Workshops

See the full weekend schedule.

Or download and print your own copy of the workshop schedule.
Printable SCB2020 Class Schedule

Workshops take place Saturday and Sunday. (But not too early – we’re night owls, too.) Dance classes are divided into four 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. Plus! We’ll have Cultural Seminars (and discussions) on Blues history and modern Blues culture and other Anything Goes classes too!

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. Au Bon Pain is even available just down the hall.

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
We’re wrangling up some exciting speakers to address topics like Blues history, modern Blues culture, and inclusivity in Blues dancing.

Anything Goes
Anything goes classes are the ones that didn’t fit into any of the other tracks!

2020 Saturday Workshops
Times
Foundations
in Rangos 1
Technique & Styles
in Rangos 2
Make It Sing!
in Rangos 3
Cultural Seminars / Anything Goes
location in description
10:30am–11:30am
Technique & Styles
Warm Up & Active Stretching
Zelly
Make It Sing!
Slow Drag Through Time — BYOP Advanced Class
Kelsy Stone and Damon Stone
11:40am–12:40pm
Foundations
Intro to Slow Drag
Julie Brown and Dan Repsch
Cultural Seminars
A Passion for Blues
Damon Stone, Miss Freddye, and Odysseus Bailer, moderated by Grey Armstrong
12:50pm–1:50pm
Foundations
Dance Foreplay 😉
Grey Armstrong and Joshua Purnell
Technique & Styles
Slow Drag: Digging Deeper
Krystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Make It Sing!
Live Music Class
Julie Brown and Dan Repsch, with music by Adam Lee, Ryan Salisbury, and Dan Leon
Cultural Seminars
How and Why Should Blues Music Change?
Miss Freddye Stover
Lunch Break: 2:00pm–3:00pm
3:10pm–4:10pm
Foundations
Close Embrace Challenge
Kenneth Shipp and Andi Hansen
Technique & Styles
Rhythm is Life: Shuffle and Triples in Blues
Kelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Make It Sing!
Crafting a Partnership
Krystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Anything Goes
Forging Your Own Path
Caroline Leitschuh
Instructor Demo: 4:20pm–4:25pm
4:25pm–5:25pm
Blues Clinic
Open M&M check in begins at 5:15pm
Anything Goes
Open Practice
Open M & M Prelims: 5:30pm-6:30pm
2020 Sunday Workshops
Times
Foundations
in Rangos 1
Technique & Styles
in Rangos 2
Make It Sing!
in Rangos 3
Cultural Seminars / Anything Goes
location in description
10:30am–11:30am
Technique & Styles
Warm Up & Active Stretching
Zelly
11:40am–12:40pm
Foundations
Walkin’ in the Ballroom
Krystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Technique & Styles
So You Wanna Be a Wilkerson?
Grey Armstrong and Joshua Purnell
Make It Sing!
Lag It Out
Kenneth Shipp and Andi Hansen
Anything Goes
Meet in the Middle: Strategies to Help Your Community Learn
Caroline Leitschuh
12:50pm–1:50pm
Foundations
Janky Shapes
Kenneth Shipp and Andi Hansen
Technique & Styles
What Can You Do with a Single Step?
Julie Brown and Dan Repsch
Make It Sing!
Wheel of Music!
Kelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Cultural Seminars
Nights in Fairy-Land: Stories of LGBTQ Jazz & Blues Artists
Joey Science
Lunch Break: 2:00pm–3:00pm
Emily Thomas in the Activities Room
“Women in Jazz and Blues — Heard From, Not Often Heard Of”
3:10pm–4:10pm
Foundations
Dynamic Partnerships
Kelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Technique & Styles
Cuttin’
Krystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Make It Sing!
Jukin’ Rhythmic Diversity
Julie Brown and Dan Repsch
Cultural Seminar
Want to Be a Better Dancer? Sing.
Grey Armstrong
4:20pm–5:20pm
Foundations
Blues Vocabulary
Blues Vocabulary
Technique & Styles
So Hot!/Cool Like That
Kelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Make It Sing!
Getting What You Want From a Dance
Grey Armstrong and Joshua Purnell
Anything Goes
Practice Teaching Blues Dance
Krystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
2020 Saturday Workshop Descriptions
Warm Up & Active StretchingZelly
Saturday 10:30am–11:30am
Warm up with some dancing 10:30–11:00 and then enjoy guided body activation / active stretching from 11:00–11:30.This body activation class will get minds and muscles ready for a day of movement.Disclaimer: this is an active class and we will be on the floor on our hands and knees and bending over all the way, so you may want to wear clothing that is not restrictive.
Slow Drag Through Time — BYOP Advanced ClassKelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Saturday 10:30am–11:30am
Slow Drag is the oldest of the surviving partnered blues dances and has been a key fixture of Black American social dance for 130 years. Each decade’s music left an imprint and each generation had their own interpretation of this dance. We’ll start with proto blues music and work our way to today’s slow jams all to better understand the versatility and enduring popularity of this dance.Note: please bring your own partner or arrive early to find a partner. We will not be rotating as a part of this class.
Intro to Slow DragJulie Brown and Dan Repsch
Saturday 11:40am–12:40pm
Historically one of the key dances of literally bringing people together, regardless of their dance background or experience. We’ll use the slow drag as a jumping off point to explore the embrace dance position, key partnering elements, and aesthetics of Blues dance. As a bonus, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what the Slow Drag dance is.
A Passion for BluesDamon Stone, Miss Freddye, and Odysseus Bailer, moderated by Grey Armstrong
Saturday 11:40–12:40pmRangos 3
A panel featuring one of our instructors, one of our musicians, and one of our DJs discussing how they found their passion for the Blues and why it became such a large part of their lives.
Dance Foreplay 😉Grey Armstrong and Joshua Purnell
Saturday 12:50pm–1:50pm
It’s easy to get excited and rush right in. We’d rather you try taking a moment to settle into a dance. By establishing tone and tension, negotiating connection and consent, getting a feel for your partnership, and sinking into the music, you’ll be ready to have a more enjoyable dance. Once you learn this skill, you won’t want to rush in ever again.
Slow Drag: Digging DeeperKrystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Saturday 12:50am–1:50pm
So you’ve been dancing Slow Drag for a while now? Come join us, and we’ll work on refining the fundamentals, really picking out the specific details of the dance, and work on layering with a partner to find a beautiful groove on the dance floor.
Live Music ClassJulie Brown and Dan Repsch
Saturday 12:50pm–1:50pm
Description TBA.
How and Why Should Blues Music Change?Miss Freddye Stover
Saturday 12:50pm–1:50pmPeter Room
Blues music as a genre has been around since the 1870s and it has gone through many different iterations in these past 150 years. What’s coming next and why should Blues continue to evolve?
Close Embrace ChallengeKenneth Shipp and Andi Hansen
Saturday 3:10pm–4:10pm
Come to class ready to push past your close embrace defaults, evaluating the feel and position of your close embrace, and recognize the areas to play in this position from dance to dance.
Rhythm is Life: Shuffle and Triples in BluesKelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Saturday 3:10pm–4:10pm
We’ll examine three idiom dances, Chicago Triple, Piedmont Triple, and Texas Shuffle whose music is rooted in the use of triplets and shuffles. We’ll identify the feeling of the music and examine the distinctive footwork of each dance as well as how to play and improvise within them.
Crafting a PartnershipKrystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Saturday 3:10pm–4:10pm
At the beginning of a dance, we all take steps to find a common baseline with our partner and groove from there. In this class, we’ll break that partnership down to precise minutiae and provide a framework to explore just HOW we establish that groove, regardless of blues dance style!
Forging Your Own PathCaroline Leitschuh
Saturday 3:10pm–4:10pmPeter Room
When it comes to our dance journey, there is no map to guide us. It can be challenging to figure out what we’re supposed to learn, when we’re supposed to learn it, and what our goals should be. This interactive session is designed to help you figure out what you want your experience to look like, and will touch on topics such as goal-setting, learning the history and culture of Blues along with how to dance it, and good allyship. We’ll be exploring a lot of ideas, so make sure to bring a notebook!
2020 Sunday Workshop Descriptions
Warm Up & Active StretchingZelly
Sunday 10:30am–11:30am
Warm up with some dancing 10:30–11:00 and then enjoy guided body activation / active stretching from 11:00–11:30.This body activation class will get minds and muscles ready for a day of movement.Disclaimer: this is an active class and we will be on the floor on our hands and knees and bending over all the way, so you may want to wear clothing that is not restrictive.
Walkin’ in the BallroomKrystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Sunday 11:40am–12:40pm
Whether in Idiom or Freestyle ballroomin’, when Jazz Blues begins to play, we get to walkin’! In this class, we’ll explore our relationship with the ground & with our partner to step powerfully & confidently every time! Planting ourselves like a tree with every step to clearly resolve balance will concretely center your relationship with the ground & the music! Improving clarity through firmly grounded movement generated via your pulse will allow for increased precision in your movements & improve your own musical representation throughout any dance.
So You Wanna Be a Wilkerson?Grey Armstrong and Joshua Purnell
Sunday 11:40am–12:40pm
What do you do if you aren’t tall and dancing with your significant other/dance partner but want to add a little razzle dazzle to your dance? Let us show you! We are known as subtle and cozy dancers but create smaller fancy/difficult moments in our dances to make them fun and musical. We want to share that with you and teach you to find moments to safely add flash, flourish, and self expression to your dance, so you too can feel as cool as a Wilkerson.
Lag It OutKenneth Shipp and Andi Hansen
Sunday 11:40am–12:40pm
Lag can feel great when you communicate well with your partner and based off the music. We’ll go into ways you can push these blues basic concepts further, and what footwork and body shaping variations it allows you to create as well.
Meet in the Middle: Strategies to Help Your Community LearnCaroline Leitschuh
Sunday 11:40am–12:40pmPeter Room
Learning and improvement are a focus of many dancers, and one of the reasons that workshop weekends exist. However, creating opportunities for learning takes a lot of energy and can contribute to organizer stress and burnout. During this organizer-oriented discussion, we’ll talk about how to provide for the needs of your community while still taking care of yourself.
Janky ShapesKenneth Shipp and Andi Hansen
Sunday 12:50pm–1:50pm
Black dancers in the juke joint utilized a variety of asymmetrical shapes and contrasting textures in their blues dances that felt incredibly cool. We’ll dive into mastering and adding these ideas and shapes into your jookin’ dances.
What Can You Do with a Single Step?Julie Brown and Dan Repsch
Sunday 12:50pm–1:50pm
Stepping half time is ubiquitous in our Blues dance community. But a simple rhythm doesn’t necessarily mean a simple movement. We’ll show ways to stylize this rhythm so that you can have a creative dance even without changing the baseline rhythm.
Wheel of Music!Kelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Sunday 12:50pm–1:50pm
We’ll listen to and learn to identify the various elements which define sub-genres of blues music as well as the specific elements which define particular blues songs and explore how best to build a dance around those elements.
Nights in Fairy-Land: Stories of LGBTQ Jazz & Blues ArtistsJoey Science
Sunday 12:50pm–1:50pmPeter Room
The history of jazz and blues is rich with openly gay, lesbian and bisexual artists, as well as the beginnings of drag. We’ll talk about some of those artists as well as the historical context that both allowed these artists to flourish and eventually contributed to the straight-washed retelling of jazz and blues history that is sometimes popularized.
Women in Jazz and Blues — Heard From, Not Often Heard OfEmily Thomas
Sunday 2:00pm–3:00pmActivities Room
Bring your lunch (Au Bon Pain is just down the hall) and we’ll talk about the contributions of women to blues and jazz music over the last century. We’ll explore liner notes and recording history, and dive in to some woman recording artists that you may not be familiar with on a first name basis. Plus, I’ll share tips and tricks on how I’ve done research so that you can learn how to find info as you expand your own knowledge along your DJ journey.
Dynamic PartnershipsKelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Sunday 3:10pm–4:10pm
This class will explore the process of turning a dance into a genuine conversation between the partners with the way we compliment, compare, and contrast our movement with that of our partner. These are often viewed as advanced concepts but we believe they are a fundamental part of the basic structure of all Blues dances and as such recommend this class for dancers of every level.
Cuttin’Krystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Sunday 3:10pm–4:10pm
Solo Dancing has always had a place in competition. But whether you’re competing for a crowd or throwing down with a friend, a spirited cuttin’ bout can really help to inspire yourself and others. We’ll work in this class on what it really means to cut, from one-upping your friends to pointing our their strengths.
Jukin’ Rhythmic DiversityJulie Brown and Dan Repsch
Sunday 3:10pm–4:10pm
There’s an incredible variety in the rhythms of Jukin’ Blues music! In this class we’ll learn to recognize some of these rhythms, and several ways to articulate each. Train your ear and widen your repertoire!
Want to Be a Better Dancer? Sing.Grey Armstrong
Sunday 3:10pm–4:10pmPeter Room
Sometimes the best way to get better at dancing is to focus on your relationship to music. Many Black Americans learn to sing at an early age and this shapes our understanding of music, in a experiential way. An easy way to train your ear is to join the tradition and learn to sing!
Blues VocabularyJulie Brown and Dan Repsch
Sunday 4:20pm–5:20pm
In dance, like speaking, knowing a few words makes composing your ideas much easier. In this class we’ll learn several key Blues movements, how to partner them, and how we can transition smoothly into the next idea.
So Hot!/Cool Like ThatKelsy Stone and Damon Stone
Sunday 4:20pm–5:20pm
This class will discuss and work on two fundamental elements of the artistic side of the Blues aesthetic, ephebism and coolness. While on the surface the youthful vigor of ephebism seems in direct conflict with the studied nonchalance and ease of coolness but through exercises, we’ll see how the two are not just linked by requiring each other to truly reach their heights in blues.
Getting What You Want From a DanceGrey Armstrong and Joshua Purnell
Sunday 4:20pm–5:20pm
Have you ever watched someone amazing from across the room and HAD to dance with them, but when the time came it wasn’t what you hoped it would be. The song comes on and you know, you want a simple slow dance but your partner wants polyrhythms and flash. You want up pulse and they want down. How do you have an amazing dance when you and your partner just can’t sync up?? We’ve got some answers and it might surprise you.
Practice Teaching Blues DanceKrystal Wilkerson and Adam Wilkerson
Sunday 4:20pm–5:20pmActivities Room
If you’re new to teaching blues dance and want to get your feet wet, this is the class for you! Targeted at newer teachers, we’ll help you focus your lesson planning and movement development, and give you in-class hands-on time teaching a small group, complete with feedback on your methods.