Valentine's Blues

Blues In Warsaw

About

In 1957 Julie London, an American actress and singer, recorded a song “Invitation to the Blues” and an album “About the Blues”. Just like Julie London then we would now like to tell you something about the Blues and so invite you to the Blues today as well.

On 9th-11th February 2018 we’re organizing the Valentine’s Blues Festival, during which couple and solo Blues as well as Slow Dance workshops will take place during the day and blues concerts and parties at night. On top of this we have prepared competitions, the Valentine’s dancers’ dinner on Saturday and a taster lesson of Slow Balboa!

For the last four years we’ve had a tradition of meeting for the Valentine’s dances during the Valentine’s Blues Festival organized by SWINGOUT.PL, the Swing Dancing Studio in Warsaw. Every year the blues dancing community in Warsaw grows bigger and bigger. However, if you still don’t know what Blues dancing is, you can read about it below or better just join us by participating in our workshops and dancing together with us.

Feel invited to:

  •    ♥ participation in 4 to 12 hours of Blues dance workshops at different levels (described below),
  •    ♥ Three Blues parties to live music, during which you’ll have the opportunity to practice your newly acquired dance skills,
  •    ♥ Jack & Jill competition for the participants of the festival.
  •    ♥ a dinner for the dancers and their guests – a Spanish Tapas night with a blues concert.

Levels

Blues Dance

Beginner (Blues 0)

Classes for novices, who haven’t tried Blues dancing yet and who would like to be able to join the dance floor during the festival.

Intermediate (Blues 1)

Workshops for dancers with an annual experience or less (either taking regular classes or participating in many weekend festivals).

Advanced (Blues 2)

Blues dancers with more than a year of experience, knowing all dancing positions and distinguishing between Blues genres.

Solo Blues

One level, common for all participants.

Slow Dance

Intermediate (Slow Dance 1)

This level is meant for the Lindy Hop dancers with an dancefloor experience of about one year, familiar with basic lindy figures (Swing Out, Lindy Circle, Tuck Turn, 6 Count), able to dance to both slow and fast tempo and using stretches.

Advanced (Slow Dance 2)

Workshops for dancers with more than a year of a dancefloor experience, knowing a wide variety of Lindy Hop figures, as well as styling elements, using different footworks effortlessly, differentiating stretches and the energy flow between the couple, knowing different rhythms, capable of slowing down, speeding up and interpreting the music.

If in doubt about the right level for you, please contact us and we’ll be happy to give you a hint!

Teachers

Just like during the previous editions of the festival also this time we’ll take classes from one foreign and one local couple. Both Blues and Slow Dance courses will be run by:

♥ Rija Rakotondrainibe & Shirel Archambeau
♥ Konrad Pruśniewski & Agnieszka Pluwak
♥ Jakub Makowczyński

Shirel, one of the most talented solo dancers in Europe, will teach us solo Blues dancing! We so much look forward to that!

Shirel Archambeau

After several years of theater, Shirel dedicated herself to Dance. Foremost attracted to the femininity and sensuality of Egyptian BellyDance and Tribal Fusion which she has been teaching and practicing since 2005, she then set her sights on Swing and Blues, captivated by the contagious energy of these dances and the vintage aestheticism she has loved since a young age. She enriches her techniques and vocabulary through a practice in other disciplines: yoga, ballet, street jazz, ragga, dance hall, hip hop, world dances, and more … With all this, she dance a style full of femininity, grace, and elegance that stays focused on musicality, expressiveness, and emotional interpretation. In her class space, with a very good knowledge of the body she guides the students at a pace that allows everyone to listen to their own body and find their own style too, with joy and humor! On top of all this – because she can’t stay sitting still! – Shirel is a jewelry and accessories designer and professional model, and continues her formation in Reiki Usui and Naturotherapy.

 

Rija Rakotondrainibe

 

Rija discovered ballroom dancing when he was fifteen and hasn’t stopped dancing ever since. He took his first blues class in Grenoble (France) in 2011 and has travelled all over the world to get more experience.

All of his travels allowed him to take classes with the best dancers in the world, led him to become a better dancer and to improve as a teacher.

His experience in ballroom naturally led him to dance drag blues. You will easily recognize him on the dance floor with his unique groove and musicality.

Rija will help you to improve your technique with his original moves and he will also challenge your creativity.

Rija is also a well known dancer in the French lindy hop scene and also a major actor of the lindy hop scene in Paris.

Among that, Rija has won several strictly blues competition: Drag the blues 2014 and 2015, Fallin’ in Blues 2014, Hot Blues 2014.

 

Konrad Pruśniewski & Agnieszka Pluwak

 
Agnieszka Pluwak has found Blues to be a perfect form of dance expression for her as a dance that reflects her dancing story: it has African roots, some tango impact and a spell of jazz elegance. She started dancing at the age of 7 with ballroom, to then turn to African and modern jazz dances. She loves inspirations from all kinds of styles and Blues seems to cover that. Agnieszka has been teaching a variety of classes in Germany and Spain and now tries to build a Blues scene in Warsaw with her partner, Konrad Pruśniewski.

As for her achievements she may be proud of 1st place in solo blues during Grenoble Fallin’ Blues 2016 plus second place in JnJ, 2nd place on Drag the Blues 2015 crazy JnJ, 2nd place on Bluesila Dance Camp 2015.

“The beauty of Blues is in its indefiniteness…. There are no steps, choreographies… a magnet attraction of two poles resulting in a piece of intimate creation between prolific, open dancers, willing to experiment while discovering different layers of rhythm and music”.

Konrad Pruśniewski as a curious person tried a variety of different activities. From primary school he had been learning Japanese martial arts which as a result led him from soft to a bit harder styles. When in 2013 by coincidence he discovered lindy hop, boxing gloves had been abandoned permanently. Since then dance turned his world up-side-down and revealed different ways of enjoying life. Hard work led him to fast progress and also several achievements in Lindy Hop and Blues contests. Only in Blues Konrad won 1st place in JnJ on Bluesila (Lithuania), Blues Baby Blues, Grenoble Fallin’ in Blues 2016, crazy JnJ on Drag the Blues 2015 and several 2nd and 3rd places in Lindy Hop or Blues contests around Europe.

Creativity and curiosity directed him into Blues in which he found complementation of dancing and also deeper connection and feeling. Dancing with Agnieszka opened new tracks and started a new chapter in their lives. Creating and building new, not known and not scheduled or imposed form out of expression in each dance is the thing most valuable for Konrad. During mentioned process you never know what will be revealed. It just might be ordinary fun but also it could become a masterpiece understandable and visible only for two.

 
 

BODY ISOLATIONS with JAKUB MAKOWCZYŃSKI

Jakub developed his dancing skills under the guidance of instructors from around the world during international dance workshops. He specializes in Reggaeton, Salsa, Cuban Rumba, Afro-Cuban dances and Dancehall/Ragga. Previously he danced ballroom dances in “Swing” school led by Iwona and Włodzimierz Ciołko, as also R’n’R and Boogie Woogie under the care of Marcin Skrzecz. He trained and performed in “Jazz One” dance formation led by Paweł Michno.

Together with Ewa “The Frog” Kiljańska he achieved III place in Primavera Salsa Open 2010 in Salsa L.A. category. Jakub performed at dozens of dance festivals and parties throughout Poland and as a result developed his own style. During the classes, in addition to ordinary steps he puts great importance to body movement, playing with rhythms. On his classes you will receive a lot of positive energy and “relaxing fatigue”.

Insulation and body movement – during my class we will focus on the isolation of individual parts such as arms, chest and so on. These exercises allow us to be fully aware of our movement. Skills gained in the classroom will be helpful in every type of dance, from Dancehall to jazz and hip hop.

 

 

Viola Wojciechowska

Viola Wojciechowska is dancing afro since 1997. She is also psychologist working with teenagers and children. During many travels to West Africa she was working with the best dancers and solists from Mali, Guinea, Gambia and Senegal. In Europe she was cooperating with many artists in traditional Africain projects and new wave fusions as well.
She is teaching dance for 12 years and leading “C’est ca!” dance group. She is organizing music and dance workshop travels to Guinea and Gambia.
In Warsow Viola is working in Centrum Kultur Świata and Strefa Rytmu.

During afro dance classes you will work traditional West African steps to the accompaniament of drums but first of all you will feel wildness of Africa!

Music

Blues Junkers

The Blues Junkers band (the name refers to Champion Jack Dupree’s song called “Junker Blues”) was established in Warsaw, Poland in December 2014 by a married couple – Natalia and Dominik Abłamowicz. The band’s name expresses strong addiction of its members to old American music, namely blues, rhythm’n’blues, boogie-woogie and soul.

The band is a small combo without a bass player. What is more, the band uses only a small drum kit. This minimalistic approach aims at obtaining the unique sound based on the old archaic barrelhouse piano combined with more modern but still classic blues guitar in the style of such masters as B.B. King, Freddie King. Of course, the most important member of the band is the singer, Natalia, whose voice and phrasing are in the style of the best blues singers such as Katie Webster, Etta James and Ruth Brown.

In April 2016 Blues Junkers represented Poland on the na European Blues Challenge 2016 in Italy as the winners of the Suwałki Blues Festival 2016. Apart from the concert on the main scene of the Rawa Blues Festival, the Blues Junkers have so far performed on many international blues festivals in Poland, such as: Jesień z Bluesem (Autumn with Blues), Suwałki Blues Festival, Blues Express, Olsztyńskie Noce Bluesowe (Blues Nights of Olsztyn), Polish Boogie Festival and Jimiway Blues Festival.

Blues Junkers:

Natalia Abłamowicz – vocal, kazoo
Dominik Abłamowicz – piano, harp
Maciek Sych – guitar
Krzysztof Mika – drums

 
 

Christine And The Blue Drags


Christine And The Blue Drags
is a quartet made up of Krystyna Ostrowska (Krysia), a talented singer and dancer; Sławomir Nowodworski (Sławek), a versatile harmonicist; Jan Lipert (Janek), an excellent experienced drummer; Witold Bielski (Witek), a singing multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar and keyboard, among other instruments.

They share a deep fascination with the blues, New Orleans jazz, swing and classic soul music. They are inspired by artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Ella Fitzerald, or Nina Simone. Their shows are a return to the roots of the blues and the times when the blues combined various musical influences and was mainly music that people danced to.

Sławek and Witek have been playing together since November 2016 when they performed a pre-war standard Blue Drag at Fiesta Harmonica Festival in Stalowa Wola. In February 2017, they played at a dance party at Valentine’s Blues festival, and Krysia sang a few songs with them as a guest. This improvised trio created some really good vibes and instantly won the hearts, and legs!, of the audience. No wonder that they decided to keep on playing the blues as a trio, and to focus on playing for dancers. In the fall of 2017 they were joined by Janek, an experienced drummer, a regular at some of the best jam sessions in Warsaw, giving more power and flavour to the band’s sound.

So far, they have performed as part of a series of summer dance events organized by Sinfonia Varsovia, and at blues dance parties prepared in cooperation with the Swing Dance Studio SwingOut.pl | Lindy Hop in Warsaw, in venues such as the atmospheric Spanish restaurant Buñuel in Warsaw’s Saska Kępa district.

Christine And The Blue Drags:

Krystyna Ostrowska – vocal
Sławomir Nowodworski – harp
Jan Lipert – drums
Witold Bielski – vocal, multi-instrumentalist who plays the guitar and keyboard, among other instruments.

Venues

Classes

Riviera Dance School

All the classes will take place at Riviera Dance School, Waryńskiego 12, Warsaw.

Parties

Restaurante Buñuel – Friday and Saturday

There is a place in Warsaw which makes you feel as you’re at a local bar in Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia. A place serving delicious paellas, huge tapas portions and gourmet wine being only a few things to recommend in their menu.

What is more, an attentive eye can spot the European Blues Union logotype on their front door… and we have to agree it matches the venue perfectly.

We are very happy to announce our venue for Friday and Saturday parties: Restaurante Buñuel in Saska Kępa district. We would also like to invite you to the dancers’ dinner at the beginning of the Saturday party. There’s a tapas menu or other Spanish dishes (also the ones served warm) to select. You can also bring your friends to the dinner, if they’d like to spend the Valentine’s Day in a special way.

Restaurante Buñuel
Parties on Friday and Saturday
Address: Walecznych 61

Chef Jose Ramon

Paella

DZiK – Sunday

DZiK – Dom Zabawy i Kultury
Party on Sunday
Address: Belwederska 44A

Prices and registration

 

Party Pass

15 EUR

  • 3 parties
  • Balboa Taster

Blues 0

25 EUR

  • workshops (3h)
  • Balboa taster
  • 3 parties

Other
Single Track*

55 EUR

  • workshops (4h)
  • Balboa taster
  • 3 parties
 
 

Blues 0
+ Slow Dance**

80 EUR

  • workshops (7h)
  • Balboa taster
  • 3 parties

Other
Double Track***

90 EUR

  • workshops (8h)
  • Balboa taster
  • 3 parties

Triple Track****

110 EUR

  • workshops (12h)
  • Balboa taster
  • 3 parties
 

      *  To choose from: Blues 1, Blues 2, Slow Dance 1, Slow Dance 2 or Solo Blues

    **  To choose from: Slow Dance 1 or Slow Dance 2

  ***  Blues 1 / Blues 2   +   Slow Dance 1 / Slow Dance 2     OR
          Blues 1 / Blues 2   +   Solo Blues     OR
          Slow Dance 1 / Slow Dance 2   +   Solo Blues

****  Blues 1 / Blues 2   +   Slow Dance 1 / Slow Dance 2   +   Solo Blues

Schedule

The schedule may be subject to change.

CLASSES

All the classes will take place at Riviera Dance School, Waryńskiego 12, Warsaw.

PARTIES

20:00
20:30
21:00
21:30
22:00
22:30
23:00
23:30
00:00
00:30
01:00
01:30
02:00
02:30
03:00

What is Blues dancing?

The history of Blues as a dance reaches back to the beginning of the 20th century, but instead of telling it, we would like you to find out about it yourselves:

“Blues is the most profound, the most essential expression of jazz. (…) Blues can be considered a cornerstone of jazz music. It was a couple dance of close embrace, very slow, almost stationary. (…) The dancers in this sequence create moods and character pictures of blues”.

This is what people used to say about Blues in the 1940s. With time Blues has been leaving Slow Drag and adapting a new, modern form. Genres like Chicago, New Orleans, Latin Blues or Struttin’ have emerged. Yet its core remained the same: the unlimited possibilities of expression, freedom of interpretation of different rhythms. It is primarily a dance dialogue, in which the dancers can switch roles of the leader and follower. Other characteristics of Blues are strong accents in music as in African dances, inspiration with figures borrowed from Tango, Swing, Mambo and Contemporary – or even Hip-hop.

Contact

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Contact info

info@valentinesblues.pl