This week at Blues Union

Thursday, April 29

Hello everyone!

We have a special guest this week at Blues Union – Ruth Hoffman (who teaches and runs a San Francisco dance called Shades of Blues) is flying in all the way from San Francisco just to come teach for us! (Though I hear she might be seeing the city over the weekend or something on the side). Here are the classes she’s throwing down!

Dance Texture (Intermediate, 7:30-8:15):

How do you give your dance different flavors? Sometimes it’s all in the tiny details; sometimes it’s in an energetic explosion. This class will explore the same movements dialed back to a 0 or amped up to a 10, and the different techniques and impacts they come with. We’ll take movements and explore masculine and feminine ways of expressing them, finding fluidity and sharpness.

Blues Fundamentals (Beginner, 8:15-9:00):

Are you looking for an introduction to blues? This class will give you the tools you need to get started. Have you been dancing blues for six months or less? This class will refine your basics and add more vocabulary, including turning in place, traveling, and an inside under-arm turn.

After the lessons, Ruth will be teaming up with Khrysti Smyth to spin some tunes for the rest of the night!

See you all on the dance floor!

Thursday, April 22

Hello again!

This week we have an out-of-town DJ coming in from Albany, one of our own DJs coming out of hiding, and Gui and Amanda teaching a set of classes focused on polyrhythms! Check this out:

Percussive Blues (Intermediate, 7:30-8:15):

In any Blues song there are often three or more rhythmic lines playing at the same time. When we start dancing, it’s often easiest to dance to the drum line or the bass line, as they’re the most predictable and repetitive lines in the music. In this class, we’ll show you a number of footwork methods and body isolations that you can use to follow any rhythmic line you want, whether it be a classic, repetitive rhythm line or a more spontaneous melodic line. This can turn into a Blues dance that feels like it has roots in tap or other percussive dances, where your body can become one of the instruments in the music!

Travelin’ Blues (Beginner, 8:15-9:00)

This class will borrow footwork concepts from Percussive Blues and bring them down to the beginner level, in order to allow newcomer and beginner dancers to travel around the room following whatever rhythmic line they’re inspired by. The class will cover both closed position and close embrace frames.

After the lessons, we have Leslie Stevenson and Alana Epstein DJing for us! Leslie will be joining us all the way from Albany, and Alana will be coming out from underneath piles of schoolwork.

As always, the lesson is $5 and the dance is another $5.

See you soon!

Thursday, April 15

And we’re back!

Our month of guest instructors is over, and we’ve practiced all they had to teach us. Our local instructors are nice and rested up, and ready to get back in the game! And so Gui and Jenn kick off the month with…

Silky Smooth Moves (Intermediate, 7:30-8:15):

Do you feel lost when the music slows down and the piano starts getting playful? You love the sound of Etta James and Nina Simone, but you start to feel silly just swaying back and forth because you don’t know what to do when it gets that slow? Come to Silky Smooth Moves, where Gui and Jenn will teach you exciting steps and movements that you can whip out when the music gets slow and soulful.

Simply Smooth (Beginner, 8:15-9:00):

Simply Smooth is the result of Gui and Jenn continuing to break the smooth movements of their dancing down so that newcomers and beginners can feel confident during the slow numbers, too! Join us for a lesson in being comfortable and challenged while dancing slowly.

After the dance, Amy Kucharik will be spinning alongside Bryan Stephan, a local dancer who will be DJing for the first time! Come support both of them and their excellent taste in music by making the loud noises of your choice in their general direction.

See you Thursday!

Thursday, April 8

Our month of guest instructors is over, sadly, but this Thursday we have the opportunity for you to practice what you’ve learned! We’re going to throw down an ol’-fashioned Blues Clinic, where instructors and advanced dancers mill about the room dancing with everyone and offering feedback. You essentially get mini private Blues dancing lessons with the dancers of your choice, who give you feedback and things to work on in order to make your dancing feel better! Blues Clinics help everyone from inexperienced newcomers right off the street to advanced dancers looking to tweak their performance to perfection. The Blues Clinic takes the place of our traditional lessons, running from 7:30 to 9:00.

Plus, if you attend the Blues Clinic you’re automatically entered into a raffle for a FREE private lesson with the Blues instructors of your choice!

After the Blues Clinic, Gui Cavalcanti and John Brooks will be spinning up a storm for you at the DJ booth!

As always, the Blues Clinic is $5 and the dance is $5.

See you all out on the floor!

Thursday, April 1

We’re wrapping up our month of guest instructors and DJs with a special treat… this Thursday, we have Carsie Blanton of Philadelphia teaching a hour-and-a-half long all-level class (beginner, intermediate, and advanced dancers are all welcome!) on the history of Blues music and the dances that have evolved alongside it! Check out the class description:

We all love Blues music, because it makes us want to dance! But have you ever wondered how Blues music came to be, what the different styles of Blues are called, and how to change your dancing to match them? If so, this class will begin to satisfy your curiosity. We’ll discuss the history of Blues music, and listen to examples of many styles, including Delta, Piedmont, Texas, Chicago, New Orleans, Urban, R&B, Jump, and Slow Jazz. We’ll also teach the different ways of moving and connecting appropriate to different styles.

In case you’re wondering about Carsie’s background, here’s her self-description:

Carsie Blanton is a musician first, and a dancer second. She loves the feeling of a truly connected dance, and of a truly graceful movement, but most of all she loves using her body as a musical instrument, contributing new textures and rhythms to a great song. In her real life, she is a singer/songwriter, and travels the world performing her original music (

Our own Paul Mandel will be assisting her in the class that runs from 7:30 to 9:00, and then Carsie and Julie Brown will be teaming up to DJ for us!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a special event, and we will not be having a beginner class as usual at 8:15. All beginners are welcome to attend this all-level Blues History class.

As usual, the class is $5, and the dance afterwards is $5.