What is fresh Blood?
The Lindy Hop scene is governed by norms and conventions that often result from the hobbyist, ad hoc approach that characterized the modern community's early days. As the scene has grown, many of our assumptions have been left unexamined. We love the national dance scene, but also recognize that it has grown increasingly rigid and that new instructors are finding it difficult to be heard, particularly when their ideas run against the norms set down by established instructors and leaders. The "Fresh Blood Initiative" is a humble attempt to start creating space for fresh ideas in the scene, and a low-stakes venue for newer teachers to cut their teeth and trot out interesting/risky ideas.
Last year was the first ever Fresh Blood workshop, and it was a huge success. Like last year, this will take the form of a single day of specialty workshops. The instructors will be a mix of invitees (people we reached out to) and applicants. Those selected to teach a class will be granted free entry into the event as well as given a small honorarium.
We hope that anyone who is able to get to town early or take the day off of work Friday makes the effort to attend. We're not quite sure what to expect, but we're pretty certain that it will be worth your time.
Anyone can submit--see below for guidelines!
WHO CAN SUMBIT A WORKSHOP: Any human.
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR: One or all of the following: 1) Specialty classes taught by people who are either new to teaching at major events, have a different-than-modern-Lindy-instructor style, or have experience that gives them unique authority on the topic (please keep in mind that we give priority to people who do not teach regular classes at the Ballroom or in the Baltimore/DC area). 2) Classes that are different/new to this community in content or style. 3) Classes that reimagine the way the modern Lindy scene teaches dance (especially those with an eye towards de-centering whiteness). All of that said: anything can be submitted; this is an experiment.
WHAT WE DO NOT WANT: 1) People who are trying to climb the current ladder of professional Lindy Hop. That is a totally legit goal, this just isn't the venue for it. 2) People looking to use this as an opportunity for self-aggrandizement or unabashed self-promotion. Of course we want you to be confident and excited. We want that to be in the benefit of the community, though, not at the expense of, or on the coattails of, the students and event. 3) A class that experiments on the students. The concept as a whole is an experiment, but we want the students to get something out of the class, feel like they are being taught by someone who is confident in the subject matter, etc.
HOW SUBMISSIONS ARE SELECTED: A small, anonymous committee of people will be selecting a group of classes from those submitted. The committee will be looking at the applications based on the criteria above, along with how the submissions relate to each other. While class ideas will be looked at in terms of quality, they won't be chosen simply based on what looks better or worse, good or bad. We will be looking at how the applications relate to each other, and how we can build a day that is cohesive, diverse, and not otherwise offered. So, while we have criteria, the final choices will ultimately be about all the submissions looked at as a whole. If yours isn't picked this year, maybe it'll fit better next year.
Applications need to be submitted by July 20th. Classes will then be chosen and announced by August 1st. If your class is chosen you will be given some suggestions, help, and guidelines for teaching (essentially, support).
To submit a class idea, please send the following information (in whatever format you want) to email@example.com with the subject, "Fresh Blood 2019":
1) Your name, where you are from, when you started dancing, and what experience you have teaching.
2) Why you are interested in participating.
3) Class description. Be as detailed as possible and include content, structure, what new knowledge the students will leave with, etc.
4) What your teaching style is, and why you should be the one to teach this class.
5) A general pitch. Why is this important? What about this makes you excited? Make us excited about it too.
A tip: we aren't fans of pseudo-professionalism. Take this seriously enough that we know you're actually interested in participating, but please don't fill your application with platitudes, professional cliches, or "action language." Do whatever it takes to give us a sense of your real self and what you have to offer.
Last year’s selections
Last year’s classes included:
-“Dancing Through Life” with Viktor and Tyedric: Swing dance comes from a tradition of African American dance, in which dance has historically taken place in everyday life. In this class we will practice ways to expand our comfort zones in terms of dancing in everyday life off the dance floor. We will tie this into the way we express ourselves on the dance floor.
-“Intro to Music Theory for Dancers” with Tony Vergara: Music is comprised of many different elements to create an overall picture. When dancing to it, we can take any of the individual elements and dance to them, or we can dance to the overall picture. This class will be intentionally open-ended/exploratory, without formal answers, so that students can learn the specifics during class, but also see ways they can continue this learning after the class is done. We will dance a bunch.
-“Who are You as a Dancer, Really?” with Joey Science: Who are you as a dancer, really? Let's find out by dancing the opposite role and seeing what of your personal style sticks around.
-“Lindy Hop Hijinks” with Dani and Omar: Dani 'n' Omar are going to be teaching you new ways to feel. They'll be guiding you to "new" connection points for both sides of the dance.