At Bay Area Blues Dance, We are dedicated to sharing the love and appreciation of blues dance in all its forms through community, transparency, and cultural engagement.
Our mission statement above is centered on three pillars we find of upmost importance to our mission: community building, transparency, and cultural engagement.
Community We believe that Beat the Blues is a valuable community space, and that through thick and thin, it has continued to provide that. We want to do our best to enhance the feeling of community and the availability of Beat the Blues as a supportive, friendly, community space, especially in a day and age that seems to sorely need it.
To that end, all organizers and board members at Bay Area Blues Dance will commit to regularly attending Beat the Blues and being a part of the community.
We also have gold star stickers for dancing with new people! If you dance with 3 people you have never danced with before, come up to the door volunteer and tell them, and collect your sticker!
We believe that our hosts and teachers do a great job creating a friendly environment, but we want to encourage you, the attendees, to help us create community however YOU do it best. Do you like dancing with beginners? Helping to set up or clean up? Bringing baked goods? Organizing theme nights? Putting up flyers? Hosting? Something else we haven’t thought of? If you’re interested in participating more, please give us your information Here.
Part of community is supporting each other, so please remember to support your local hard-working organizers, support your local dance by showing up, and definitely let us know how we can support YOU!
Transparency We want to build a new organization that can better serve YOU by being available, accessible, and responsive to community needs and feedback.
You can find out more about our Board of Directors and organizing and hosting team here:Staff. Together, we represent a variety of experiences and knowledge of the blues scene, ranging from DJs and instructors to community members, long-time and fresh-faced. It is our hope to guide this non-profit to a better, brighter future.
Keep exploring the website: you will find all the information about our non-profit and organizers, upcoming events and classes, community engagement, as well as historical and cultural information about blues music, dance, and history. Keep an eye on the site-we’ll be adding plenty of new content as we move forward!
We are also committing to transparency with the community about our decisions, decision-making process, and where we see Beat the Blues and Bay Area Blues Dance going as we move forward. To that end, we will be publishing board/organizer meeting minutes on our website starting shortly, which you can find here:Board/Organizer Meetings.
Cultural Engagement We define "Cultural Engagement" as engaging with the culture of blues, e.g. history, as well as social justice and civic engagement efforts. We picked engagement instead of awareness because we want people to not just know stuff is happening and watch/feel guilty, but to actively engage in the work of making a difference and taking real actions, even if they’re small.
We believe that we cannot appreciate and engage with blues music, dance, and black culture without also engaging with the challenges facing POC in America today. To that end, Bay Area Blues Dance has been collecting donations for charities that serve POC communities since January 2018. Past charities we have worked with include Black Youth Project and RAICES. Starting October 2018, Bay Area Blues Dance will be collecting donations for Black Lives Matter. We are also committing to hiring black musicians for regular live music nights, as well as continuing our requirement that DJs at Beat the Blues play at least 80% black musicians. We believe that the people who this music comes from deserve the pay, attention, and credit for this incredible music we all love to dance to.
We are continuing to commit to culturally aware and historically accurate education around blues music, dance, and history. All of our drop-in lessons include a history section discussing the roots and history of blues music, and all teachers are expected to be able to answer questions and engage with discussion regarding the cultural background, challenges, and joys that blues music comes from. For those interested in digging more into this background, we have a newBlog on our website dedicated to music, history, dance, and continuing education. We also have a Bay Area Blues Dance Spotify, which has a variety of playlists dedicated to various styles of blues and artists. Finally, we have a new recommended reading page on our website, please check it out here: Recommended Reading.
Lastly, we are making an ongoing commitment to supporting POC community members in creating safe black and POC spaces to engage with blues music, culture, dance, and the current blues dance community in ways that feel good to them. We’re still working out the details here, but are very excited to provide space and support for that engagement, whether that be financial, emotional, or other ways we haven’t thought of yet.