Class Descriptions

Subject to change

Classes at Muse will include a mixture of pre-recorded classes, synchronous classes and lectures, and Ask Me Anythings with our instructors. The pre-recorded classes will be released in themed bundles the week leading up to Muse along with some prompts for journaling. We have found ourselves reflecting on why we dance and how we connect and would love to help you reflect on these topics as well. The synchronous classes will allow you to learn with other dancers around the globe and interact directly with our instructors. All classes will be available on our website to those who registered until Sunday, November 8th, 2020 unless noted otherwise.

 

Our class descriptions are below. We encourage you to look through them and self-select your desired classes in advance, we know its tempting to do ALL of the classes but it is just as unrealistic for a virtual event as it is for a weekend event (unless you have a time turner). Typically, during a Muse dance weekend there are 8 to 9 class blocks plus a lunchtime lecture, use this benchmark to set realistic goals of your consumption and be gentle with yourselves.

 

Pre-recorded Classes by Schedule

MONDAY: FINDING YOUR INSPIRATION

Pre-recorded

Organizer Track

Finding Your Feelings

In our role as organizers, it’s easy to prioritize community goals without considering how the work affects us. Monday’s goal is to work on unburdening and getting in touch with our feelings related to our role in the dance community.

Caroline Leitschuh

Organizer track, all levels

Pre-recorded

Chasing Your Brain

Motivation is the first step in dance practice, and it's often the hardest. But you can benefit from our years of chasing our ADHD brains around, and learn how to coax your own brain onto the practice floor. No ADHD required. :)

Mike and Dan Legenthal

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Choose What Moves You

Sometimes we lose our inspiration. But one thing we can do to jumpstart that: motivate with the right music! We'll identify several key areas of sound and feel in Blues music, and connect that with a matching exploration of movement so that you can find what naturally makes you want to move and what is challenging for you. Our aim is awareness and discovery: what's your go-to vibe when you're feeling down and what pushes your dancing into new directions.

Dan Repsch

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Connecting to Your Body

We both find inspiration in the feeling of moving & dancing--enjoying the sensations and putting our mind into our body in various ways while dancing. Join us on this magical journey, through a series of exercises & mindsets that help us connect and enjoy our bodies and the feelings of moving. This class is focused on developing your own dancing and awareness that you can use in solo or partnership later, so no partner needed.

Julie Brown and Ruth Evelyn

All Levels

Pre-recorded

More Than Movements

How to inspire and approach people inside and outside of the classroom to learn more than moves. You will walk away with specific examples and also some general direction for you to come up with your own.

Jenny Snowden

All Levels

 

TUESDAY: FINDING YOURSELF IN THE BLUES AESTHETIC

Pre-recorded

Finding Your Skills

Many of us didn’t plan on becoming organizers when we started dancing, and often ended up in the role because someone needed to do it. As such, it can be difficult to pinpoint the skills we bring to and learn in our roles. Tuesday’s goal is to rethink how we define what constitutes a skill, and come to a better understanding of what we’re good at and where we want to improve.

Caroline Leitschuh

Organizer Track, All Levels

Pre-recorded

Lag and the Pocket

What are the differences between lag, the pocket, and backphrasing? We'll start by going over the different ways dancers can choose to embody lag, and include a few drills for practicing each on your own. From there we'll talk about pocket and backphrasing within the music, offering a few examples that highlight these concepts.

Dan Repsch and Mike Legenthal

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Finding Your Sexy

The word “sexy” brings up a lot of feelings, images, and perhaps insecurities for people. In this class we will explore ways of finding sexy in your dancing, with and for yourself. We will explore both concepts and concrete exercises for you to discovery or deepen what feeling sexy feels like to you, and how to translate it to movement.

Grey Armstrong and Ruth Evelyn

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Aesthetics Self-Assessment

How do you know if you're actually lagging behind the beat? Are you exhibiting a pulse? Would you describe your posture as athletic? This self-assessment will help you answer those questions and more as you gain a better understanding of your dancing within the blues aesthetic. This will be good for new dancers starting out along as a refresher for seasoned dancers on their basics.

Julie Brown and Kenneth Shipp

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Delta Shaping

We'll lean on our experiences dancing in juke joints in Mississippi, along with some research we've done with local resources in the area to talk about shaping that's remained consistent in the Delta, along with what's changed.

Adam Wilkerson and Kenneth Shipp

All Levels

 

WEDNESDAY: FINDING YOURSELF IN THE MUSIC

Pre-recorded

Finding Your Style

Related to but different than skills, we all have different styles of organizing. Understanding how we work with others is important to organizing in a sustainable way. Wednesday’s goal is to understand what our style is now, and to figure out what we might want to change in the future.

Caroline Leitschuh

Organizer Track, All Levels

Pre-recorded

Lose Yourself to Dance

How do we create deeper connections between music and the dance? What if we didn't grow up listening to this in black communities? How can we authentically connect in a meaningful way? We'll go back to important contexts that are necessary to understand the music, the spaces these dances were done in, and how you can practically narrow and widen those ideas and histories appropriately in your social dancing and growth as a dancer.

Kenneth Shipp

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Composition

Let's explore how our physical movements flow and change to weave a story. How do you and your partner craft a connection between your story and that told by the music?

Adam Wilkerson and Mike Legenthal

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Interacting with the Music

When dancing musically, we can choose to be literal (dancing in a way that matches what's happening in the music) or non-literally (dancing in a way what makes sense with the music, but isn't in unison with the music). In this class we'll explore a way of dancing with non-literal musicality that treats the music like a duet partner. It's a great way to add creativity and depth to your artistry.

Mike and Dan Legenthal

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Synesthetic Blues

Synesthesia is when one sense evokes the sensation of another sense--like when hearing a sound produces the visualization of a color. This class will explore different synesthetic experiences of music, from Grey and from Julie--sound as color, physical sensation, shape, movement, etc.--and how we can enjoy and use these concepts while dancing.

Julie Brown and Grey Armstrong

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Blues Musical Language

There's a certain language of Blues, building blocks that musicians use to build songs and express ideas. We'll explore common riffs often found in the music, refine our ability to learn a few on the spot and where we, as dancers, can insert them into the song, even when they aren't present.

Julie Brown and Dan Repsch

All Levels

 

THURSDAY: FINDING YOURSELF IN YOUR DANCE ROLE

Pre-recorded

Finding Your Inspiration

What inspires you to organize? Do you have an organizer role model? What do you aspire to as an organizer? Thursday is our last day for reflecting, and our goal is to get at the heart of what gives us the energy to keep organizing.

Caroline Leitschuh

Organizer Track, All Levels

Pre-recorded

Leader-Shipp Style

It's a terrible pun, get over it. We're going to go over the ideas that come through our heads as leads, what tools we've developed to help us become better leaders, how we crafted our overall philosophies, and what we do to check ourselves (ego) when things don't go how we envisioned.

Kenneth Shipp and Dan Legenthal

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Society's Expectations and Your Dance Role

We'll break down active following and active leading, along with society's expectations for follows and leads. We'll focus on gender roles, keeping in mind that both of us sport a masculine bias. Come explore your role in dance with us!

Grey Armstrong and Adam Wilkerson

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Claiming and Shaping Your Space

Whether you're leading or following, it's important to understand your dance space. In this class, we'll work on understanding our dance space in relation to our partner and ways to use & shape that space--as a part of expressing yourself within partnership and better understanding the partner roles in blues. If you have safe access to a partner, this is a great class to take together. If not, we’ll provide alternatives to having a partner as you work on the exercises and concepts from the class.

Julie Brown and Ruth Evelyn

All Levels

Pre-recorded

What's In the Mind While Following

It can be hard to turn the mind off so let's address what we may be thinking. Focusing on the perspective when following you will get a series of questions, ideas and activities.

Jenny Sowden

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Listening to Your Partner

Taking care of your partner is something we strongly value in our dance. We'll guide you in developing a strong sense of caring for and listening to our partner, and supporting them and their artistic expression.

Adam Wilkerson and Mike Legenthal

All Levels

Pre-recorded

Individual Differences in Dancers

Watch as we explore and discuss some of the overlap and differences in how Ruth, Julie, Mike and Dan react/express as leaders and followers. Whether you have a partner and want to explore these issues along with us or just want to think about how these relate to your dancing, or people you’ve danced with, this class is for you.

Julie Brown, Ruth Evelyn, Mike and Dan Legenthal

All Levels

 

Synchronous Classes by Schedule

SATURDAY

Zoom

Organizers: Thinking Out Loud

10:00am to 11:00am EDT

The prompts from earlier in the week probably brought up some thoughts that you want to talk about and this is a space to do that! Using a mix of guided exercises and discussion, we will continue to process our new knowledge, feelings, and realizations. While it will be helpful to engage with the pre-recorded material prior to this session, all organizers are welcome to attend regardless of whether they answered the prompts earlier in the week.

Caroline Leitschuh

Organizer Track, All Levels

Zoom

Body Care: I've Been Sitting

11:15am - 12:15pm EDT

Gently prepare your body to move. This class will survey a lot of the body to prepare you to feel good in your dancing. Uses Franklin Method and other modalities. Supplies: a tennis ball or equivalent.

Ruth Evelyn

All Levels

Zoom

All Solo No Talking

12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT

Exactly as the title says, a full class of dancing with no verbal explanations. You'll pick up the movements by dancing along and copying, but don't worry: we still have ways to break things down without losing the flow. Format inspired by drop ins at Cats Corner in Montreal and communities outside the contemporary Blues/Swing dance community.

Dan Repsch

All Level

Zoom

Connection Paradigms

12:30pm - 1:30pm EDT

Dancing with someone who is a different size to you takes a set of skills to control in a way that's still relaxed and fun. We'll speak to all types of body differences in this class, and although it's partnership focused, we'll make sure to include exercises and takeaways you can practice on your own.

Adam Wilkerson and Grey Armstrong

All Levels

Zoom

Lecture: What is Blues?

1:45pm - 2:45pm EDT

This is a question that so many DJs and dancers have asked, but is really a misnomer. The real question this class will seek to answer: ‘what is the music that we DJ for dancers in the current Blues dance community?’. Through a bit of analysis and concrete examples, we’ll reach a better understanding of how to answer this question.

Dan Repsch

All Levels

Zoom

Lecture: DJ Deep Cuts

1:45pm - 2:45pm EDT

How do DJs find those supposedly secret tracks that make the floor go nuts? Let's discuss some solid ways you can find those amazing tracks, either through new purchases or gems in your own library and discuss historically why timing and your taste/ear are critically important to making these discoveries happen consistently.

Kenneth Shipp

All Levels

Zoom

The Life of B.B. King

3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT

We will progress through the career of B.B. King. Learning dance moves as we proceed and learning facts about the artist as we go through their career and music.

Jenny Sowden

All Levels

Zoom

Ask Me Anything About Blues Music

3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT

Following our two DJ Lectures, this is a time to talk to bring all of your lingering questions and thoughts to three of our incredible instructors! Feel free to ask them about: 1) Blues Music: DJing, live bands, playing, and dancing to! 2) Their lessons from the week: any lingering questions from the classes you took during the week 3) Random Blues-Related Questions: those questions you've always wanted to ask!

Dan Legenthal, Dan Repsch, and Adam Wilkerson

All Levels

Zoom

How to Learn From Video

4:15pm - 5:15pm EDT

The internet is chock-full of dance videos! So much to learn! ... but you'll get a lot more out of them if you have a full bag of tools. We'll focus on the technical side of getting information out of a video in an asynchronous situation (versus a live class).

Mike and Dan Legenthal

All Levels

Zoom

Lead/Follow Panel and Roundtables

6:00pm - 8:00pm EDT

See our description here.

Various Participants

All Levels

 

SUNDAY

Zoom

Lengthening an Idea

11:15am - 12:15pm EDT

So you have an idea, now let's expand on that a bit. With a series of themes and what else to play with, keeping the creative juices going by not putting in too much in one go. Let your awesome idea last a lil longer. 

Jenny Sowden

All Levels

Zoom

Boss Me

11:15am - 12:15pm EDT

We give creative/fun movement prompts to the live group over zoom, reacting to what we see to give people more possibilities. Definitely great for fueling energy/creativity, etc. This class is a lot of dancing and self-exploration. Talking would be prompts and debriefs about what people liked - very positive and affirming in tone.

Ruth Evelyn and Mike Legenthal

All Levels

Zoom

Lunchtime Lecture: Blues and Gospel

12:30 - 1:30 EDT

Most blues musicians start in the church, why? Join me in discussing the influences of gospel, work songs, and field hollers on blues and how for many, blues became the other side of the same coin as gospel. (Religion will clearly be mentioned but lyrical content isn’t really the focus of the lecture)

Grey Armstrong

All Levels

Zoom

Lecture: Innovation <> Culture

1:45pm - 2:45pm EDT

What are the relationships between culture, history, and innovation in blues dance? In this class, Kenneth & Julie will talk about the history of innovation in Black culture, as well as their (Kenneth’s and Julie’s) personal processes and views on incorporating all these elements into their dancing.

Kenneth Shipp and Julie Brown

All Level

Zoom

Keep Your Pulse

1:45pm - 2:45pm EDT

Let pulse be like the breath in your dance and then let movement come from that. 

Jenny Sowden

All Levels

Zoom

Ask Me Anything About the History and Culture of Blues

3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT

Following Julie and Kenneth's Innovation <> Culture lecture, this is a time to talk to them a bring all of your lingering questions and thoughts to three of our incredible instructors! Feel free to ask them about: 1) Blues History and Culture: context around the music and dance, where things come from, how to be a good guest in a culture that isn't your own, and more 2) Their lessons from the week: any lingering questions from the classes you took during the week 3) Random Blues-Related Questions: those questions you've always wanted to ask!

Kenneth Shipp, Julie Brown, and Grey Armstrong

All Levels

Zoom

Organizers: Burnout and Resilience

4:15pm - 5:15pm EDT

Burnout is always a risk for organizers, especially now when we have some many additional stressors. Strengthening our resilience is one of the best ways to combat burnout. This session will focus on our hardships and bouncing back from them, and will include topics such as being ok with not being ok and ambiguous grief, as well as how we can collectively create a better support network.

Caroline Leitschuh

Organizer Track, All Levels

Zoom

Ask Me Anything About Cross Training

5:30pm - 6:30pm EDT

Following Jenny's live dance classes, this is a time to talk to her and ask her all of your lingering questions! Feel free to ask her about: 1) Cross-Training: what is it? how do I do it? where do I start? 2) Her lessons from the week: any lingering questions from the classes you took during the week 3) Random Blues-Related Questions: those questions you've always wanted to ask!

Jenny Snowden

All Levels

Zoom

Ask Me Anything About Individuality

6:45pm - 7:45pm EDT

Following Ruth & Mike's live dance classes, this is a time to ask them all of your lingering questions! Feel free to ask them about: 1) Individuality: how to cultivate it in your dancing, what their own dance journeys to being individual dancers have been like, and more! 2) Their lessons from the week: any lingering questions from the classes you took during the week 3) Random Blues-Related Questions: those questions you've always wanted to ask!

Ruth Evelyn and Mike Legenthal

All Levels

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