Explorations

Please read about the Format of Open Blues before reading this.

Great! So you are interested in sharing at Open Blues! Let’s get you started.  Once you’ve got a clear idea about what you want to do, make your submission here. Make sure to submit it before the 1st of August. If in doubt, get in touch with us via Facebook or contact@openblues.pl!

We will have two types of workshops, Core and Open:
Core Classes are what would be the core curriculum in a Blues University. They represent a body of must-have knowledge. They don’t have to be basic, but they must be traditional classes. Imagine it as a recommended reading list. Isabella or our other experienced teachers can help you prepare the class. It’s also a fun thing to do if you want to try teaching but don’t know what. These are our suggestions:

  • Introduction to Connection
  • Introduction to Musicality
  • Partner Dance Safety and Etiquette
  • Advanced Pulse
  • Advanced Rhythms
  • … and come up with your own Core

Open Explorations are more free form. You get a space in a beautiful castle and the attention of your participants. In return, make something awesome!

This is how you should go about making it awesome:

  1. plan. First of all, think what you would like to do. How long? How many people? With or without music? Do you need a room? What’s your target audience? Do you want to create a space or do you want to deliver a class (it’s always a spectrum)?
  2. title. Choose a title.
    Make sure your title is as clear as possible, not just about the topic but also how you are going to approach it. These may help:
    -an exploration of
    -a discussion on
    -experiments with
    -a lecture on
    -laboratory work on
    -journey through
    -a
    guide.
    These words may be useful too: introductory, advanced, 
    These words illuminate many things – are you trying to create a space with equal peers, or do you want to instruct? Do you want to experiment or do you have set outcomes?
  3. prerequisites. Have clearly defined recommended prerequisites.
    An “Advanced Fishtail Variations” class would be of little use for someone who’s never done a fishtail before. Make sure you list the things that you expect participants to already have, or what would be very useful for them.
  4. format. Decide on a format.
    How many people maximum? How long? Can you hop on and hop off or is do you have to stay for the whole thing? Will you need lead-follow pairs? Do you want to share outside or inside? Will you need chairs? Music? A djembe? Pancakes?
  5. warnings. Think about other’s safety.
    We are all adults and responsible for ourselves, but we will appreciate if you inform us about the risks involved. Teaching dips? Make sure everyone is acquainted with dance safety and etiquette. Showing off Polish food? Make sure you note its compatibility with people’s dietary requirements.
  6. abstract. Write a short abstract.
    Write a short (20-200 words) abstract to inform potential participants about what you want to do. Sometimes the title does not need much further explanation, but writing a short abstract might be helpful for your own structure and is a good way of letting everyone know that you know what you are doing. Think about content and learning outcomes too.

A completely random example here:

Title: Advanced Dips and Tricks Musicality

Abstract: I would like to show several dips and some decorative variations on them and how they are suitable for various dynamics in the music. I would also like to explore their usefulness during a song; not just at the end.

Format: Paired lead-follows. 45 minutes. Small dance room. Max. 10 lead-follow pairs (20 people).

Recommended Prerequisites: An advanced understanding of dance etiquette. Ability to perform simple dips safely.

Warnings: Risks associated with dipping, particularly, the lower back for leads.

Another one:

Title: A journey through the history of blues music

Abstract: A brief history of the music, starting from African roots up to its influences on contemporary electronic music.  The talk and discussion will be accompanied by instruments.

Format: 90 minutes.

Recommended Prerequisites: All welcome.

Warnings: None.

Don’t worry if you are a bit lost. We will gladly assist you in any of the above steps (just let us know on Facebook). We may ask you for small alterations to keep the entire festival coherent.

Do you feel a bit too shy to share? Don’t worry. Put yourself in the role of a guide on an explorer’s journey, not an authoritative teacher. You invite your fellow travelers to admire a landscape that you’ve discovered or even crafted yourself – they will take whatever is good for them. No pressure.

Worried no one will come to your space? If you feel a specific activity can only work with a larger number of participants, then note that in the prerequisites. If not, use the small group environment to fuel precise work, full of attention.