Blues Dancing Workshop Topics


Introduction to American Blues Dancing
Blues dancing comes from a long tradition of African American dancing to different kinds of blues music across the United States. We’ll start out by discovering the grounded movement that is the foundation of blues movement. We’ll try a few different ways of connecting with a partner in blues, and how to transition between them. Then we’ll explore some key moves that will have you ready to dance musically on the social floor.

Solo Blues Sampler
Blues dancing today draws from a wealth of African roots dances done in different parts of the United States. Explore a sampling of vocabulary that can be done alone as well as built into your partnered blues dancing. This class is different every time, but is always about grounded movement initiated from the center.

Get Hip to Solo Blues
Some would argue the pelvis is paramount when it comes to blues dancing. This workshop will focus on moves that feature our hips. Be ready to get them swinging, circling, and sliding – we’ll have you ready for breakaway in no time!

call response

Mighty Extremities
We want to make sure the mojo is flowing all the way to the tips of our limbs! In this second workshop we’ll explore moves that spotlight arms and legs. You know that awkward feeling – “What am I supposed to do with this arm?” Bid it farewell and get your whole body engaged in delightful solo blues movement!

Call and Response
A brilliant thing about blues dancing is the possibility to move into open position or breakaway, with each partner taking turns in a dialogue of movement. Learn some useful vocabulary as well as how to take inspiration from your partner to create new variations and shapes in your own dancing!

Playful Blues
(60-120 minutes)
One of the beautiful things about blues is the incredible range of possibilities it offers. In this class, rather than focusing on being ‘correct,’ we will explore a variety of ways to express ourselves to the music and connect with our partners. You’ll learn neat ways to surprise, delight, and inspire each other.

Chicago Blues
Ask someone what blue music is, and they’re likely to hum a famous Chicago blues riff: da-NA-na-na-NA pum-pum pum-pum. In this class we’ll start with the foundations for moving to Chicago Blues music: pulse, posture, timing, tone, and connection. But Chicago Blues is all about groovin’, so we’ll spice things up with hip action, upper body movement, turns, and rhythm variation as well.

Moving Around the Ballroom

Ballroomin’ Blues developed around the jazz blues that was played in ballrooms in the American North like the Savoy Club and Cotton Club. With plenty of space to play with, this style is characterized by upright posture and plenty of traveling. We’ll work on dynamic movement and have some fun changing positions and turning.

close embrace

The Art of Close Connection
Whether in drag blues, ballrooming, or cuddly fusion dancing, close-body connection is a beautiful way for two dancers to move as one. Achieving the desired fluidity takes engagement on both sides, though! Get the technique you need to make this lead and follow dynamic effortless.

With You by My Side
In blues dancing, we spend a lot of our time dancing face to face. But it’s also sweet to have a partner right by your side! We’ll take a simple position change and layer in a few new dimensions to give you some sweet new moves – and the know-how to keep creating more.

Smooth Movement and Slow Motion
How do you create that beautiful feeling of flow? Discover the technique you need to move smoothly with your partner through those stretched-out moments of melody. Achieve slow motion while staying relaxed and enjoying a comfortable connection.

Fast Blues
When the music speeds up, some dancers start to feel stressed. The dance floor suddenly gets less crowded. But there’s no reason to fear! In this workshop we’ll discover the joy of fast blues dancing. Explore moves that are well-suited to faster tempos and learn technique that will help you stay relaxed. By the time the social rolls around, you’ll be ready to join the upbeat party on the floor.

Tight Quarters, Creative Fun
Blues dancing is often done in places that don’t offer much room to move around in. Whether it’s dancing to live music in a bar or heading into a full venue at a dance weekend, you don’t want to feel like you’ve run out of options when your space is limited. We will learn new moves and explore elements that will expand your creative ideas – all while avoiding bumping into people.

Micro Blues
When the venue is tiny or crowded, or you just want to take time to be near your partner, Micro Blues is the perfect fit. Come have a look at the possibilities of a few different close connections. Discover the intricacies of expressing yourself in micro as well as turning up the magnification of your listening skills. We’ll explore the full range of micro-dancing, from tiniest whisper of movement to moves that play with limited space.


Freezing, Melting, and Other Dynamic Changes
(90-120 minutes)
The music we dance to today is layered and variable. Shouldn’t our dancing be equally interesting? In this class, technique and musicality are at the forefront. We’ll play with dynamic accelerations, slow melts, and freezes.

Blues Connection: Squish and Stretch
(90-120 minutes)
Get ready to dive deep into connection technique so we can unlock some amazing possibilities in our dance. We’ll experiment with building compression and stretch, as well as how to use leverage to smoothly initiate wonderfully dynamic maneuvers. Expect technique exercises as well as challenging, awesome moves

Transitions and Positions
Ever feel like you’re stuck in one position? This class will equip you with all the technique you need for transitioning from and to closed position, open position, and outside partner while maintaining good connection. We’ll explore several steps and moves that vary our orientation to one another and transitioning smoothly. We all have our go-to patterns; this class will free you up to incorporate a wealth of other dance vocabulary. Never feel stuck again!

Blues Magic
You are invited to discover the secrets behind some “sleight-of-foot” tricks that will surprise, delight, and add magic to your partnered blues dancing. We’ll explore using alternative connection points and dissociation to master illusions. Leave this workshop with all new flair!

Dynamic Shifts in Weight
As we go about our daily lives, we don’t give much thought to how we get around – our feet just carry us. When we enter the world of dance, we learn to pay attention to weight changes and the way we step. This class will take you beyond that to considering the spectrum of possibilities that exist for steps and weight changes, including syncopated steps, touch steps, taps, pivots, and more. We’ll try out several moves that encourage us to play with dynamic weight changes.

Textured Dancing
There are a huge range of qualities we can change in our blues dancing. We have a tendency to pay more attention to some (tempo, rhythm, direction, connection…) than others. In this class we will take time to explore some other possibilities we can use for expressive movement, including sharp and smooth textures, lines and curves, moods and energy. Come transform the texture of your dance!