Solo Challenge

Solo Tribute Challenge

To further explore our History & Culture theme, we invite you to participate in our new Solo Tribute Challenge!

Our Finalists!  Performing on Saturday Night at 1am. 

  • Performer: Grace Jones-Taylor
  • Tribute Artists: Al Minns & Leon James
  • Song Title: “Don’t Go No Farther” by Muddy Waters
Here in Austin we’ve been holding bi-monthly blues movie nights, where we watch blues music documentaries, old festival footage, etc. We stumbled upon rare footage of Al Minns and Leon James dancing onstage at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960 to “Mean Mistreater/Going to Chicago.” You can see some of the greats, blues legends, up on stage with them such as Muddy Waters, James Cotton, and Otis Spann. That festival footage inspired me to pay homage to them in this solo challenge competition. I felt that their movement in that footage was compatible with the aesthetic I have been developing, and would provide new opportunities to expand my embodied understanding of jank and contrast. I particularly love their angular, purposeful arm and hand movement, their extreme range in movement from frenetic to then oh so slow, and the joy you can see in their expressions. I decided to take inspiration in the form of some of their baseline movements and their aesthetic choices, and see how that translated into my body, which isn’t quite so lanky, and affected my movement quality (my solo dancing is probably best characterized as “chill”).


  • Performer:  Sarah Elise
  • Inspiration:  Sandra Gibson
  • Music:  Creole Nights by Dr Michael White
I used footage from The Spirit Moves to inspire, and I chose Sandra Gibson because I am sick of being told that my dancing is “too sexy”. Her dancing was powerful, and precise, and full of sexiness, and “don’t give a damn” attitude. She inspires me and makes me want to move my hips!

 Competition Guidelines

Entering the comp?? Send your videos to:!
The Big Picture

 You will be judged on a 90 second performance embodying & interpreting the movement of your favorite historical solo blues artist.  Prelims are by video, and three finalists will be chosen to perform at the Saturday late night.

What are we looking for?

The purpose of this competition is to acknowledge the incredible dancing of the past that we have built our community on, while at the same time carrying our blues dance art form into the future. We don’t want to see an exact replica of an old video.  We’ve already seen that video, there’s no reason to see it again.

We want to see what that dancer looks like through the gaze of your artistic expression.  We want you to embody the spirit of that dancer, to see sparks and glimmers of the their movement alive in your body.

The performances on both live and video can be either choreographed or improvised, that is not important to us.  Do keep in mind that all prelim videos (including the finalists) will be posted online during the week of July 4th, in the effort to both educate and inspire attendees.

What dancer should you research?

Here are a few ideas to get you started, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.  If you have any questions of whether or not an artist would qualify, send an email to

  • Any dancer in The Spirit Moves Chapter 2: Sandra Gibson, Al Minns, Leon James, James Berry
  • Josephine Baker, Earl “Snake Hips” Tucker, Tina Turner (of Ike & Tina in the 60s)


Details for Video Submissions

Video submissions are due by June 13th.  Three finalists will be selected & notified on July 4th to perform at the Saturday late night.

You must register and pay for the competition on Open-Dance to be qualified to participate in prelims.

In the effort to education the world about blues dancing and to inspire Nocturne attendees, all of the video submissions will be posted online the week of July 4th as representations of solo blues through the Nocturne Blues Youtube Channel.

Video should be about 90 seconds.  This is not a hard and fast rule!  It is more important that your performance has a nice musical ending on a phrase or a proper fade out than it being exactly 90 seconds.  If it is less than 60 or more than 120, then we will have to disqualify you.

When your video is ready, please send an email to with the following information:

  • Your Full Name (as you would like to be represented)
  • Name of your Tribute Artist
  • Title of the Song
  • Short Description
    • Including links to video footage that you used for research.  (especially if it is someone not as well known)
    • Any thoughts you would like to share about why you chose this artist or the process you went through while developing your dance.