This week’s interview is a little late … but good blues dancers are supposed to be behind the beat, right? Anyway, this week we have a routine by two talented and prolific choreographers in our community – Jenny Sowden and Dan Repsch! This one stands out because of the way they seat the audience around them and open up by going around the circle is really effective at drawing everyone into the performance.
What did you want to express with this choreography?
This is something we think about before even choosing a song. “What’s missing in our community?” and “What hasn’t been shown yet?” In this case, those answers were a purely jukin’ dance, a fast tempo, and mimicking an authentic jam circle. We also planned to structure the choreography like a social dance: lots of basics with some variation. Ultimately, we wanted to put something out that proved that fast jukin’ blues was just as “danceable” as slow blues and it doesn’t have to be a panicked, flailing experience.
The setting: late in a bar, club, dirty, crowded, hot temperature, just a hot night out. The story is simple: 1. boy and girl meet at a bar/club 2. boy and girl each show off, challenge and check each other out in a dance 3. boy gets girl.
Why did you choose the song for the piece?
It usually takes us SO long to choose a song! We closed in on Goin’ Away Baby because it had so many elements that aligned with our above goals. It’s fast, it’s jukey, the clapping in the background promotes the jam circle idea. Goin’ Away Baby allowed for a lot of play between us and presented a challenge in keeping people interested because of all the repetition and similarity throughout the song.
What other dances and dancers influenced or inspired this one?
We thought a lot about the social dances we’ve had in modern clubs, in bars, and in juke joints, to live Blues. The things that characterized those dances became prominent in how we built this piece.
How did you go about combining your concept, song choice, and influences to create the finished choreography?
A lot of listening. A lot of discussing. A LOT of dancing… come to our classes at Sweet Molasses for the details!