(re)Building a Blues Scene – Part 1

A few things that are happening in Toronto and blues dancing.

Blues Dancing in Toronto

Remember when I said that there were plans in motion to (re)build the blues dance scene in Toronto? Well let me tell you all about it…

Things are getting exciting here in Toronto. And I’m not talking just about the Reservoir Lounge comment fest from my last blog post (although very interesting). There are dances specifically for blues dances that are going to take place in our city as well as various opportunities to learn to dance to blues music.

Third Friday Swing & Blues Dance Party (Dovercourt House)

The first event I should mention is the one that will be put on by Simon (Swing Toronto) at the Dovercourt House (“DCH”). According to Simon, the plan is to have a monthly blues dance at DCH every third friday of the month. This will be a band based event and the band this month will feature the excellent Tyler Yarema Trio. Tyler actually participated in the blues “musicality” workshop a while back when Steven and Virginie came to Toronto to teach. It was by far my favourite class of the weekend and it definitely helped me understand just *that* much more about the music and dancing.

When: Friday December 18
Who: Swing Toronto

The lesson will also be taught by Waterloo’s own, Jeff Benoit, and he will be teaching two classes, “The Essence of Blues Dance” (@7pm) and “Let the Music Move You(@8pm).

Make sure you come take those classes because Jeff has really keen insights about blues connection and feeling. One of the first weekends I was in Toronto, I jumped on over to Waterloo, for their blues exchange, and was very impressed with Jeff’s foundation classes.

Yonge & Bloor Blues (Dirt Cheap!)

The second event that I want to mention to you guys is the one that will start up in 2010 called “Yonge & Bloor Blues”. If you have not been to the Yonge and Bloor studio (“The Ultimate Lindy Hop Studio”), check it out at:

765B Yonge Street – upstairs from Starbucks, the door is nestled between the Starbucks and Tim Horton’s on the East side of Yonge Street, just North of Bloor. Steps from Yonge & Bloor subway station.

Not only does BEES KNEES DANCE bases its Toronto dance lessons there, the studio is also owned by Toronto local lindy hoppers Kevin and NaYoung. They are great people and even though they not intend to start up a dance studio when they opened up their business, it is the best studio for our community in all of Toronto.

Where/Who: Yonge & Bloor Blues Facebook Group Page

The first dance is set for January 29, 2010 so it’s still a bit away.

Bees Knees Monday Night Blues Classes

Speaking of Bees Knees Dance, Mandi is hosting blues dance classes in Toronto with Randy (yep, that’s me) and Kathleen. The will be every Monday night from 8:30pm-9:30pm, directly after my friends’ Shannon and Jasper’s beginner swing classes. Check out http://www.beeskneesdance.com for more information.

I am really pumped up about these classes because it will be the first time, at least in my knowledge, that a regular weekly blues dance class will be offered in Toronto (correct me if I am wrong). It’s exciting to think of all the potential blues dance babies that can come out of it.

When: Every Monday Night 8:30-9:30pm, starting January 4th.
Who: Bees Knees Dance; Randy and Kathleen
Where: 765B Yonge Street

Workshop w. Shannon

Last Saturday, in conjunction with the University of Toronto Swing Club, Shannon and I taught a blues mini-workshop. We wanted to keep it a bit low key. Truthfully, it was a bit low key just in case we did not get the turn out we wanted. However, we were BLOWN AWAY by the reception and we actually filled out all the available spots for the workshop and even had extras coming in on the day of.

There were a few first workshop jitters admittedly but once Shannon and I settled in, it was amazing to see students go from not knowing anything about blues dancing to actually respecting their dance partners and moving around comfortably. Shannon is a phenomenal teacher and the university swing babies are very lucky to have her as one of the primary teachers.

Well that’s it, those are the updates in regards to the development of blues dancing in Toronto. Stay tuned in the new year for more info 🙂


  1. This is really exciting to hear, Randy. Looking forward to hearing more about it and experiencing things in person. Sending you positive energy from Kingston!

  2. Randy, you are the man. Fighting for better dancing is a heroic quest.

  3. Hey Tammy,

    thanks for the positive energy 🙂 It’s going to take a bit of work and I’m sure the payoff will never actually pay off in terms of $$$, but as you probably know, sometimes its not about $$$ at all but about building something positive in your community. We’ll see where it leads 🙂

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