves in 1 hour without getting overwhelmed. This is where we take what we know that you know and show you that you know more than you think you know… You know? HINT: Be here on time because things seem to expand at an increasing rate as the class goes on! WARNING: Possible chain reactions may be observed.
Ballrooming 1 – Lucky and Karen
This is the modern interpretation for the slow dancing done at the savoy ballroom in the 40′s and 50′s. Traditionally it was danced with many turns, lifts, and dips. Today it has been developed into very dynamic dance adding a new flavor of movement to the floor craft.
Drag Blues – Joe and Nelle
Drag blues, a modern variation of Ballroomin’ and Slow Drag, is a style danced to the swinging rhythms found in Blues music. While based on vintage traveling Blues dances, it has more defined technique and intigrates Swing moves and movements.
Blues Rhythm Variations – John and Ruby
Good blues dancing is about creating polyrhythms in your body and playing with the rhythms in the music. We’ll build off of basic rhythms to cover triples, syncopated triples, how to handle songs with repeated hard breaks, (a la Mannish Boy), and how to add fancy footwork into your basic. This content is great for crowded floors and for spicing up your basics.
So like we mentioned earlier, Track B is a bit more focused on technique.
Musicality – Lucky and Rachael
This is a fun and exciting class that will help you discover how to interpret the music in new ways – the hallmark of a great dancer is how they interpret the music.
Turn Technique – Kenny and Heather
Exercises to perfect our turns whether they’re single axis pirouettes, down the line turns, or off axis.
Mo’ Mentum – Shawn and Amanda
Put some kick in your blues! In this class, we’ll teach complex moves with lots of momentum, and use them to show you how to maximize stretch and redirect energy. Caution: use of momentum can be addictive!
Dancing Alpha – John and Ruby
Alpha dancing is not just about attitude- there’s a technique to it. When it comes to learning how to dance, a lead’s first year can be incredibly emasculating. In this class you’ll learn how to regain your sense of manhood through specific movement and exercises (whether you’re a lady or a gent!).
Follows who are newer to dance are often led to believe that they should just follow and be passive. But we’re going to work on your Alpha too, because following is not just for Betas! We’ll build your power, presence and clarity of movement so that nobody ever doubts you on the dance floor.
Open Blues – Dave and Haley
Blues is more than just SIP (“swaying in place”), so let’s make our dance move! We’ll work on swooping around the dance floor in the Blues paradigm and opening up our connection to create even more dynamic energy in our dancing.
Ballrooming 2 – Lucky and Karen
This class expands on the concepts in Ballrooming 1 and adds more complicated patterns.
You remember that time you went to a blues workshop weekend, and you got into the “Advanced” track, and then you noticed that guy or girl who’s only been dancing a week is in the same class as you? We’re not that kind of event. The advanced track should never be the largest track at an event. In fact, we think it should be the smallest. Statistically speaking, you only have about a 30% chance of being in this track. Yeah, we’re gonna be ruthless. Get over it.
Blues Performance Routine – Joe and Nelle
Joe and Nelle’s 2009 BluesShout routine is the most viewed Blues showcase video on YouTube. In this class, learn a challenging routine to inspire your dancing.
Momentum – Dave and Haley
The question we’d like to ask you is this: Have you ever really used your partner? Because we believe your partner would like it. And we bet that you’d like to be used as well. We’re going to show you how to give and take massive amounts of energy into your dancing, and you’ll have your partner to thank.
Independent Connection – Dave and Haley
Sometimes connection is simple. The lead and follow move as one, which is lovely, but this simple frame limits our movement. Sometimes we want to stretch our frame and use each side independently. To do this with a good connection takes some skill building which we’ll learn in this class. Car freaks will enjoy thinking of how an independent suspension works. Blues freaks will love the new shapes and energy it brings to their dance.
Spotlight Blues – Shawn and Amanda
Learn how to make the most of your time when you’re the center of attention, whether it’s competing or performing. We’ll teach you some flashy moves we use in competitions and show you how and when to use them. We’ll also have a short discussion where you can ask us questions, and we’ll give you our best tips on being great performers.
Fast Blues – Rachael
Blues isn’t always slow. In this class we’ll show you innovative techniques for keeping up with the faster tempos.
Spanish Tinge – Shawn and Amanda
In the early 1900s, blues, jazz, and tango were all popular music forms and were mixed together by great musicians. Similarly, many tango moves are now commonly mixed into ballroomin’ blues dance. We’ll teach you some sweet techniques, moves, and sequences that we find both challenging and cool!
If you’re in this track, you probably teach locally if not regionally. You might compete at blues events, and make finals. In any case, you’re regarded as a very good dancer. The classes in the D track are going to be quite small, and for good reason. Classes will be fast-paced, nitpicky, and frequent peer-to-peer instruction. The instructors are there less to teach you than to guide you.
Tipping the Balance – Shawn and Amanda
Balance is an essential skill for any advanced dancer. In this class, we’ll show you how to break the rules and play with being off balance with controlled falls, tips, and leans. We’ll use these techniques to create beautifully musical suspensions and releases.
Lyrical Blues – John and Ruby
When the music doesn’t have a continuous rhythm or the melody takes over, we put a serious focus on connection while pulse takes a back-seat. Learn how connected movement that interprets the melody can make your dancing more musical. We’ll help you create tension, holds and dynamic release in your dancing that both feels and looks delicious.
Real Drag Blues I – Joe and Nelle
Two-Class Progressive Series, part 1: You’ve heard of it, maybe taken a few classes, but we’re here to get down to the nitty gritty of what Drag Blues really is. We’ll work the body positioning, energy and connection.
Rhythm and slides – Lucky and Rachael
This class will focus on putting rhythms and slides into your blues dancing that will give it a fresh look and sound.
Real Drag Blues II – Joe and Nelle
Two-Class Progressive Series, part 2: We’ve worked the body positioning, energy and connection in part 1, now incorporate the rhythm and style that truley makes Drag Blues unique.
Intentional Musicality – Dave and Haley
This ain’t no “hoo-ha” touchy-feely class about being more emotional while dancing, yet failing to give you the tools to do that. We teach Musicality in a way you haven’t seen before. We will show you ways to consciously and deliberately connect with the music with clear and simple techniques that your partner will love. Heck, Musicality class descriptions are always generic. But we can assure you is this one is frickin’ awesome.
She’s Driving, He’s GPS – Kenny and Heather
Too often dancers become passive in their roles. We will focus on becoming more active- leaders providing directions, followers driving the kinetic dance engine.
It has been proven time and time again that improving your solo movement will improve your partnered movement. That is why we always have one hour of workshops dedicated so solo dancing at every level.
Dancing With Myself – Shawn and Amanda
Before you can dance with another person, you have to be able to dance by yourself! We’ll teach solo dance techniques essential for beginners, and make them fun and accessible!
Spirit Moves – Kenny and Heather
Moves inspired by the Spirit Moves documentary.
Short Stories of Masculine Movement – John
We will tell a manly tale of pride, wrath, lust, and suffering. Stories have a hook that draws the reader in, rising action that leads to a turning point, and falling action that resolves conflicts and concludes the story. Going beyond a mere vocabulary lesson in manly moves, we will examine the mechanics of transitions, and quality of movement as influenced by the mood, melody, and rhythms of the music.
Women’s Solo – Ruby
Solo dancing is about more than just moves. This class focuses on mechanics, movement quality, attitude, and discovering ways to build your own solo movement vocabulary, as well as exercises you can do on your own to build your skills. The latter half of the class will focus on solo partnership and elements of riffing and cutting.
Just like when you were in school (or maybe you still are!), electives are something a little different, something new to try! Whether you wanna learn some West Coast Swing, some cool aerial moves, or learn to play an instrument, we have it all! All levels are welcome in theses classes.
Blues Harmonica – Ronnie and Gerry
Learn to play an instrument! All students will get their own harmonica to take home. It does cost an extra $10, which basically pays for your harmonica.
Lindy and Blues – How to know when to swing-out and when to not – John and Ruby
Lots of dancers came to Blues through Lindy-Hop and it’s still tempting to swing-out even when the music does not truly swing. But what about when it does swing? We’ll examine the use of shuffles and triples, how to make your moves truly bluesy within a swingin’ beat, and when it’s right to rock-step, triple step and swing out when the band kicks it up.
Inappropriate Moves – Kenny and Heather
Enjoyed across the United States and the world, learn socially leadable inappropriate moves. It’s fun, they’re versatile, and it all depends on context. Really.
Silky Smooth Swing – Shane and Keri
West Coast Swing and Blues are very closely related by music and movement, especially when danced in closed position. For people who are already dancers in Blues, Lindy, and/or Fusion dances this is a great opportunity to add more flair and style to your Blues by complementing your dance with new movements. This will be a great taster for those looking for new challenges and styling.
Lifts and Wraps – Dave and Haley
“Birds flying high, and you know how I feel..” It’s time to add the third dimension to our dance and fly through the air. We’ll be working on some safe and exciting moves that will knock your follower’s socks off. Note: Follows, bring an extra pair of socks.
“Every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.” In our class we’re gonna work on some various exercises to improve balance, mobility, core strength and conditioning. This should give you some good ideas on how to tailor your own conditioning regimen at home.
Lunch ‘n Learn
Lunch ‘n Learn is a new idea for 2012! During lunch on Saturday and Sunday, we have some really awesome guest lecturers that will be talking about some cool stuff in Blues! We’ve scheduled enough time that you can go grab your lunch and be back in time to catch the whole talk!
Blues Grooves – Ronnie and Gerry
Want to request a song or groove from the band or DJ, but not remember or know the name of it? We’ll review the lingo used by blues bands to create danceable grooves live and on record. We’ll get you hip, kids, so you can rap with the cats (snap)!
History of Blues Dance – Joe and Nelle
Experience the history of Blues through the stories, videos and images of the dancers living it.
(*Level testing required to be in Tracks C and D.)