On April 6, 2016, I asked if other blues dance teachers wanted to get together at bluesSHOUT! to share teaching ideas amongst ourselves. And, well, it kind of ballooned out of control.
The meeting quickly built from instructors getting together to all scene leaders getting together. Our goal was to create a space for organizers to come together, relax, and share our successes, problems, and strategies with each other. I wanted to enable our attendees to share their successes so we can learn from each other’s efforts, and because I don’t do anything in half measures, I also wanted to record our knowledge so we can share it with organizers everywhere to benefit more than just those who were able to attend.
After I gauged community interested, I just threw up a Facebook event and started inviting people. I found a restaurant walking distance from the bluesSHOUT! 2016 Saturday main dance event, and made so many promises to Sara Cherny that we would encourage everyone involved to not be late for the dance. We love you Sara!
Led by Danielle, we polled participants interest in topics and eventually settled on six different discussions that people could join. We found 1-2 knowledgeable people to lead each topic and publicized these options in advance so attendees could plan out how they wanted to spend their time.
Kelly lead the charge in finding and distributing note takers. We created note take guidelines, assigned one note-taker per topic, and gave each note taker their own Google doc so they could take notes and share them with us later. Unfortunately, we have been unable to recover the notes from our Scene Building topic.
The night of, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off greeting everyone, helping interface with the restaurant staff (who were phenomenal, patient, and understanding), and making sure everyone signed in so I could get an estimate of who came and participated.
We had 43 people attend, including our three organizers, representing 17 individual dance scenes.
Thank you Josh Davis for creating this beautiful map!
Teaching Blues History
Community Building, Growth, Maintenance, and Beyond
Shira Hoffman from Blues Dance New York
Scene Building and Marketing from the Ground Up
Kenneth Shipp from Blues Dance Nashville
We have unfortunately been unable to recover notes from this discussion. We heard it was useful for all participants, we encourage you to reach out to either Brendan or Kenneth if you have any specific questions.
Building Consent Culture and Safer Spaces
All (available) notes are publicly available in my Blues Resources on Google Drive.
Laura Chieko hails from New York City where she runs around like a chicken with her head cut off curating this website and helps run Blues Dance New York. She likes cannolis, twirly dresses, and spreadsheets.
Danielle lives in Seattle where she hangs out with kids all day. She loves blues history so much she wrote her masters thesis on it.
Kelly lives in sunny Los Angeles with a pooch lovingly called Demon. She once accidentally organized a mini-exchange for a surprise birthday party.
Lastly, if you haven’t noticed, I am over a year late in publicizing these notes. Sorry? This is what happens when you have three students running an informal event that they threw together haphazardly in two weeks. Many thanks to Andy Lee from Blues Dance World for continually poking at me to share these, I hope you find them useful, and I will see you at the next organizer meeting!