Workshops & Instructors

Workshops

Main Workshop Classes

Saturday
4 Hours of Honing Foundations, Connection and Partnership: The Grammar of Dance
We will be looking at the fundamentals that make partnership in blues-based partner dancing possible.  We will adapt lessons from Alexander Technique and the Franklin Method to help gain a complex understanding of how we carry ourselves in movement.  We will refine and rewrite traditional conceptions of dance partnerships by looking at our connection to the floor, our individual posture and fundamentals, the person we are dancing with, and the music.  This session will further our understanding of how our bodies work and open up new avenues of expression and movement.  A few topics to be covered will be advanced body shaping, opening movement with the use of somatics, using relative tone as a tool in partnership, and advanced posture and effective kinetics.  While this class will help students reach an advanced level of dancing and body awareness, it will be taught in a way that is immediately accessible for all levels.  
 
Sunday: 4 hours of instruction on a rolling schedule of the following 3 topics. 
Dancing to Electronica: A How-To Guide
Electronic music often is faster, more dynamic and more highly syncopated than blues, swing, or tango.  While these elements are interesting and engaging, they are also hard to dance to.  This class will develop tools and techniques for dancing to electronic music: isolations, dynamic tone, a moving pulse, and movement layering. 

Partnered Electronica: Blow. It. Up!
Glitch Hop, Dub Step, House, Downtempo, Lovestep, Wobble-Core, Electro-Circ, Electro, NuJazz, Eurobeat, Electropop, and Candy-Stomping cray-cray!!!  What!?  Learn to dance to and listen to new-wave electronica, and do it well.  We'll take an in-depth look at the dynamic musical structure of new electronic genres, and then take movements and isolations from popping, locking, and micro to compose a polyrhythmic cacophony of synesthetic bliss.  Explode!

Synesthesia: Making Your Dancing Psychedelic 
Synesthesia: "definition: [sin-uhs-thee-zhuh] sensory confusion, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color."  Its 5am at the Sunday late-night, the days of sleep deprivation have taken their toll on your mental state, and suddenly something cracks.  You begin to see the music; trebles turn yellow and sunburst while the baselines melt into earthy browns.  Next comes touch; you begin to feel sound.  The high staccato  notes of the piano tickle and isolate high in your chest, the clarinet's playful meandering become a rolling wave in your stomach, and the image of your partner's ecstatic smile tastes of a salted mango Lassie… you have arrived in the world of dancer synesthesia!

Masters' Level Workshop Auditions

You will sign up and audition in small groups on Friday night (recommended) or Saturday morning.

This unique audition design will give you a chance to show:

  • how fast you learn movement
  • how you move solo
  • how you move in partnered
  • how you move to different kinds of music

Audition format:

Participants will first learn some simple choreography (4 counts of 8). They will then get to dance to two different songs. During each song they will perform the short choreography, then solo freestyle for a time and then dance partnered (freestyle) for a time.

Audition times:

  • Friday night, 11:00 pm
  • Friday night, 12:00 am
  • Saturday morning, 10:30am (30 min before classes start)

Masters' Level Workshops

Saturday:

Fake It & Make It

How to be able to complimentarily dance to any song. What to listen for, what contact with partner, and deciphering your quality of movement.

Musicality with Jenny & Mr.Moo

Mr.Moo, a music artist of the weekend, and Jenny love to jam off each other and here you’ll find out why. We’ll break down the layers of music and how movement choices can be inspired by this kind of listening.

Bearing & Sharing

How to ask and receive weight to and from your partner by the Lead and by the Follow with some ideas on what to do with it.

Sunday:

Modern with a Partner

This class is targeted to Modern for social dancers. Touching on lines in the body, balance and some classic Modern shapes that could be used in partnered dance.

Rotational

A high level take on what creates or introduces different types of rotation in the body. How to lead and follow the variations clearly and also give the unexpected without ignoring our partner within a connection.

Instructor's Choice

This is a mystery class that will be created and tailored to what the students in this particular group will benefit from most.

 

Instructor Bios

Justin Riley

Throughout the past decade, Justin has studied, danced, and taught over a dozen forms of dances in 30 countries. He brings an international and nuanced style to every class, DJ set, and dance he does. Seven years ago, Justin fell in love with the Blues, Fusion, and Alternative-Blues movement and has never looked back. Since that time, he has become recognized as an international instructor and community organizer.

Each of Justin’s classes utilizes coursework that both refines the fundamentals of blues-based partnership and inspires creativity. Justin offers a complex understanding of body mechanics that open new avenues of expression and movement in his students. He teaches the vocabulary movement (connection, posture, frame, and musicality) and then gives students the freedom to use that vocabulary to create their own unique form of expression. He uses imagery and kinesthetic techniques adapted from Alexander Technique and the Franklin Method to develop a dynamic understanding of how we carry ourselves in movement.  

Justin is also the head organizer and founder of Blues Recess Events, has placed in numerous competitions (including third at both Blues Shout and Emerald City Blues), and commits himself to the progress of partnered dancing as a living, growing, and ever-evolving cultural art form.

 

Jenny Sowden

"You are truth in motion when you dance, Ms S." - Jason

Jenny Sowden is an award winning, full-time, international dance instructor based in New York City where she is the managing director of Brooklyn Swings and nycBABBLE.com. Jenny has been training in dance for over twenty years and teaching for over fifteen, with a BA in Dance and Theater from San Diego State University. She has studied 34 different styles of movement including Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, West African, Capoeira, Aikido, Tango, Salsa, Lindy hop, Balboa, and Blues. Her background influences her teaching and general style through musicality, variety, expression and an understanding of body mechanics. Jenny believes the dance floor is a 'World of Yes,' where by constantly accepting and being inspired by what happens, creates an amazing place to be. We then take classes in a 'World of Intention' to expand our 'World of Yes.' Find out more at JennySowden.com