Last Saturday I taught a blues workshop in our nation’s capital of Ottawa with none other than the illustrious Joy Arico. Teaching with Joy is actually (pardon the pun) joyous because she just has such an infectious love of the blues that when you are around her when she is talking about the techniques/aesthetics/history of the dance, you can’t help but feel invigorated.
Teaching in Ottawa is like coming home for me because that is where I won my first real blues competition and that is where I started learning how to do partner connection for realsies (Ottawa Blues Blast represent). I always tell people if it wasn’t for those early events that I went to in Ottawa, I probably would not have gotten into blues dancing (as there weren’t any venues in Toronto to dance it at that time) and I probably wouldn’t have moved to Montréal to start my soon to be awesome jass café (hee hee).
The classes that we taught:
Shedding the Fear (and Loving Solo Blues): Just about everyone has at one point or another been absolutely terrified about the prospect of solo dancing. That might even describe you right now. Solo dancing is not as scary as most people make it out to be in their minds and in this first class of the day, we’ll work together to really solidify some essential vernacular solo blues movements to give you confidence at your next jam (or even just next break-away). There are short cuts to blues dance happiness, and being able to dance on your own is one of them.
(It’s All About) Making a Connection: Mmm… blues connection. This is class is all about creating, maintaining and changing your connection with your partner and the music. We’ll work on some common and (not so common) blues partnering movements while really emphasizing the connection mechanics behind them so what you feel when you are blues dancing actually matches what you look like.
Hoodoo (Wo)Man Blues – A Solo Choreography: Now that we got some fundamental down, let’s create some dance magic together. This is a fun (and appropriately challenging) choreography class to some sounds that we all love from blues jazz music – heavy drums, dark sax, and that oh so fun rough growling brass sounds.
We actually didn’t end up teaching this class because the previous class was going so well that Joy and I decided to just keep continuing the partnering concepts and exercises :)
Myth Busters – Blues Edition 2.0: Blues is a great dance for exploration of ideas and concepts. Some of these ideas work. But lets face it, many of them, do not. Uncover the truth behind the myths for yourself!