Workshops

Workshops take place Saturday and Sunday. (But not too early – we’re night owls, too.) Dance classes are divided into three themes: a Foundations theme to cover the basics, a Technique & Styles theme to hone skills and learn new types of blues dance, and our Make It Sing! theme to take your dancing to the next level. We are replacing our former potpourri theme (Anything Goes) with Cultural Seminars (and discussions) on blues history and modern blues culture.

You are not restricted to any one theme, and can take any class from each and any theme as you please, which gives you the freedom to work on what you need based on your abilities and interests. All of our workshops are conveniently located in adjacent rooms in a single building, and Carnegie Mellon is close to many local eateries, so finding lunch is quick and easy.

Registering for the full-weekend pass grants access to all the classes. Our beginner dance lessons before the Friday and Saturday main dances are not considered workshops, and are open to anyone attending the dance.

SCBF also hosts a blues clinic Saturday afternoon, where instructors give individuals feedback on their dancing. If you don’t have a full weekend pass, you can still attend the blues clinic, for a drop-in price. When you’re not getting feedback, you can practice alone or with a partner, or just treat it as a bonus social dance. It’s a great chance to learn more and practice your skills. Don’t miss it!

To promote the best learning environment, we ask that you arrive on time to workshops. Latecomers will not be admitted into a workshop any later than 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get to classes so that you don’t miss a minute of sweet, juicy knowledge!


Theme Descriptions

Foundations
Focusing on the core aspects of blues dance, these classes are for those with a year or less of blues experience, as well as for more experienced dancers looking to revisit and refine their understanding of essential blues technique.

Technique and Styles
These classes are intended for intermediate and advanced dancers with experience in blues, and focus on building vocabulary and refining skills. This track features classes on the physical aspects of technique and partnership, as well as classes about some of the sub-styles of blues dance that stem from the diversity of blues music.

Make It Sing!
These classes are intended for intermediate and advanced dancers with experience in blues. These classes are about putting cherries on top of your dance with musicality, play, dynamic partnership, and competition concepts.

Cultural Seminars – NEW THIS YEAR
We’re wrangling up some exciting speakers to address topics like blues history, modern blues culture, and inclusivity in blues dancing.


2018 Saturday Workshops
Times

FOUNDATIONS

RANGOS 1

TECHNIQUE & STYLES

RANGOS 2

MAKE IT SING!

RANGOS 3

CULTURAL SEMINARS

11:30am

12:30pm

Foundations

Dancing with Myself

Laney & Kenny

Technique & Styles

Understanding & Applying Blues Aesthetic

Heidi & Dexter

Make It Sing!

Adaptive Connection

Julie & Dan

Anything Goes!

12:45pm

1:45pm

Foundations

Blues Pulses

Grace & Nick

Technique & Styles

Close Embrace Connection & Expression

Julie & Dan

Make It Sing!

Off‐Axis Trust

Laura & Forrest

Anything Goes!
LUNCH BREAK: 1:45-3:00pm

3:00pm

4:00pm

Foundations

Mastering Close Embrace

Heidi & Dexter

Technique & Styles

Ballroomin’ Traveling

Sarah & Ross

Make It Sing!

Live Music Rhythms

Grace & Nick

Cultural Seminar

Seminar Title

Miss Freddye

Instructor Demo: 4:10-4:15

4:15pm

5:15pm

BLUES CLINIC: Open Jack n’ Jill check-in begins at 5:00.
Cultural Seminar
Open Practice
OPEN JACK N’ JILL PRELIMS: 5:15-5:45pm
2018 Sunday Workshops
Times

FOUNDATIONS

RANGOS 1

TECHNIQUE & STYLES

RANGOS 2

MAKE IT SING!

RANGOS 3

CULTURAL SEMINAR

SEMINAR ROOM

11:30am

12:30pm

Foundations

All the Triple Dances

Sarah & Ross

Technique & Styles

The Savoy Walk

Grace & Nick

Make It Sing!

I’ll Cut You !

Laura & Forrest

Cultural Seminars

12:45pm

1:45pm

Foundations

Rhythms & Subdivisions

Julie & Dan

Technique & Styles

Texas Shuffle

Laney & Kenny

Make It Sing!

Ballroomin’ Styling & Musicality

Heidi & Dexter

Cultural Seminars
LUNCH BREAK: 1:45-3:00pm

3:00pm

4:00pm

Foundations

Blues Idiom Teaser

Grace & Nick

Technique & Styles

Struttin’

Heidi & Dexter

Make It Sing!

Rhythmics Interplay

Julie & Dan

Cultural Seminar

4:15pm

5:15pm

Foundations

Rotational Stretch

Julie & Dan

Technique & Styles

Piedmont Blues (Triple Step Blues)

Heidi & Dexter

Make It Sing!

Next Level Struttin’

Grace & Nick

Cultural Seminar

2018 Saturday Workshop Descriptions

Dancing with MyselfLaney & Kenny

Saturday 11:30am – 12:30pm

This class will explore ways to get comfortable with moving your body to music in a solo context. If dancing alone is at all intimidating or scary for you, that’s okay! We’ll dig into why that is and give you lots of tools for breaking down that barrier.

Understanding & Applying Blues AestheticHeidi & Dexter

Saturday 11:30 – 12:30pm

What is the Blues aesthetic and how do you apply it in your movement? How does this aesthetic relate to the music and in your own body? Identify some key elements and apply them in dance. The goal of this class is to produce dynamic movement that has a clear and defined Blues aesthetic.

Adaptive ConnectionJulie & Dan

Saturday 11:30 – 12:30pm

When we dance with a partner, sometimes we have similar ideas of what to do and sometimes our ideas are very different. In this class, we’ll explore the different choices we (as leaders and followers) make that let us express ourselves and stay connected, while adapting to partner ideas. Find the ability to stay connected and expressive, even if you and your partner had very different ideas.

Blues PulsesGrace & Nick

Saturday 12:45 – 1:45pm

While pulse is defined as a physical expression of the driving rhythm in the music, that’s a pretty huge box to fill! In this class we’ll explore four of these full body grooves, as well as how the music, our partner, and our choices in movements influence which pulse we choose.

Close Embrace Connection & ExpressionJulie & Dan

Saturday 12:45 – 1:45pm

We’ll start by learning methods for having an amazingly comfortable close embrace connection. From there we’ll find some ways for followers to shape and express themselves in close embrace and for leaders to create a connection conducive to that.

Off‐Axis TrustLaura & Forrest

Saturday 12:45 – 1:45pm

Start with a comfy, drapey, close-embrace. Now push the limits of off-axis movement and turns within the partnership. Use your partner to create interesting shapes and opportunities that you can’t do on your own. Try not to fall over.

Mastering Close EmbraceHeidi & Dexter

Saturday 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Close embrace is the starting position for all Blues dances (even those spent mostly in open positions.) Learn the secrets that make this position comfortable for both you and your partners. Get the low-down on posture, frame, connection and intention that will make all the difference. We’ll discuss the social and cultural reasons people may shy away from close embrace, and why you have nothing to fear once you’ve got your technique down pat!

Ballroomin’ TravelingSarah & Ross

Saturday 3:00 – 4:00 pm

The intersection of blues and ballrooms gives rise to a style of movement influenced by the jazz of the day. This genre of blues moves across the floor where dancers had space to pick their way from one corner to the other. This class will look at movement as part of a traveling partnership. Expect rotational, lunges, stretching steps, and how to travel through line of dance.

Live Music RhythmsGrace & Nick

Saturday 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Dancing to live music is an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. In this class we’ll explore rhythms you’re likely to find while out at your favorite blues bar. As a bonus, we’ll be providing music by some of our favorite modern blues bands.

Cultural SeminarMs. Freddye

Saturday 3:00 – 4:00 pm


2018 Sunday Workshop Descriptions

All the Triple DancesSarah & Ross

Sunday 11:30am – 12:30pm

There are numerous dances that focus on a triple step. We’ll look at the basics of three of them in this class:
Chicago Triple, Piedmont, and Texas Shuffle. This class will focus on what makes each triple step different as well as the music that goes with each style.

The Savoy WalkGrace & Nick

Sunday 11:30am – 12:30pm

Developed in and named for the most famous ballroom in New York City, the Savoy Walk was danced to slower blues songs played by jazz bands as breaks from their faster numbers. The Savoy Walk is a blues idiom dance that alternates between a simple traveling two-step basic and showier turns and tricks. Develop a strong foundation with a focus on connection, traveling, rhythm, and a turn or two.

I’ll Cut You!Laura & Forrest

Sunday 11:30am – 12:30pm

Solo riffin’ competitions are friendly and collaborative. Cuttin’ is not. Join Forrest and Laura for their techniques and strategies in this battle of oneupmanship. Come learn why Forrest beat Laura in the 2017 BluesSHOUT semi-finals (and why Laura claims she will return the favor next BluesSHOUT).

Rhythms & SubdivisionsJulie & Dan

Sunday 12:45 – 1:45pm

Rhythm is foundational to blues dancing–it underlies all our dancing and is one of our main avenues of expression. In this class we’ll work on expanding our rhythmic repertoire, identifying a variety of common rhythms in blues songs & using them in our dancing.

Texas ShuffleLaney & Kenny

Sunday 12:45 – 1:45pm

Explore the basic concepts of this shuffle-focused blues idiom done to West Coast Blues. Be ready to work your feet and use compression and leverage in a new way.

Ballroomin’ Styling & MusicalityHeidi & Dexter

Sunday 12:45 – 1:45pm

Ballroom’ requires an understanding of the style of jazz music played to the feeling of the Blues. How does it differ from dancing Jook Joint style and what are the changes we make in our movement? We’ll cover some history, technique, musicality and stylistic choices that will enhance your knowledge and skill in Ballroomin’.

Blues Idiom TeaserGrace & Nick

Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm

One of the most exciting things about blues dancing is how specific idiom dances allow us to dance to even more blues music. In this class we’ll explore three different blues idiom dances at an introductory level—movement, connection, and music. Find a style you love, and you can seek out more classes in that style! Slow Drag, Struttin’, Savoy Walk

Struttin’Heidi & Dexter

Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Struttin’ is one of the more rare traveling Memphis-style juke joint dances originating in the 40s and is great for being able to dance at both medium to very fast tempos. We’ll cover the fundamentals and get into some of fun footwork patterns and improvisations. Learn the dance that all the cool kids are dancing to these days!

Rhythmics InterplayJulie & Dan

Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm

This class explores rhythm between partners. We’ll play with moments of matching and diverging, and then make things a little trickier with more specific rhythmic ideas.

Cultural SeminarKenny Blake

Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Stay a while and listen!

Rotational StretchJulie & Dan

Sunday 4:15 – 5:15pm

One of the key techniques for a blues dancer is to be able to create and match stretch in a partnership. We’ll refine our technique for creating rotational stretch in a dance, and then find some of the things we can do with it.

Piedmont Blues (Triple Step Blues)Heidi & Dexter

Sunday 4:15 – 5:15pm

This is not your basic swing step nor a cha-cha. Come learn how to relax and groove with triple-steps to fast and slow, down home, good-time party music of Piedmont Blues and songs with a similar feel. You’ll get a new perspective on how much can be done in Blues with this simple dance.

Next Level Struttin’Grace & Nick

Sunday 4:15 – 5:15pm

You’ve got a firm grasp of the fundamentals of Struttin’. What’s next? In this class we’ll play with footwork variations that can take us off-foot with our partner and 50s era snap turns, while dancing in a smaller and smaller space. Can you keep it tight, together and cool?