Welcome to bluesCENTRAL

We are a friendly group of people in Champaign-Urbana who love blues dancing, and we want to share our love of dancing with you!

Join us on Monday evenings for free lessons and dances at Guido’s Bar & Grill. Learn more about our lessons and dances.

Fallin’ Into Blues

On October 5, 2019 at Lincoln Square Mall, bluesCENTRAL we’re hosting our Fallin’ Into Blues half-day dance festival.

SnowMELT 2020

Join us on March 6 -8, 2020 for our annual dance weekend that brings blues dancers from around the country, SnowMELT Blues.

Summer Lesson Series

Each Monday this summer, starting on June 3rd, we’ll teach a different blues idiom dance. Most of these dances fit well with a specific style of blues music. Come learn the dance that fits the music, and expand your repertoire. Each lesson will be independent, so if you miss one you won’t be behind. More details and RSVP on Facebook.

See you on the dance floor.  -Mark

Dates Set for SnowMELT Blues 2020

Save the dates! March 6-8, 2020 in Champaign-Urbana.

We are reading feedback, talking to partners, and already starting planning to make SnowMELT Blues even better in 2020 than it was in 2019.

Sign up for our email list to receive SnowMELT Blues 2020 updates.

50/50 Swing/Blues Dance This Week

Friday, April 26, at Urbana Dance Company, the second 50/50 swing and blues dance. Lesson 8pm. Dance 8:30 to 11pm. This one will be DJ'd with both swing and blues music. Students $8, Community $10. RSVP on Facebook.

See You at Guido's

Our familiar routine with our dance friends. 6pm Lesson. 7-9pm dancing. Every Monday including this one. All levels welcome. No partner needed.

See You at Guido’s

Our familiar routine with our dance friends. 6pm Lesson. 7-9pm dancing. Every Monday including this one. All levels welcome. No partner needed.

bluesCentral Awarded Urbana Arts Grant

Urbana has awarded an arts grant to bluesCENTRAL to support a free-to-the-public music, learning, and dance event this fall. Thanks and congrats to Jennifer White who led this application process and all who helped. More info to come soon.

It’s Here

SnowMELT Blues 2019 is this week! Here's the last-minute info you need to know:

  • There's still time to register online until Friday at Noon. Then the prices go up and registration will switch to at-the-door only. If you or your friends are the last-minute type, now's the time to register.
  • Invite your friends to the SnowMELT Blues social dances: the 50/50 Blues/Swing Dance on Friday night, Susan Williams Band on Saturday Night at Neil St Blues, and to our main dance at Channing Murray following that. See the full schedule here.
  • Respond going on the bluesCENTRAL Facebook event for the 50/50 dance. Our venue, the  Urbana Dance Company also has an event for it, hit going on that one too.
  • Kate Barton is coordinating volunteer signups for SnowMELT. She has some more spots to fill. Visit the volunteer sign up page to help out.
  • We are excited that Travis Hartman is coming form Dayton, OH to DJ at SnowMELT.

Repetition and Variation – Your Way

Monday, Guido's, 6pm — Sierra will teach on generating your own ideas for repetition and variation. Then our usual social dancing from 7-9pm with the bluesCENTRAL friends we love. Jennifer will DJ. No partner required.

More on Musicality

Monday, Guido's, 6pm — Dave will teach our lesson this week, focusing on musicality by listening to specific songs and suggesting elements to reflect in our dancing. Social dancing 7-9pm. No partner required, come on out and dance.

Volunteer at SnowMELT

Kate Barton is coordinating volunteer signups for SnowMELT. She has some more spots to fill. Visit the volunteer sign up page to help out. Thanks!

James Cotton Playlist

James Cotton was born in the heartland of Delta blues, in Tunica, Missisippi. But it was listening to Sonny Boy Williamson II on radio that inspired him to leave home to seek out Williamson’s mentorship. James initial instrument was the drums but he is most famous as a harmonica player. By the early 1950’s he played with Howlin’ Wolf and in 1955 moved to Chicago to join Muddy Waters band.  Playing with many great blues artists of his time, he evenutally formed his own band with Otis Span, James played in the Delta, Memphis and Chicago styles of blues. James died of pneumonia at the age of 81.

SnowMELT Saturday 9pm Dance will be at Channing Murray

We’ve upgraded the Saturday Night Main Dance to a larger space to make room for all the dancers who’ve registered for SnowMELT Blues. The beautiful Channing Murray chapel, beloved by C-U dancers, will now be our venue for this dance. Saturday, March 30th, 9pm to Midnight. With this change to a larger venue we’re also opening this dance to the community with an at-the-door price of $8 ($5 for students). It’ll be sweet.

Our Saturday Night Dinner & Dance with live blues music from the Susan Williams Band will still be at Neil Street Blues from 6-9pm.

Meet the SnowMELT Teacher this Monday Night

Chris Dove is planning to join our Monday night lesson and dance at Guido’s Basement Bar this week. Come meet (and dance with) the instructor who will be teaching all 7 workshops at SnowMELT Blues. Read her dance bio on the SnowMELT page.

Sierra and Dave will continue their lesson series, this week focusing on… TBA.

Don’t forget to register for SnowMELT before the early bird pricing ends, and sign up to volunteer too.

Jennifer has curated this week’s playlist featuring swamp blues artists including Lightnin’ Slim (1913-1974), Slim Harpo (1924-1970), Clifton Chenier (1925-1987), Lazy Lester (1933-2018), Katie Webster (1936-1999), Marcia Ball (1949-), Tab Benoit (1967-) and other contemporary artist who have played swamp blues influenced songs.

Swamp blues began in the 1950s and 60s around Baton Rouge and is a sub-genre of the jazzy and Afro-Carribbean influenced Louisiana blues style. Swamp blues has an eerie echoing reverberating sound with trebly guitar, wailing harmonica and sparse but unique percussive effects. Zydeco, Cajun, and soul influences are also recognizable. It can have lazy shuffling beats as well as boogie rhythms. The style was also adapted by British Invasion artists such as Rolling Stones, The Kinks and the Yardbirds but swamp blues popularity faded in the 1970s.