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Join us on November 4th, 2023
Strictly Between Us is for roleplayers who want to move and dancers who want to tell stories. It blends the expression of partner dance with the emotional storytelling of larp. Strictly explores the dynamics of a relationship either coming together or falling apart, by playing with the physical and emotional connection between two people.
The game eases players into character with dance exercises exploring emotion through movement. Over three sets of scenes, players will work through their feelings about their dance partner, before getting to show off in the community jam where they will put their sentiments in motion for an audience.
So put on your dance shoes, learn about the blues community, listen to some incredible music, and dance your heart out!
A live action game that is also a beginner blues dance workshop.
Duration: 4 hours. 2 hours workshop and dance instruction, then 2 hours play
Players: 2 to 24 players
Written by Eli Seitz, Kristen Dabney, Julie Brown
Organized by Jon Cole
Dance Instruction by Riley Karbon
Admin support from Katherine Shane and Olivia Montoya
Special Thanks to Lindy Bowen and Collectively Blue
This larp is mostly played as a duo, though you will likely dance with other people. This key duo relationship can be any strong relationship that might attend a social dance together. It certainly need not be romantic in nature. Part of the workshop will be helping every attendee to find a partner to create a character and dance with. With that partner you will choose one of two story frameworks for the relationship you’d like to explore with your characters.
- Getting Together is about maybe getting together, and is lighter and more joyous in tone.
- Moving Apart is about maybe splitting apart, and is heavier with a melancholic tone.
The play of this game is done through blues dance and no prior dance experience is needed to have a great time. We are providing an hour of professional instruction for all attendees, in addition to more practice and teaching during the workshop.
We are very excited that Riley Karbon has made time in her schedule for Strictly, as she is in high demand as the head teacher at local blues dance organization Collectively Blue. Riley has years of experience as a dance instructor and is known for her accessible teaching style and prosocial philosophy of dance communities.
November 4, 2023, from 1:30–6:00 PM
We will be in one of CFPA’s spacious dance studios with floor to ceiling windows and a well maintained wooden dance floor.
Metro Transit routes 6, 11, 18, 23C stop nearby. Street parking available.
Get a ticket by filling out the Strictly Between Us registration form. Once you have a ticket you don’t need to do anything else besides show up to play!
This event has a sliding scale ticket price, from $10–$30 depending on your situation. You can pay the ticket price via paypal when you register.
We strongly prefer that people sign up in advance for this event. As such, the door price for a ticket will be $5 higher, for example $25 instead of $20.
Workshop 2hrs, Play 2hrs.
Strictly Between Us explores the evolution of a relationship over three nights of social dancing. Each night begins with a free play time, where players explore the relationship with their partner, followed by water cooler time where the group mingles across pairs, and finally a community jam session where couples can showcase their development through dancing. At the end of the third night the duo will know whether they stay together or move apart. Play concludes with a brief epilogue.
What is Blues Dance?
Blues dance always begins in close embrace, with chest to chest physical contact akin to a hug. Blues dance focuses on improvisation, connection, and musicality, with little emphasis on memorizing complex footwork. The accessibility of blues dancing invites a variety of people to dance, regardless of age, ability, or skill level. Blues dance encourages independent expression both as an individual dancer and in a partnership regardless of role. This individual expression within a partnership is part of what makes it a great fit for larp.
Blues was created by African-Americans and is rooted in their experiences in the United States. Historically and currently, that experience is influenced by oppression—first by enslavers and perpetuated through systemic racism. Blues music and dance was created and popularized by the Black community, as a way to express independence and feelings from joy to heartbreak.
Blues music has its roots in African American work songs, spirituals, and folk music from the 1860s. Blues dance started in the American South, primarily in bars, house parties, and juke joints. Over time, blues dancing spread internationally both as a music style and a dance style.
Relationships forming and breaking apart.
This is a highly physical game where dancing is as much a form of communication as words. Blues dance always begins in close embrace, with chest to chest physical contact that is akin to a hug. The basics of this improvisatory dance style will be taught during the workshop so no prior skill is needed to play!
Calibration and Consent Tools
This game will use Cut, Break, Tapout which will be reviewed and practiced prior to play. Following play, we will debrief our experiences and shed the roles we assumed for the game. The debrief is encouraged, but not required.
Players will need to verbally ask one another to dance. During the workshops we will teach and practice how to non-verbally ask to change the point of contact being used to maintain connection while dancing, and answer non-verbally was well. Players are always welcome to revert to verbal requests.
This game is set at a 21st Century social dance. Consider the following priorities in order as you consider your costuming:
- Thick socks you don’t mind getting dirty, or sturdy leather-soled shoes. This dance style needs slightly slippery feet and dancing in socks is the most accessible way to achieve this.
- Good hygiene can both boost your confidence and your partner’s comfort. Please avoid perfume, cologne, and other scented products since you won’t know who is sensitive to smells.
- Comfortable to move in for long periods of time. If you are a sweaty person, bringing an extra shirt to change into halfway is a good idea. Pick absorbent materials rather than sweat-wicking.
- Spiffy duds because your character wants to look their best at this social event. To be clear, we’d rather have you in your most casual sweatpants than miss you entirely!
Attendees need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted to the extent recommended by the CDC for their demographic group. Bring proof of your vaccination status for inspection during check in, which could be your card, a picture of it, or a document on your phone. Our policy means you will need to have had the 2022 bivalent booster at least two weeks before this event or we will turn you away at the door. We strongly encourage you to get the 2023 monovalent booster before you attend, but aren’t requiring it yet because of the relatively short amount of time between vaccine release and this event. Please reach out if you have any questions about our policy.
N95 respirators or better are required, and we will have a few to share. We will be playing in a large and well-ventilated room and bring our own CR box to run. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home. If you are able to, take a rapid test before arrival.
This game requires dancing to music. Without making any accommodations, we would expect attendees to be able to stand for long periods, walking, vision, hearing, and athletic movement. Please reach out, as we would like to be able make accommodations for anyone who cant do all those things consistently.
Our venue is on the third floor, and is climate controlled. The building is ADA compliant. Our playspace has plenty of seating. There are two non-gendered restrooms near the playspace.
Water will be available, and we recommend bringing a water bottle for your ease of access. No food will be provided.
Social and Evening Dance Event
The evening of Strictly Between Us just so happens to be the November blues dance house party hosted by Collectively Blue. Join Riley, Jon, and your new dance chums for an evening of social blues dance, no characters needed. Lock in your learning and meet new friends. Show up at 7:30pm at the 30-minute refresher dance lesson, then enjoy music from 8:00 pm-midnight by the fabulous local blues DJs! Collectively Blue parties are $5 to attend and are BYOB. Collectively Blue events require covid vaccination, and offer N95s but do not require them.
Between the end of the game and the start of the party some folks will get food together to continue to hang out at Hola Arepa. Hanging out afterwards is totally optional, and we think it’s fun to get to know your fellow players as people, not just as their characters. Folks who didn’t attend the event are welcome to attend this part.
Contact us with any questions or concerns!
Photos by Ben Hejkal