Competitions

Steel City offers three competitions, based on your particular level and brand of mojo: a Newcomer J & J, an Open J & J, and a Solo Riffin’ contest.

Judges will be looking for partner connection, musicality, creativity, and blues aesthetic. The top three couples from each J & J, plus the top two from the Solo Riffin’, will win passes to national dance events.

Please note that times listed below are *approximate* and you should plan to arrive earlier than the time listed to ensure your participation. Even though we really like you, we like not making everyone else wait even better.


J & J (n)– A style of dance competition in which competitors are paired lead-follow at random, and dance to music selected by a DJ. Participants are judged as individuals during preliminaries, and as a couple during finals. Once referred to as a Jack and Jill.

JnJ LineThe Newcomer J & J is open to anyone who has never competed in a blues dance J & J before. The prelims will take place as soon as the Friday bands ends the main dance and the Late Night dance starts (~12:15am). The Finals will take place after a short break from the end of the prelims. It’s completely free, and you don’t even have to sign up – just come onto the floor when we announce that the J & J is happening! This J & J will be tapout-style until we narrow it down to our finalists, who will then pair up and have a spotlight dance and at least one all-skate.


Dan And JulieThe Open J & J is, well, open to anyone who is not a weekend instructor.  Just sign up at the registration table at any time before the competition, pay $5, and you will receive your very own competitor number and complimentary safety pins! You can also register online via the registration site to make it nice and easy. Preliminaries are Saturday afternoon at 5:15pm, immediately following the Blues Clinic. Please be there by 5:00 pm to check in and receive your number. Finals will be Saturday during the Main Dance, at approximately 10:30pm.


Riff (n) – A short rhythmic phrase, especially one that is repeated in improvisation

Sarah SoloDuring the Solo Riffin’ Contest, participants solo dance while trading off ideas inspired by the music and other dancers, much the way musicians might pass a phrase back and forth between themselves, adding to it and changing it each time.  Think cutting, but without the, “You got SERVED!” attitude. You can sign up during online registration or at the registration table with $5. Preliminaries and Finals will be during the Sunday evening dance, at approximately 9:30pm.