Down Home Blues is a dance festival in San Francisco, CA that provides a vehicle for comprehensive blues dance classes and fun social dances. Heidi and Damon, the leaders of the Down Home Blues Festival, spent their formative years exposed to blues and related rural folk dances from their families and sought out mentors both in and out of their families to learn these dances better. Down Home is an attempt to bring that intense yet intimate learning experience to new generations of dancers.
Every year we try and bring something new, different, and innovative to the teaching/learning process. We have seen a number of these innovations embraced by events across the country and become part of numerous events. Last year saw the biggest departure yet from the typical weekend event format, a removal of the level classes.
DHB is known for tough classes, intense but fun teaching, and the place to come to really get a chance to work on your dancing in a no BS environment. We decided to put the power in your hands and you the feedback we received from this was fantastic.
You will be responsible for your own learning …
There are no auditions. There are no levels. Rather than levels there will be three Core Classes taught throughout Saturday and Sunday each one with a different style of blues dance, Jookin’, Ballrooming, and Solo. Each core subject will have specialists teaching you what they makes them amongst the various best in this style. Students will be able to follow around a specific instructor all weekend long if they choose, may create their own learning experience by balancing or focusing on the subjects they feel they need the most work on, or may pick and choose which instructors and when they want to take their classes too ensure an opportunity to learn from each couple.
The classes will be accessible, interesting and challenging for people of all levels. We know the one complaint from mixed levels classes that tends to get brought up in other workshops is people in a given class not being at a high enough level for you to be able to get and practice the material being taught…
DHB since its inception has used a mentoring/level-integration process that has received rave reviews from students at from the beginning up to master levels. This will be aided by the fact that we will not have any absolute novice dancers, or more to the point this event is for those who already possess Blues dance experience. Our teachers will all be tailoring their material in a fashion that layers the topics with information, exercises, and variations to ensure less experienced and the highly experienced will all gain something from each class. A reminder you improve your lead/follow skills not by dancing with people at your level but by dancing with those above and below you who will challenge you to lead and follow when no one is filling in the missing pieces.
We will have four Immersion Classes on both Saturday and Sunday, two the first period of the day, and two the last period of the day. These will be taught in a “Master class” format, which is to say at your pace, with as much or as little detail as you believe necessary, in the method of your choice. These classes are open to everyone… but you must have your own partner and there will be no teacher led rotation. You are encouraged to ask questions and to work with each other to figure out the material, but the teachers will not slow down nor dumb down the material. These classes are offered in the slots they are so those who do not believe they are ready for this kind of intensity can sleep in and/or leave for dinner early. Each teaching couple will teach one of these classes. You will not get everything from these classes, and this is by design. If you are attending for a fun laid back time, you may wish to seriously consider skipping some or all of these classes, as they are not aimed at the merely dedicated, but at the truly obsessed.
The workshop passes will be capped at 120 people, and we reserve the right to further limit registration for leader/follower balance.