What is The Experiment?

The Experiment is a uniquely intimate and intensive dance workshop program. Now in its ninth year, it has grown to seven distinct weeks of just thirty participants each, with each week dedicated to a particular combination of dance and level. Currently three of those weeks are dedicated to Blues, ranging from intermediate through masters.

Key features include:

  • Up to thirty participants each week live, dance, and play in a luxurious oceanfront estate.
  • Sessions use a series of custom-developed, small-group exercises which let each participant choose what to work on based on their personal interests and goals.
  • A panel of Faculty & Guest Mentors–comprised of top international professionals, up-and-coming talent, and other special guests–serve to moderate and participate in small-group exercises.
  • Each day contains a balance of sessions with ample free time, occasional electives and non-dance activities, and social dancing every night.
  • Truly international, The Experiment as a whole regularly attracts participants from at least fifteen countries across four continents.

In the end, the question “What is The Experiment?” has many answers. It is a unique opportunity to spend a week being challenged and inspired by peers from around the world. It is the premiere workshop for dance geeks (once described as a cross between MIT and Wonka’s factory, but for dance). It is the luxury swing dance camp, yet priced similarly to other week-long camps in the US and Europe. It may be home to some fierce nighttime laser tag battles and an inflatable pink unicorn. Ultimately, it is the world’s most personal and personally challenging Blues workshop.


Faculty & Guest Mentors

Each week features five or six of the following Faculty Mentors together with one to three Guest Mentors and one Head DJ.

Mike (the Girl) Legenthal
Damon Stone
Julie Brown
Shawn Hershey
Campbell Miller
Dan Repsch
Jenny Sowden
and more!


Becoming a Participant

Now that The Experiment can accommodate as many as 90 Blues dancers across three weeks, there has never been a better chance to become a participant.

  • Candidates can be anywhere from intermediate through masters level. (This includes Blues dancers as well as other kinds of advanced/master dancers who may be interested in Blues.)
  • Candidates do NOT have to be teachers or competitors. The Experiment is designed for anyone who is enthusiastic about dancing and working on Blues.
  • Candidates do NOT need a partner to apply or to participate–more than half of all participants attend without one.

Those interested in participating are required to submit an online application, from which participants are selected and grouped/placed into a specific week. (See: Admission Timeline.) This process serves much like a level test but which must balance a much more complex range of considerations, including interests and personalities, in addition to overall level.

Ideal candidates are simply those who, through a combination of their dancing and attitude, inspire others to want to participate with them in the same week (both on and off the dance floor). General traits the panel of judges look for include self-awareness, self-motivation, and the ability to cooperate and treat others respectfully. Beyond these basic traits there is no specific required personality type–candidates may be more introverted, extroverted, analytical, creative, etc.

Applying is free and includes a range of questions about an applicant’s background and interests along with a section for sample video. Similar to in a level test, dancing in the video does not have to be flashy or impressive and is used primarily to observe core mechanics and overall quality of motion. Many applicants film themselves in their living room or at a social dance, or one may use non-choreographed contest/exhibition footage.

Finally, it is important to understand that The Experiment receives many more qualified applications than can be accommodated in a single year. This means that not being accepted does not necessarily indicate or imply an applicant is unqualified. Often, applicants must be turned away simply due to the sheer number and distribution of applications for a given year (including relative levels, lead-follow balance, spectrum of interests, etc). Over time, both through the addition of weeks and as dancers naturally progress through the scene, The Experiment continues to offer new dancers the chance to participate while keeping the same intimate format.