As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend, July 26-28, was the Sweet Molasses Blues Exchange in Boston. My friends got me a weekend-long pass as a grad school graduation gift. So I spent most of this past weekend at Sweet Molasses. And it was awesome!
I wasn’t able to make it on Friday, missing the dance and late-night dance that evening. But come Saturday morning, I was there. Throughout the entire day were classes designed to improve one’s blues dancing and teach them new moves. I was in the “beginner/intermediate” track, which was appropriate for my skill level. It was a bit of a misnomer though, as there was no class track for complete newbies.
Doing classes all day was fun, albeit tiring. Not only physically, but mentally as well. Focusing intensely on anything for 5+ hours can be tiring. Add into that the physical demands of blues dancing, and you’ve got yourself a pretty intense day! Time flew during the classes though, thanks in no small part to the excellent instructors doing the teaching. Instructors I had the pleasure of learning from included Julie Brown, Shawn Hershey, Joy Arico, and Jered Morin. If you ever get the opportunity to learn from and/or dance with any of those amazing folks, don’t miss it!
Each night there was a main dance that went from 8pm or so to about 11pm. But dancing certainly didn’t stop there. After the main dance, a late-night dance started each evening at someone’s loft in Chinatown. I’d say there was over 100 people dancing (and sweating profusely) in this one small apartment. But despite the crowding and the ridiculous heat of the room, it was still a ton of fun. 🙂 One thing that was kind’ve cool was you could often tell by how people danced who had been able to attend the classes that day, and who hadn’t been able to attend. And of course, I got to implement some of the stuff I learned in the classes, which was a great feeling.
Another aspect of Sweet Molasses that was really cool was how many people were there, both in the form of local dancing regulars, and people who came from hours away to take part in this fantastic weekend. I saw people who hadn’t been able to make it out to a dance for months, which was great. I had a wonderful time getting to reconnect with folks like that. I also met a lot of cool new people, coming from places like Providence, Rhode Island to Vermont. And I got to hear about the dance scenes in these other places, which was really interesting.
I’m now really excited to (hopefully) hit up the Blues Union this week, and put into action all the fun, cool stuff I learned at Sweet Molasses! I find there are few things as gratifying as being able to see and feel your own improvement on the dance floor. And I was able to do just that at Sweet Molasses, and I’m sure I will again the next time I hit a blues dance floor. 🙂
If you have any thoughts, questions, or experiences of your own you’d like to share, feel free to post a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say!