RDU Blues Winter Workshop: January 27 – February 3, 2017

Register for the workshop at Dancerfly.com

Nationally renowned blues dance teacher Julie Brown is coming to RDU for a mini-residency, and we’ve got a ton of fun events happening while she’s here!

Dance Blues Friday: Friday, January 27

To start our weekend off right, we’ve got our weekly Dance Blues Friday on Janary 27. Come shake off your week and get things going!

Workshop & classes with Julie Brown: January 28 – February 3, 2017

Julie Brown will be teaching a one-day workshop for us on Saturday, January 28, along with three additional classes during the following week. She will also do some DJing for us and will be available for private lessons.

As a dancer, Julie’s expressiveness and playful connection have earned her competition wins at many events, including Steel City Blues, Blues Shout, and Enter the Blues. Julie’s teaching is straight-forward, thoughtful and fun, and she is a nationally recognized blues DJ.

For more info, check out her site at dancewithjulie.wordpress.com.

RDU Blues Community Talk with Dr. Thomas DeFrantz: Sunday, January 29

We’re excited to host renowned dance scholar Dr. Thomas DeFrantz on Sunday, January 29 for a community talk. Dr. DeFranz is chair of the African and African American Studies department and professor of Dance and Theater Studies at Duke University. He’ll be talking with us about blues dance and culture, cultural appropriation and more. Dr. DeFrantz is an accomplished writer, teacher, choreographer, performing artist and organizer.

Explore his many works on his profile page at https://danceprogram.duke.edu/faculty-profile/thomas-defrantz. We’re lucky to have such a great resource in our backyard!

It will be a great week of learning, sharing and dancing. Don’t miss it!

Registration and Pricing

Register here: Dancerfly.com

  • Dance Blues Friday 1/27: $7 regular/$5 student, separate from workshop.
  • Julie Brown workshop on Saturday 1/28 (full day): $40 for the full day (4 classes)
  • A la carte classes for Saturday 1/28 workshop: $15/class (available at the door only)
  • Dance Fusion Saturday 1/28: Two rooms of dancing (blues AND fusion) for regular DFS pricing ($10 regular, $8 student), separate from workshop.
  • Community talk on Sunday 1/29: Free, but please register so we know how many people to expect
  • Evening advanced blues class on Monday 1/30: $15
  • Evening DJ class on Wednesday 2/1: $15
  • Dance Blues Friday 2/3: Regular DBF pricing ($7 regular/$5 student), separate from workshop.

Register for the workshop at Dancerfly.com

facebook3  Check out the event on Facebook


All dances and Saturday’s classes will be at Triangle Dance Studios, 2603 S. Miami Blvd, Durham.

Sunday’s community talk with Dr. DeFrantz will be at 302 West Main St, Durham, NC 27701

The Wednesday night DJ class will be at The Vault at The Palace International, at 1104 Broad Street in Durham.


Friday, January 27

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm — Regular Beginner Lesson
9:00 pm – 12:00 am — Regular Friday Night Blues Dance
Admission: $7 for general admission/$5 for students and military

Saturday, January 28

Classes (Open to all levels of dance experience)

Admission: $40 for the full day, or $15/class a la carte

11:00 am – 12:00 pm — Class 1: Solo Blues: Moves Challenge
Time to open the encyclopedia of solo blues. In this class, we’ll whip through 30-40 solo blues moves, and then it’ll be time for a test! Get ready; this test is for your body and your brain.
(All levels; solo class)

12:10 pm – 1:10 pm — Class 2: Intro to Jukin’
Get a taste of jookin’ or jukin’ blues, a sub-style born and danced in juke joints, honky-tonks, and house parties. Learn to have a great dance in a small space, work those hips, and get down to some guitar, harmonica, and piano-based blues.
(All levels)

1:10 pm – 2:40 pm — Lunch

2:40 pm – 3:40 pm — Class 3: Dancin’ Close: Close Embrace Connection  
Close embrace is an essential connection style for many blues dances, but can also be quite challenging. In this class, we’ll work on getting your close embrace feeling comfortable to you and your partner, leading & following clearly here, and exploring the hidden variety that close embrace has to offer.
(All levels)

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm — Class 4: Leading vs. Doing
This class is all about clarity and communication! Leaders will learn techniques for indicating which aspects of the dance they are leading and which they are leaving as optional & invitational for their partners. Followers will learn cues to look for to understand what aspects of the dance are totally optional & invitational and which would cause the dance to feel disconnected if not followed.
(All levels)


9:00 pm – 1:00 am — Blues & Fusion Dance, featuring guest DJ Julie Brown!
Come spend the night dancing with us! We’ll be dancing from 9 to 1, with no lesson.
Admission: $10 for general admission/$8 for students and military
(Evening dance not included in Saturday workshop fee)

Sunday, January 29

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm — Community Talk with Dr. Thomas DeFrantz

Location: 302 West Main St., Durham, NC 27701

Admission: Free, but please register so we know how many people to expect.

Do you want to learn more about this dance we all love? Then join us for a very special event: a community talk with noted scholar Dr. Thomas DeFrantz. Dr. DeFrantz will be discussing the history of black social dances, including blues dance. We’ll also talk about cultural appropriation, the cultural importance of blues dance, and more.

Monday, January 30

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm — Advanced Blues Aesthetic class with Julie Brown
Admission: $15

Location: Triangle Dance Studios, 2603 S. Miami Blvd, Durham, Downstairs studio

You’ve already got a solid foundation in grounding, lag, and pulse, but there’s so much more! This class gets more into the artistry and personality of blues dancing, based on the aesthetics of other african american dance forms–polycentrism & polyrhythm, hotness, coolness, balance through asymmetry…Come delve deeper into the aesthetic and your understanding of the dance! 
(Advanced; assumes solid knowledge of blues dancing vocab and connection/technique)

Wednesday, February 1

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm — Blues DJ Skills class with Julie Brown

Admission: $15

Location: The Vault at the Palace International, 1104 Broad St, Durham, NC 27705

Are you a current RDU Blues DJ? Are you interested in becoming a blues DJ? Just curious about how great DJs approach their craft? Join us for an hour-long class on DJing blues for dancers. We’ll explore how to find good music, read the mood of a dance floor, create flow in a set and more.

Friday, February 3

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm — Regular DBF intro lesson, featuring guest instructor Julie Brown
9:00 pm – midnight — Dance Blues Friday, featuring guest DJ Julie Brown
Julie will be lending her teaching and DJing skills to our regular DBF dance. Come join us for one last fun time with Julie before she heads back home to Boston!

Location: Triangle Dance Studios, 2603 S. Miami Blvd, Durham, back studio

About Julie Brown

Julie Brown photo

Julie’s expressive dancing and joyful, playful connection are known throughout the blues dancing world. With a background in theatre, improv comedy, and solo dance, she is best known for her solo movement, artistic choreography, and killer follower expression.

A hard-working competitor,  Julie has won many national competitions, including Nocturne Blues 2015 Challenge Strictly and Open Jack & Jill, Winter Blues 2015 Invitational Jack & Jill, Snowbound Blues 2015 Solo Blues, bluesSHOUT 2014 All Jack & Jill, and many more.

As a teacher,  Julie is clear, thoughtful, and varying degrees of goofy. From in-depth analyses of arm movement, to beginner-friendly intros to lead-follow conversation, Julie carefully crafts her classes and continuously tailors her material to fit the crowd at hand. Julie has taught blues in San Francisco, Seoul, Austin, Boston, London, Chicago, Zurich, and many places in between. She also teaches regularly in her home-base of Boston. For dance videos, pictures, and more info, check out https://dancewithjulie.wordpress.com.


Julie with some awesome solo blues:

About Thomas DeFrantz

Thomas F. DeFrantz is Chair of African and African American Studies and Professor of Dance, and Theater Studies at Duke University. He is past-president of the Society of Dance History Scholars, an international organization that advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. He is also the director of SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance applications.

He convenes the working group Black Performance Theory and the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance. His books include the edited volume Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (2002) and Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (2004) and Black Performance Theory co-edited with Anita Gonzalez. A director and writer, his creative works include CANE: A Responsive Environment Dancework that premiered at Duke in April, 2013. For more info, visit https://danceprogram.duke.edu/faculty-profile/thomas-defrantz.


Dr. DeFrantz on the history of black social dances: