Ruby and Ted's Class Descriptions (See also our Organizer Quick Reference)
Notes in italics are for organizers, and not meant to be published publicly.
When the chart-toppers get played, everyone hits the dance-floor, but casual observation reveals that most blues/swing/tango/salsa dancers have a hard time modifying their partnered movement for pop rhythms. That familiar shuffle or swing rhythm isn’t there to give your movement the classic push/pull that makes you want to syncopate. We’ll take classic partnered movement and learn how to adjust it to pop rhythms so you can hit the floor to your favorite tunes with style.
Exploding robotic monsters who take over the earth. This is how we dance. Join the force.
Adding a partner to a dance traditionally done solo brings with it numerous challenges. Compound that with large dynamic tone changes and complicated, overlapping rhythms typical of dancing to electronic music and you get a truly tough nut to crack. We will address all these issues, giving you a set of tools to match the music and build a framework into which you can shoe-horn partner dancing to this compelling set of genres.
You're new on the fusion scene and don't know where to start. Come peek at the map of all the different paths you can take. You'll leave with a Choose Your Own Adventure manual of how to build your fusion dance.
Smoothly transition an experienced partner from a Blues posture to a Lindy frame. Turn on her tango legs or draw out her west coast swing anchor. Follows will learn how to pick up cues from leads who are working from a wide palette of leading styles and respond with certainty and panache. Leads will learn to unlock their follow's favorite moves from a variety of following styles.
Requirements: This class is targeted at dancers who share experience with more than one dance style (eg. you have blues and swing, or tango and blues dancers attending). Dancers without overlap or who share only one dance style would be better served by Fusion Force Two below.
What is fusion? One way we like to think of it is as a conversation about music between two dancing artists. You and me, this song, right now. All of my tools and toys, and all of yours. Do we share a dance background? Who cares?! What trouble can we get in? What beauty can we create together?
Aside: This was originally designed to be a two-hour segment of a workshop, but can be truncated if necessary, particularly for Intermediate+ dancers or fast learners.
Mastering turns and rotation: Going into hand-to-hand connection is where most dance technique breaks down and a dancers' weakness becomes obvious. If you're in a rut with leading turns or wanting to create smoother transitions and interesting patterns, this class will open up your world. We'll get down to the core how turning while traveling works and then build up through multiple permutations. By the end of this session, your ability to lead and follow any combination of rotations will be expanded.
What Ruby says: The art of Kung Fu is the art of using your partner's (opponent's) energy and momentum to your advantage. Using techniques like uprooting, subtle joint immobilizations, and grounding, you will learn the difference between flying and fighting.
What Ted says: When I tell you that Ruby could kick your ass, that’s not a metaphor for her instruction style. Learn how her experience in martial arts makes her the Tazmanian devil of fun on the social dance floor. Or just come to see Ted get (nearly) kicked in the head (seriously). (Alt: Or, just come see Ted save Ruby from certain death - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXf2i_OJAgU).)
Break the rules about owning your center, Follows! Learn how to go off-axis in ways that are fun, flashy and still completely safe. Using tools like variations in tone, we’ll fly without leaving the ground and change up the energy and direction of a few basics to create a bevvy of spins that will wow you. Leads will learn how to control their partner’s axis and turn leverage into speed.
Requirements: Ability to lead and follow multiple spins without getting excessively dizzy.
Who is creating this dance? We are. Build the dance and express together, rather than making yourself responsible for driving a monologue. We’ll cover negotiations of movement and musical interpretation as a partnership, and offer dedicated playtime for he-goes/she-goes, and call & response.
Let's admit it, the dance floor can be a dangerous place, especially at a bar (or even a dance event) where you're never sure quite how other dancers will move. Learn tools for last minute emergency stops, bailouts, redirections, and Hail Marys to avoid or minimize the severity of collisions, and look cool while you're at it.
There's no need to rely on evasive maneuvers when your force is strong. Use
your skill and knowledge of dance to predict where other couples are going and
finding room to dance in the holes they leave behind them. Break out of the box
of protecting one spot on the dance floor, and learn how to share the whole floor
and move smoothly in and out of other couples dance space.
Errors inspire creativity. One man’s off-balance is another’s amazing new cool move. Learn to relax your excellent balance and technique to play. This is Ruby and Ted’s opportunity to bottle their special sauce of playfulness and pour it all over your dancing. Learn strategies that we use to break out of ruts while having fun and keeping it musical.
Aside: A line we cut from the description but thought would give you a giggle: “Most cool moves are developed not through rigorous analysis, but in the satori of happy accidents.”
Some of the greatest artists develop new techniques and styles because of personal or physical limitations. Django Reinhardt revolutionized jazz guitar despite paralysis in two fingers. Christy Brown built a painting career despite having function in only his left foot. In this class we will temporarily remove access to some of your skills to help you discover and strengthen your abilities with others. Break old habits, build new patterns and dive directly into high-level techniques without drawn out explanations or time-intensive drills. This is a path to building strengths from whatever limitations you might currently experience, and a shortcut to a creative renaissance in your dance life.
Or briefly: This class is an amazingly fun exploration of different ways of interacting with each other via games and gimmicks.
You've spent years crafting your dance, diligently studying physical communication (connection), improvisation, technique and musicality. What good does that do you off the dance floor? Come learn how to apply your dance skills to the rest of your life, and maybe even how to break through the walls in your life through dance. This is sensitive material, come prepared to experience some depth in a safe container as only Ruby and Ted can provide.
(or... things we’ve taught with other partners...)
Communicating and hiding triples
Solo movement / Breakaway Badassery
Isolation vs. communication of body rhythms
Styles of Blues: Boogie, Rock, Juke, Jazz etc.