November 3rd-5th 2017

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About Rose City Blues

Come join us once again in the city of roses for Rose City Blues, the first weekend of November, located at the gorgeous Norse Hall with its beautiful ballroom floors. Rose City Blues is a non-profit, community-developed dance event, brought to you by the Portland Blues and Jazz Dance Society. We are an annual Blues dance weekend, with an abundance of magnificent live music, three showstopping competitions, 2 days of wondrous workshops, and DJs playing all night ‘till you drop.

See you dancing among the stars!

The Portland Blues and Jazz Dance Society (PB&J) exists to create a safe, sustainable, and vibrant Blues and Jazz dance community through the free exchange of ideas, utilization of community knowledge, and promotion by example.

We are an all-volunteer organization! (

A final note, Rose City Blues is a POC & LGBTQIA safe event. This means bigotry of any kind is not tolerated. Rose City Blues and the Portland Blues & Jazz Dance Society is dedicated to providing a harassment-free social dance experience for everyone regardless of dance ability, dance background, gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, age, religion or any other characteristic or trait. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. We do not tolerate dancing which puts you, your partner, or the people around you at risk of physical injury. Individuals violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the venue at the discretion of the host(s). If you experience or see anything questionable, please let someone on the Rose City Blues team know. Thanks for helping keep Rose City Blues a safe and welcoming space for all!

Saturday Theme

Saturday’s Night’s Theme will be Galactic Ball

Dance through time... and now space! Join us Saturday night for an intergalactic evening of entertainment, performances, competitions, and live music. Bring us your star studded shifts, awesome astronaut attire, and your knockout nebulous nail polish and boogie down to the end of the galaxy. The planets have aligned to make sure Saturday evening is out of this world!

Register on Dancerfly!

Dancerfly is an event registration platform developed by and for dancers.

Volunteer and Scholarships opportunities are available, check out the link!

This year we are using a sliding scale for passes! There are only a limited number of passes at each tier. If you are able and willing to purchase your pass at a higher tier, awesome! That will leave spots open for those who may not be able to afford the higher price points.

Payment is through Stripe or Dwolla, our preference is Dwolla. If neither work for you, please contact us and we can arrange another form of payment.

All Access Pass:

Grants you access to all Workshops, Dances, Live Music, and includes daytime snacks and late night meals each night.

Dance Only Pass:

Grants you access to all evening Dances, Live Music, and late night meals. Does not include any daytime workshops.

Music Lovers Pass:

Grants you access to the main evening dances, including a beginner lesson at 8:15pm, dancing 9pm-1am, our Live Music main acts, performances, and competition finals. Full weekend, and individual night passes available.

One Day Workshops Pass:

Grants you access to ONE full day of workshops and daytime snacks. Choice of Saturday or Sunday. Does not include the evening dance. Individual classes will be available at the door.

One Night Dance Pass:

Grants you access to ONE night of dancing from 9pm to 4am, Live Music, and late night meals. Choice of Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Does not include the daytime workshops.

We're sorry, but all volunteer and scholarship positions have been filled.

Questions? Please contact us at


Portland's historic Norse Hall

111 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232 (google)

All floors of Norse Hall are accessible via ramp or lift, please contact us if you need any other accomodation!


Left-click the link below to view the schedule in glorious PDF (right-click or cmd-click to download):

Rose City Blues 2017 Schedule

Workshop Schedule



Doors Open

Last chance to register in the Mix & Match Competition


Mix & Match Prelims in the Main Room

Beginner Lesson Upstairs

9pm - 1am

Main Social Dancing and Music Lovers


Live Music: Kevin Selfe and the Tornados


Mix and Match Finals

1am - 4am

Late Night Dancing


Live Music: Norman Sylvester


Live Music: Kevin Selfe


11am - 5:25pm


(1:40 - 2:55pm Lunch Time)


Pairs Prelims

Dinner Time


Doors Open


Beginner Lesson Upstairs

9pm - 1am

Main Social Dancing and Music Lovers


Live Music: Heavy Sugar feat. Satellite Malone


Pairs Finals

1am - 4am

Late Night Dancing


Live Music: Alan Hagar and special guest Curtis Salgado


11:40am - 6:05pm


(2:20-3:40pm Lunch Time)


Solo Prelims

Dinner Time


Doors Open


Beginner Lesson Upstairs

9pm - 1am

Main Social Dancing and Music Lovers


Live Music: Black Swan feat. Marilyn Keller


Solo Finals

1am - 4am

Late Night Dancing


Live Music: LaRhonda Steele Trio


jump to workshops.


Damon Stone

[Photo by Ben Hejkel Photography]

Damon has been dancing his entire life, starting with vernacular Jazz/Blues first taught to him at the tender age of six by his grandmother. After nearly a decade of learning at the heels of his elders, he went on and eventually studied a score of different dance forms until coming full circle in 1995 to focus primarily on the history and styles of Swing and Blues as his family danced them with a special focus on the Southern styles from the Mississippi Delta region. He has studied the development of vernacular Jazz/Blues dance across the United States learning from a number of the original dancers. He is largely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Blues idiom dance, a long time board member of the Northern California Lindy Society, member of the California Historical Jazz Dance Foundation, and has been interviewed as a dance historian in documentary and for radio. Damon has been a featured instructor at camps, festivals, and workshops across five continents. Visit for more info.

Korea Blues Camp 2015 Teachers Perfomance - Damon Stone & Julie Brown from The Blues on Vimeo.

Richard Powers

And now for something different. Richard comes to us after teaching dance in six countries this year, including Japan and Russia. He is a dance historian and social dancer who specializes in the history of vernacular forms, especially blues, tango, waltz and swing. Richard discovered that a treasure trove of 1920s American blues steps had been recorded in Parisian dance manuals, when Americans flocked to Paris during the Jazz Age. In addition to historic blues and Jazz Age social dances, Richard will teach a bluesy form of slow waltz-mazurka that is currently sweeping France and the rest of Europe. We're happy that his wife Tracey will also join him this weekend, to partner his classes and enjoy the Portland blues experience.

Rachel Stirling

It was Pittsburgh, 2003 when Rachel got her first taste of blues dancing, shortly after getting hooked on lindy hop. She fell in love with the intimate connection between your partner and the music and all that hip movement. As her blues dancing has grown, she continues to marvel at the unlimited possibilities of self-expression and movement. She enjoys sharing that joy through teaching, djing, performing, and kicking so much ass in competitions.

When teaching dance, Rachel loves putting her Penn State degree in education to good use. Known for her incredible patience and ability to explain and demonstrate concepts in a variety of ways, she strives to get those "Aha!" moments. Rooted in strong fundamentals and clean technique, her lessons enjoy finding fun ways to sneak that focus into peoples' dancing. As a regional and national instructor, dj, and scene organizer, Rachel is spreading her love of Blues from coast to coast.

For dance videos, pictures, and more info, check out

Brenda Russell

Brenda is fulfilling her childhood dream as a professional dancer and instructor. She studies African American street dances from the turn of the century to the present. Brenda travels around the world teaching and training with various coaches and historians. Her strength is breaking down the dances in a way that is accessible for anyone, even if they don’t have a dance background. She strives to help her students find the dancer with-in themselves, taking inspiration from dancers of the past. Brenda is working with the Blues dance community during this time of growth to develop curriculum and events that raise the community’s level of dancing. Her hope is to provide structure for duplicable material, while keeping the inherent character and nature of the dance.

Andrew Smith

Teaching internationally for over a decade, Andrew still wears the same pair of dance shoes he bought after falling in love with social dance at the end of high school. In classes around the world, he draws upon his experience in social, vernacular, and classical dances to inspire and challenge his students. He brings a balanced focus to technique, body mechanics, spirit, and creativity and strives to create a positive, safe learning environment. Andrew continues to hone his skills through competitions and wins at events around the country, including Mean Old Blues, Rose City Blues (twice), and Portland Blues Experience (thrice). In his spare time, Andrew is a software engineer and holds a Master's degree in Sustainable Design and Construction from Stanford University. He enjoys hugs, yoga, and dark chocolate.

Visit for more info.

Carlton Jackson

Los Angeles Times longtime Jazz music critic Don Heckman once wrote of Carlton Jackson’s drumming as being “intensely musical”.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Carlton has been associated with many areas of the musical world, both performance and recording. His well-documented work with contemporary Jazz pianists Tom Grant, David Ornette Cherry, Gordon Lee, Darrell Grant, and Dan Siegel, guitarists Dan Dalmer and Terry Robb, Rhythm & Blues singers Curtis Salgado and Lloyd Jones, Country Folk singer Toni Land, violinist Darol Anger, recordings with Oregon Catholic Press and Composer Jon Newton have solidified his status as an engaging and versatile performer.

Carlton is currently a long-time member of the teaching faculty of the Mel Brown/Western Oregon University Jazz Workshop and teaches drum set privately at Rhythm Traders in NE Portland. He continues to be involved with many facets of music education at the grade school, high school, and college levels. The Oregon Coast Jazz Party, Clark College Jazz Festival, University of Portland, Portland State University, Willamette University, Battleground High School, and others have used Carlton’s expertise in the local classroom/festival atmosphere.

He also co-leads the Carlton Jackson-Dave Mills Big Band, an 18 member professional big band, with trumpet player/composer Dave Mills in the Portland area. The band has performed at many prestigious events including the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, The Mt. Hood Festival of Jazz, The Washington Park Summer Festival, and the Portland Rose Festival, plus concerts with the Oregon Symphony under the batons of James DePreist, Murry Sidlin and Normal Leyden have been some of the atmosphere of the band’s output. In addition, the group and it’s co-leaders were featured in a program called “Oregon Art Beat” by Oregon Public Broadcasting (PBS).

Carlton is a multiple winner of the Cascade Blues Association “Muddy Award”, the Portland Music Association’s Crystal Award in 1992, and is also a 2008 inductee of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Aquarian Drumheads, Portland Drum Company, Sound Foundry Cymbals and Drum Workshop Drums (since 1992) are still Carlton’s choice of great products to play his music with.



Brenda Russell w/ musician Alan Hagar - Pickin’ Blues 101 (Beg/Int)

11:00am-12:15pm - Main Ballroom

Many styles of Historic Blues feature picking style guitar. Brenda and Alan will introduce you to some common songs and music styles while providing you with vocabulary to navigate these songs on the dance floor.

Rachel Stirling - Buck Dancing (All levels)

11:00am-12:15pm - Upstairs Ballroom

Buck dancing is an African-American folk dance done to Piedmont blues in the Appalachian region of the east coast. An improvisational solo dance, it was often done at gatherings and involved play and trading off with musicians and other dancers. Whether done on someone's front porch or a pallet on the ground, it uses the feet interacting with the floor to create percussive sounds, textures, and rhythms. We'll talk about the history, watch clips, and learn some common moves as well as ways to improvise within the dance.

Brenda Russell w/ musician Alan Hager - More Pickin' Blues (Int/Adv)

12:25-1:40pm - Main Ballroom

Brenda and Alan will continue to introduce common historic blues songs and some steps to navigate the dance floor with. This second class will feature additional footwork rhythms, afro styling, technique, and aesthetic tips.

Damon Stone & Rachel Stirling - Piedmont Triple (All levels)

12:25-1:40pm - Upstairs Ballroom

This class will focus on Piedmont blues music and the style of movement and footwork that grew along side it. We'll cover basic rhythms, partner interaction, splitting and syncopating the beat, and the shuffling, sliding, percussive footwork the Piedmont region is known for.

Andrew Smith - Blues Speed Dating (All levels)

12:25-1:40pm - Downstairs Studio

So many styles of Blues, so little time! You'll be set up on ten speed dates with lovely folks like Ms. Vaudeville, Mr. Chicago, and more. They’re all fascinating individuals, you’ll surely want to get to know each of them better on your own time. This class will help get you acquainted with each genre -- their life story, how to pick them out from a crowd, and their likes and dislikes so you can impress them later on your first date.

Carlton Jackson - Backbeat 101 (Lecture)

1:55-2:55pm - The Lounge

The life-giving blood of music lies within the Backbeat as it's known in rhythmic circles. Join educator and drummer Carlton Jackson as he traces the lineage of the Backbeat from its origins to its modern day use.

Please note this is a sit down lecture during the lunch break! We suggest you bring along a packed lunch, or order take out for delivery or pick up nearby. There will be a short break for people to grab lunches before we start, and we will have take out menus of nearby eateries at the registration table all weekend.

Damon Stone - What We Dance and Why: A Survey Class (All levels)

3:00-4:15pm - Main Ballroom

This class will specifically focus on playing a variety of different Blues sub and sub-sub genres, examining how the different things make us want to move, comparing and contrasting definitional elements as well as personal styling choices on the part of the musician and dancer. This class is less about "Right and Wrong" and more about gaining a deeper understanding of the music and ourselves.

Andrew Smith & Rachel Stirling - Get Lost in the Country (All levels)

3:00-4:15pm - Upstairs Ballroom

There's something beautiful and entrancing about the simplicity and cadence of country blues. Delta blues, as well as Piedmont and Hill Country blues, can be challenging to dance to when there's often minimal instrumentation and no drum beat. This class will show you how to get lost in the steady groove of the music and embrace simplicity, subtlety, and repetition in solo and partnered movement.

Brenda Russell - Boogie Blues (All levels)

3:00-4:15pm - Downstairs Studio

Growing up in Portland dancing boogie was just what we always did. From DK Stewart on Monday Nights at The Candlelight to the dueling pianos of Boogie Woogies, many Blues bars had some jump blues, fast shuffle blues, or boogie piano blues featured if not at least in the mix. Brenda will share the base movements and footwork variations to get you started on the road to dancing Boogie Blues, which is commonly done to may types of up tempo shuffle, swing, and jump blues.

Richard Powers - 1920s Historic Blues (All levels)

4:25-5:25pm - Main Ballroom

Richard discovered that a treasure trove of original 1920s American blues steps were recorded in a series of Parisian dance manuals, when Americans flocked to Paris during the jazz age. Blues dancing wasn't respectable enough to be described in jazz age American dance manuals (or anywhere else), but Paris was fascinated by anything American at the time, and described a host of blues steps in great detail. We'll also have time for the Camel Walk in Bessie Smith's 1929 "St. Louis Blues." Learn the original blues dancing here!

Damon Stone & Rachel Stirling - Struttin': A Deep Dive (All levels)

4:25-5:25pm - Upstairs Ballroom

Struttin was originally danced in Memphis in the 40's and 50's to delta and country blues music but has since found a home in our contemporary dance community to a broad range of janky and faster styles of blues music. This class is meant to teach the fundamentals of Struttin and then quickly progresses to advanced concepts including a number of footwork variations, high amplitude turns, and the tricky aspects of "off-footing." While no knowledge of Struttin is required you should be comfortable with a wide variety of tempo, close embrace, and willing to challenge yourself.


Richard Powers - Blues-Mazurka Clandestina (All levels)

11:40am-12:55pm - Main Ballroom

As a living tradition of evolving waltz and mazurkas, this dance incorporates both blues and tango, danced to slow waltz music. It's the newest form of waltz in France, spreading quickly to Italy, Germany and England, and still evolving. If you've been wanting to expand your blues partnering skills into a new direction for variety, this dance is for you. Blues-Mazurka Clandestina has the complexity of mazurka with the slow deliberate whisper of tango and blues.

Brenda Russell - Walking in Rhythm (Int/Adv)

11:40am-12:55pm - Upstairs Ballroom

This class will cover how to apply all of the basic dance rhythms to traveling dance steps. Learn to traverse the floor with grace, finesse, and syncopation. This class is a butt kicker, and loads of fun to play with on the social dance floor. Dance Posture and Body Alignments necessary.

Richard Powers - The Jazz Age One-Step (All levels)

1:05-2:20pm - Main Ballroom

This is the dance that launched the new look in couple dancing at the turn of the 20th century. The one-step was the dominant dance of the ragtime era, continuing into the jazz age, and led to the evolution of the foxtrot, blues, merengue and Argentine milonga. The basic step is easy but the variations are infinite and highly creative. It's also the perfect dance for electroswing music.

Damon Stone & Rachel Stirling - Texas Shuffle (All levels)

1:05-2:20pm - Upstairs Ballroom

When Texas musicians moved to California after WWII their music branched off forming its own sub-genre of Blues known as West Coast Blues. The Black dancers of West Coast created their own dance style to match this evolving musical style. Texas Shuffle is a fun footwork oriented Blues dance. We'll cover the basics of this expressive style and get into the nitty gritty (read fun) of musicality, "timeless" patterns, and how this dance used, compression, leverage tension, and neutral as communicative tools.

Andrew Smith - Latin Blues (All levels)

1:05-2:20pm - Downstairs Studio

Many blues songs feature Latin rhythms, so let's get acquainted with the wide world of Latin rhythms and movements and how to "bluesify" them. It's old school fusion, looking at two genres that have been “fusing” for a long time. Best of all, you get to work your hips. Yowza.

Richard Powers - The Infamous Apache Dance

2:35-3:35pm - The Lounge

This is a lecture, illustrated with hundreds of photos and dozens of film clips. The French Apache (pronounced ah-PAHSH) was a highly dramatic Parisian cabaret entertainment of the early 20th century that remained popular for a surprisingly long time, half a century. To quote Irene Castle, "The male dancer tries to demolish the female dancer as spectacularly as possible and usually succeeds." But the Apache dance was created by a woman, Mistinguette, as a statement of strength and independence, back when women were told that they must passively remain in the domestic sphere. Find out the true story of this often misunderstood dance.

Please note this is a sit down lecture during the lunch break! We suggest you bring along a packed lunch, or order take out for delivery or pick up nearby. There will be a short break for people to grab lunches before we start, and we will have take out menus of nearby eateries at the registration table all weekend.

Brenda Russell - Solo Blues vernacular (All levels)

3:40-4:55pm - Main Ballroom

Collecting Blues Dances? This class will take you through a list of Blues moves and their variations, aesthetic, technique, and styling. These are fundamentals, however will will move quickly through them.

Damon Stone - Lead and Follow in Black Social Dance (All levels)

3:40-4:55pm - Upstairs Ballroom

Every style of partner dance comes with its own assumptions about the roles of the leader and follower, and each culture that produces multiple social dances leaves its stamp on them. While the roles of leader and follower exist independently of gender, concepts of masculinity and femininity as social constructs do influence partner interaction. This class will examine how Black culture has been shaped since the arrival of Africans on this continent, how that impacted gender roles, how those roles affected Blues idiom dances.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This class is open to any gender expression dancing in whichever role they wish. It is purposefully meant to deconstruct and decouple gender assumptions regarding Blues dancing roles while educating people on Black culture and values.

Andrew Smith - Gospel Blues (All Levels)

3:40-4:55pm - Downstairs Studio

Throw up your hands and feel it move you! This class dives into a genre of Blues historically considered both sacred and profane: Gospel Blues. We'll learn a bit about its history, explore classic movements done to that music, and have some fun getting into the spirit.

Rachel Stirling - Shape It Out (Int/Adv)

5:05-6:05 - Main Ballroom

It's really fun to create cool lines and shapes at the ends of moves, but how do we integrate those ideas fully into our bodies and our blues dancing? In this class we'll explore creating more interesting shapes, as well as how to use spine movement and stretch and release in your body to make them feel fantastic and look like dancing instead of posing. *Attending Brenda's previous solo class is encouraged, but not required, as this class builds off of that to give you ideas on how to take those moves to the next level or create your own*

Damon Stone & Brenda Russell - Smooth & Subtle: Mid-West Strut (All levels)

5:05-6:05 - Upstairs Ballroom

The term strut or strutting has been used to describe or name several dances both in and out of the blues idiom, but this may be a new one to you. The Strut or Mid-West Strut is a relaxed jazzy style of Blues dance, characterized by a rolling gait and cool demeanor. Characterized by its use of promenades and pauses this walking blues dance is a fun and subtle way to express the music.



Friday Night: Kevin Selfe and the Tornados

Ending Friday Night: Kevin Selfe solo

Kevin Selfe holding a guitar

Kevin Selfe has been electrifying audiences nationwide since breaking into the blues scene in 2006. His growing stature as a captivating story teller and passionate performer are surpassed only by his deft mastery of blues guitar. Having relocated to Portland, OR, the Virginia native is now a leading light in the Pacific Northwest’s robust blues revival. Effortlessly combining the guitar traditions of the legends and the modern masters into his own unique approach, Selfe’s stylistic depth and electric performances resonate with audiences. His live shows have grown in legend largely due to his unique gift for communicating, through guitar, the complex range of moods revealed only by blues. Selfe’s songwriting style bridges the gap between joy and angst, using piercing irony, humorous metaphors, and daring autobiographical subject matter from his own occasional walks with the blues.

In nine years Kevin Selfe and The Tornadoes have become a fan favorite in the Northwest and beyond. In August 2013, Kevin was nominated for a Blues Blast Award, and the band was inducted into the Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame in 2012 for Traditional Blues Act. In addition, Kevin was inducted into the CBA Hall of Fame for Electric Guitar in 2014 . They’ve won 20 prestigious Muddy Awards from the CBA for Traditional Blues Act of The Year (2010-2014), Contemporary Blues Act of The Year (2009, 2013, 2015), Performance of the Year (2012, 2013, 2016), Electric Guitar (2012-2014), Drums (2011-2014), NW Recording of The Year (2013), and National Recording of The Year (2013).

Friday Late Night: Norman Sylvester

Norman Sylvester singing

A special surprise, Norman Sylvester will be joining us late Friday night with a solo trio!

Northwest Original Blues and R&B

The Norman Sylvester Band started performing in the Portland Area in 1985. The Band has shared the stage with BB King, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Otis Clay, Tower of Power,Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Peter Frampton and many more National Touring Stars.

Norman "The Boogie Cat" Sylvester was born in Bonita Louisiana September 16, 1945. He and his family boarded a Union Pacific Train for work in the North in the Fall of 1957 when he was 12 years old, but his familie's Southern Traditions have never left him.

Norman is one of the most engaging showmen around the Northwest. weddings, festivals, corporate parties and club venues all call on his band for spectacular music and entertainment! Influenced from his Southern Baptist early years and the Gospel Quartet his father, Mack Sylvester, toured with (they were as sharp with their fashion as they were in their harmony), these examples show in Sylvester's own performance style.

Norman is a "family and community first" musician. He has mentored many young talents in our area, Patrick Lamb, Jolie Clausen, Joseph Konty, Alden Harris and Gunnar Roads to name a few. He teaches through grants and Ethos "A History of American Music" in our local schools. Sylvester and his band also use their power of music to perform for many benefits,charities and individuals in need. Facebook

Saturday: Heavy Sugar feat. Satellite Malone

The Heavy Sugar members and blues musician all stars, Alan Hager, John Mazzocco, Carlton Jackson and Satellite Malone, play the lowest of stinky stuff. This is music that every musician out there goes: "yeah man those cats can play".


Saturday Late Night Duo: Heavy Sugar’s own Alan Hagar and Special Guest, Curtis Salgado

With a career spanning forty years, award-winning soul, blues and R&B vocalist/harmonicist/songwriter Curtis Salgado is a one-of-a-kind talent whose music is as compelling as his story. From co-fronting The Robert Cray Band to leading his own band (and recording nine solo albums) to helping transform John Belushi into “Joliet” Jake Blues to touring the country with Steve Miller and Santana, he is a true musical giant. NPR calls him “a blues icon” with a “huge voice.” Salgado earned a reputation for high-intensity performances and a repertoire inspired by his encyclopedic knowledge of soul, blues and R&B music. He won the 2010 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Soul Blues Artist Of The Year and went on to win the award again in 2012 and 2013. In 2013 he also won the coveted BMA for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year—the highest honor the blues world has to offer—and took the statue for Soul Blues Album Of The Year for his Alligator debut, Soul Shot. Blues Revue says Salgado’s music is “triumphant, joyful, blues-soaked R&B” and declared him to be “one of the most soulful, honest singers ever.”

Sunday: Black Swan feat. Marilyn Keller

The Black Swan Classic Jazz Band is an entertaining, artistic group that loves performing hot jazz, ragtime and old-time gospel with a distinctive, original flair. Formed in early 1989 by leader Kit Johnson as a hot dance band dedicated to the preservation and performance of early jazz styles, Black Swan expanded its repertoire to include ragtime with the addition of pianist John Bennett in 1992, and to include blues and old-time gospel when elegant vocalist Marilyn Keller joined the fray in 1997. Black Swan has performed for numerous jazz societies, festivals, performing arts groups, and community events in Oregon, Montana, Arizona, Washington, Missouri, Iowa, California, the Caribbean, Alaska and British Columbia. Their book features nearly 400 selections, most of which were arranged by Kit, John and clarinetist Steve Matthes. The rhythm section is anchored by banjo/vocalist Alan Phillips and drummer Ron Leach. Rounding out the front line is Don Stone on trombone and Rick Holzgrafe on cornet. Black Swan is a versatile group with the ability to tastefully and softly caress an intimate room, fire up a large hall and keep the dancers cutting a rug. For this special performance, the BSCJB will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the very first jazz recording.

Marilyn Keller brings a special magic to the stage with her mesmerizing presence and flawless vocal stylings. Diversity is one of her greatest assets and she displays it by appearing with Black Swan and a wide variety of other performance groups and styles: The Don Latarski Group, Tall Jazz, Tom Grant, Michael Allen Harrison and the Augustan a Jazz Quartet to name a few. Marilyn was trained vocally as a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as a vocalist fronting the award-winning MHCC Jazz Lab Band. She is the featured vocalist at the Jazz Worship Service at Augustana Lutheran Church every Sunday and can be seen frequently at restaurants, clubs, festivals and holiday events throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday Late Night Trio: LaRhonda and Mark Steele feat. percussionist Tyrone Hendricks

LaRhonda and Mark Steele are Portland staples. We are honored to have these Portland natives closing out our amazing weekend of live music. LaRhonda and her band played our event Sunday night last year, and we are excited to have her back. Piano, drums, and Vocals, you won't want to miss this sweet low down set!

LaRhonda began her musical journey in Jones, Oklahoma at age 13 singing her first solo in church one Sunday morning. Her journey has taken her to Portland, Oregon and beyond. She has enjoyed working with and recording with local and international artists including Curtis Salgado, Norman Sylvester, Janice Marie Scroggins and Gino Vannelli.

LaRhonda currently enjoys Directing the Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir, working with B3 organist “King Louis” Pain. She also enjoys working with her own band The LaRhonda Steele Band in which her husband Mark is the keyboardist and co-producer of their collaboration “Artistic Differences.”

Mark is a multifaceted pianist and arranger who is stylistically rooted in jazz. Born in South Bend, Washington, his musical journey has led him to performing with jazz greats Joe Pass, Lionel Hampton and pop artist Michael Sembello.


Andrew Smith

Andrew enjoys DJing a wide variety of musical genres, and delights in creating moments for dancers to respond viscerally to blues music, allowing themselves to be transported to another era by a song. Andrew has DJed at events around the world, including Portland Blues Experience, Emerald City Blues Festival, and European Blues Invasion, and has won several DJ contests and nominations. Visit for more info.

Emily Smith

Emily started out as a DJ in Seattle’s epic house-party scene in 2005. She was one of Burn Blue’s original DJs when the venue started and volunteered as a DJ coach for new aspiring DJs, and she has been a regular DJ at many of the regular blues dance venues in Seattle. She loves traveling to dance events to hang with old friend and meet new friends, and has had the pleasure of being on staff for multiple events either as a DJ or co-organizer. Emily is a wife and a mother of 2 little princesses and is working toward a career in emergency medical care.

Gideon Syfrett

Gideon has been dancing for almost two decades, in that time blues has solidified itself as his true love. When not dancing he can often be found serving up the slowest melty blues around.

Kristin Buxton

Kristin started DJing for swing dances in 2001 in Portland. Her first blues set was in 2007 at Blues Underground in Seattle. Since then she's been a regular DJ at Tuesday Blues in Portland and Do Something Blue, the Juke and the blues room at LindyGroove in Los Angeles and has played blues or blues/lindy sets at &All That Jazz, San Francisco Lindy Exchanges, Sacramento Lindy Exchange and Portland Lindy Exchange through the years . While she still spins lindy sets occasionally, she loves the huge range of blues music available to dance to which lets her pull out new music every time she DJs.

Rachel Stirling

Rachel fell in love with blues music upon finding the dance over ten years ago. She's got a passion for the wide variety of blues music from Piedmont finger-pickin', gritty swamp, funky boogaloo, to entrancing hill country. Above all though, it's gotta be real and have soul. She finds inspiration from the incredible live music she has access to in Portland and across the US. Just know, you're guaranteed to hear tunes that have some ass and make you want to shake it. For more info check out

Sam Lieberman

Sam was born in Chicago with the blues in his blood. Since then he’s lived in 6 states and 3 countries, been exposed to lots of different music, and enjoyed it all! An epiphany got him dancing in the early ’80’s and he just don’t wanna stop. He’s been DJing blues dances and eclectic dances for about 6 or 7 years.

Sarah Elise

Sarah started DJing almost as soon as she started dancing, falling fast and hard for the Blues. She was a regular fixture behind the DJ booth at Boston’s weekly dances for more than 5 years, and can now be seen inspiring and challenging dancers at venues around the Bay Area. She has brought her playful, groovy style all over the country to regional and national blues events, including Mean Old Blues, Mile High Blues, Steel City Blues, Greenville’s Winter Blues, Nocturne Blues, Albany Lindy and Blues, and Boston’s own Sweet Molasses Blues. Sarah Elise knows how to bring the party, and she can’t wait to see you shakin’ that thing out on the floor! Visit for more info. [Photo by Ben Hejkal Photography]

Stephen Jackson

From 1998 to 2007 Stephen experienced the swing dance world vicariously through his sister Jojo. When he suddenly realized that he enjoyed Lindy on his own, he gained a hobby. When invited to his first blues house party, he gained a passion. His love of the dance almost immediately spilled over into a love of DJing. Armed with a creative and conversational blues style, Stephen began to scout the musical landscape for new territory to conquer. Since becoming an addict he has both danced and DJed at national events, weekly venues, houses, parks, gas stations, bus stops, and crowded freeways across America. [Photo by Jon Reis]

Tyler Robbins

Tyler has been dancing and djing blues and swing for over a decade. Swing got him hooked, blues stole his heart, and fusion is an illicit affair. His range includes perky quirky New Orleans swing to low down chocolate covered drive-you- into-the- ground blues. He has gone to countless exchanges and has djed throughout the US including Lalfx, RCLX, PBJLX, Rocktober, MFA, CUBE, Rose City Blues, Portland Blues Experience, and Rain City Blues. He won the 2011 Show-Me blues DJ competition in St. Louis. His goal when djing is to provide every dancer at least one song they feel compelled to dance and manipulates the energy to keep the dancers going.


Ready to compete?

We will be hosting three competitions at Rose City Blues:

Mix & Match - No partner required.

Strictly - A partner is required for this competition.

Solo - Show off your solo moves! This is a non-partnered competition.

All competitions will have an entry fee of $10 per person.

Now, here's the best part:

There will be over $2500 in CASH prizes, with $1000 going to the winning couple of the Strictly Competition! In addition, all prize winners will receive passes to events around the country.

Don't miss your chance to show off your dance moves and possibly have a chance at the big prize!

The Portland Blues & Jazz Dance Society is a sports non-profit, and as such, competition is a part of our core required activities. We feel friendly competition motivates the blues scene to progress in terms of dance skill, as well as giving participants a sense of achievement. Competition is also a means through with PB&J can provide scholarships as prizes, helping us invest your money back into the community.

Meet The Team!

Diabolical Director, Li Galiel

(Photo by Larry Colen)

Food Connoisseur, Haven Sundstrom

Website Wizard, Michael Andrade

Instructor Conductor, Rachel Stirling

Live Music Mastermind, Brenda Russell

Social Media Maven and Onsite Wrangler, Marie Raynor

DJ Maestro, Matt Mickle

Merchandise Magician, Ally Yancey

Art & Graphic Design Extraordinaire, Kristin Walker

Volunteer Visionary, Imandra Mckenzie

Housing Houdini, Jeremy Milburn