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What is Blues?

Blues is a music form and a dance form but more importantly an attitude or state of mind. Musically blues is the most important line of musical development since classical music. Without blues there would be no pop music, no rnb, no soul, no jazz, no sixties sound, no beatles, no elvis………… It is quite literally at the heart of most modern popular music.



What is Blues Dancing?

Blues is a dance which originates from the USA and has it’s roots firmly based in the African American tradition. It can be danced individually or more usually in partner form. It is usually but not exclusively danced to slower more expressive music which allows space for intimate connection and creative musical interpretation. It's present day incarnation  can be traced back to 1920’s or 1930s but its true origins go right back to slavery days and originally to African dance.  There is huge debate as to what constitutes Blues dancing and for our purposes it is not necessary to enter into the semantics and controversies. Whilst there is a place for slowed down jive or bumpn’grind, the blues we enjoy dancing and plan to teach at the bootcamp is based in the more technical vintage traditions. The revival in popularity of LindyHop and Swing dancing in recent years and the growth of events like Herrang in Sweden have brought traditional or vintage blues dancing to a whole new generation. For examples of the blues dancing we will teach at bootcamp please watch the clips on the  ‘videos’ page of this website. 

What is BluesBootCamp?

Most of us are familiar with the bootcamp concept. Originally army associated it is now frequently seen in other areas (including mainstream business, reality tv talent shows and in US it is common for dance events). For us bootcamp is all about hardwork, no-pain-nogain atmosphere, firm but supportive instructors, shared experience with like minded individuals and perhaps most importantly the feeling of reward associated with successfully passing through bootcamp. Our BluesBootCamp will contain intense but fun learning to develop your technique, confidence and most importantly attitude to dance blues.


Why did you develop BluesBootCamp? 

Quite simply we love dancing Blues and want to see more people enjoy it. It is a wonderful addition to your dance repertoire in its own right but it also adds elements of musicality, connection and frame back into your other dancing. LEARNING TO DANCE SLOWLY AND SMALLER MASSIVELY IPROVES ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR PARTNER DANCING. We also want to get beginners dancing Blues more quickly and with more confidence. Due to the relative lack of venues playing appropriate music and it’s intimate nature, it can be hard for people to gain experience and confidence to develop their skill in blues dancing.  


Why is BluesBootCamp different from other programmes?

Intensity - We believe you need to dance an awful lot of Blues to feel the dance and get some confidence in it. Our one day bootcamp includes more than 5 hours of Blues tuition in one hit. With the included decaDance evening freestyle event add another 5 or 6 hours to that total! Most beginners workshops are only a couple of hours and even a starter course will only be maybe 5 or 6 hours spread over probably a couple of months.

Learning tools - Even with the best will in the world we all forget probably 80% of what we have been told. We will provide a clear set of notes which will demystify  Blues and consolidate the teaching and will be a useful reference.

Teachers - We deliberately partnered with teachers who not only are internationally respected but are an experienced partnership.  This will accelerate the learning for both lead and follows.   The combination of their fantastic teaching and our more intensive and structured syllabus will we believe help to deliver some breakthrough results.

Socialising -This weekend will also be fun! After the tuition we will all go for a nice meal in a sectioned off area of a local pub/restaurant. The day will end with a very special decaDance where will be joined by another 100 or so dancers for a great late night multiple room freestyle. A key highlight will of course be where Simon and Kirsty will perform their breathtaking cabaret.




Who is BluesBootCamp aimed at?


ANYONE who has ever harboured a burning desire to dance this smooth beautiful dance AND is willing to put in the effort required to make that desire a reality. You will never need to fear the blues room at a dance weekender again! 



Is BluesBootCamp for me?


To help answer this we have given you a little checklist to consider:



Willingness to drop your inhibitions!  Blues is a close intimate dance and you will need to relax and  place trust in your instructors and fellow students.


Stamina and Concentration. We will cover A LOT of ground on this day and Simon and Kirsty teach clearly, patiently but very efficiently. There is no padding or waffle. You will be on your feet a long time so obviously need to be fit and healthy. You also need to be able to concentrate and focus on the techniques and concepts.   


Not Required at all

Any previous experience of Blues. The course is designed for total beginners. Of course improvers are welcome and will still benefit from revising their technique with such fantastic teachers. With respect, even competent, confident blues dancers will not have experienced most of the techniques and moves that Simon will teach.


A partner.  You do not need to book with a partner although if you can do it does help balance lead and follows. We will rotate classes throughout and much of the teaching in fact splits leads and follows anyway.


Not Required but can sometimes be helpful

Any previous partner dance experience. You do not NEED to have experience of other dance styles to enjoy and become confident in Blues. Many people successfully start their partner dance journey with Blues and never dance another style. 

Similarly, many social dancers of other styles enjoy the fresh challenge Blues provides. If you have danced other styles before you may find it helpful at the start. Some general concepts (like frame, posture, connection, lead +follow) are similar and some steps may even look familiar. However you must be prepared to start with an open mind and accept that it is a different dance and you will be a beginner again.



Do I need a partner?


See above



Do I need to be a dancer?


See above. 



How will the teaching be structured?


Teaching will be aimed at getting you familiar with the basic musicality, attitude and state of mind to start Blues dancing. We will then explore a number of vintage blues moves and dance techniques. You will also importantly learn how to link the moves and musicality together. The precise syllabus will be published in advance and handouts will reflect this. As a final treat  we will end the day in an uptempo way with a basic introduction to Balboa. This is a beautiful swing dance style not dissimilar to tango which Simon is expert in.


Simon and Kirsty advocate rotation of partners but you can of course practice with your partner between the teaching sessions. You also will spend a lot of time learning separately the lead and follow roles. We will recap previous learnings at all stages and try and link relevant elements together. 


Do you own the images on this site?


We own and have copyright over the bluesbootcamp image. We have permission to use the images of Simon and Kirsty. All other images have been sourced via public domain with no evident copyright holder. Videos are all taken from You Tube and assumed to be in public domain for sharing. If any owners of these images or participants in the videos object to us using them we will of course immediately remove them from our site.