What is Blue Note?

Blue Note is the brainchild of JukeJoint.ninja (Elizabeth Kilrain) and friends. Our vision is to offer consistent venues and events for the exploration and development of the blues vernacular dances in San Diego. As the name implies, our focus is on the 100+ years of rich and living history of blues music and dancing, and that is the type of music and dancing that we offer.

Many existing venues in San Diego offer other dances alongside the blues. We enjoy many of those dances as well, and we offer a flier exchange to help you discover them. However, we believe that to really grow in understanding of a subject, you have to spend time immersed it. Blue Note’s mission is to explore, celebrate, and grow the blues dance community through musical immersion, classes, social dancing, and competition. Here at Blue Note, we are passionate about the blues and truly believe you will love it as well.

Our Values

All Blue Note hosted events are always 100% FREE for blues musicians, in order to promote a better understanding of the history and culture of the blues amongst dancers.

In support of our mission, we hold the following values:

  • Respect and value the history and the context from which blues music emerged and do not shy away difficult topics such as slavery, class conflicts, and racial inequality
  • Recognize blues music and dances as part of Black American Heritage
  • Acknowledge that the blues dances cannot exist without blues music
  • Understand that the blues encompasses many tempos, rhythms, and genres of music and dance
  • Believe that culture and community are more important than specific dance skill
  • Recognize lead and follow as distinct roles, both with creative agency and equally valued
  • Recognize solo dancing as the heart of the blues, with the individual dancer connecting to the music and owning their movement before moving with a partner
  • Believe in the coexistence and celebration of the seemingly contrasting qualities of the blues:
    • Collaboration and competition: where individual accomplishment is celebrated in the context of community and one-upmanship that inspires excellence in others
    • Joy and pain: where the music and dance serve as both catharsis and celebratory defiance
    • Intensity and coolness
    • Athleticism and leisureliness
    • Control and rawness

Note on Terms

We use the term “Black” (capitalized and respectfully) in describing the culture, dances, and people to refer to Black Americans who are descendants of slaves that were brought over to the United States by colonial powers:

  • These terms were settled upon after long discussions with Black American friends who find the term “African-American” problematic because it can refer to more recent African immigrants to the US or those who know their predecessors’ ethnic origins
  • “Black” acknowledges both the cultural erasure caused by historical slavery and the current identity of Black Americans as unique

Why Blues Dance?