Dance Report: Tyler Yarema in Ottawa

Tyler Yarema in Ottawa Saturday March 20th (During Steven and Virginie Weekend). I was exceptionally impressed with the dance Saturday in Ottawa. The music was clicking, the dancing was clicking, it was the best night of dancing I have had in months.

 Tyler Yarema and company’s set was wonderful. They could throw down some great traditional jazz (and he does a mean Fats Waller) but they had a great deal of depth on the edges, exploring blues, slower jazz ballads, boogie woogie and soul while keeping it danceable and inspiring. It was one of the most versatile band nights I have seen. Some bands are great but more one-dimensional, which means that it doesn’t stay fresh after the first hour or two and the DJ sets are a welcome break in between. Tyler’s band played long sets, took short breaks (about 15 minutes or thereabouts) and I was still wanting more. It made me ashamed that I don’t take the time to catch Tyler Yarema playing when I am in Toronto. He has the skills to pay the bills.

Tyler seemed legitimately impressed with the dancers, he was really feeding off their energy. He also mentioned that it was refreshing for him to be asked for faster tunes instead of being told to play slower music (uh-oh Toronto, you just got called out).

The dancing was great too. I had a ton of fun dances, got to dance with some friends that I don’t get to see nearly often enough and I got to raise the roof on numerous occasions. I really got to engage my fun-loving side in the dancing and there were some dances where I was actually laughing so hard that I could barely continue. At one point after a little bit of creativity gone awry I yelled out “Awkward!” and promptly cracked up.

There was a crowd of dancers from Montreal out, (somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15-20 by my estimation that came in just for the dancing) and a huge crowd of Ottawa dancers. Honorable mention to Lawrence and Chelsea for driving up for Toronto just for the dance. Dishonorable mention to all the other Toronto dancers and to the Kingstonians for not showing up.

There were some top-notch dancers out there and the level of dancing was fairly high generally. I felt like I could be ambitious with my dancing, and didn’t have to shy away from the faster music. It can be frustrating to hear a great fast tune, then look around the dance floor and realize that 97% of the follows in the room have communication break-downs with faster music.  It was nice (but selfish, I am apparently a terrible person) to have to worry about being the crappy member of the partnership and I think it helped me to push myself.

Final verdict: great evening! I hope to see more of Tyler Yarema in the future, and hope I can make time to get out dancing in Ottawa and Montreal a little bit more.

             From your (somewhat) friendly neighbourhood Kevin Temple


  1. Gabrielle

    So sad I missed you Kevin, hope to see you next time you’re in town!

  2. Kevin Sue

    Hey dude. You’re totally right. Toronto is full of old geezers like me that can’t dance fast anymore. My new “Zombieland” resolutions for dancing in Toronto…

    #1 – Cardio
    #2 – The Double Tap
    #3 – Beware of Bathrooms

    Ok, maybe I don’t need #2, but Zombieland was funny, right?


  3. Alisha

    Grrr…so mad I couldn’t make this but ended up catching a ride directly back home from NYC after my show, which I couldn’t pass up…Ottawa! I’ll be around to visit soon!

  4. Kevin

    Kevin Sue, you are not an old geezer. And you certainly can dance faster than zombies.

  5. Great stuff Fats. Looking forward to reading more in the future!

  6. MK

    As one of those people who ask for slower music, I like it because I dance WCS and Blues. Slower music allows me space for interpretation. With fast music, I’m reduced to spinning, and spinning, and you guessed it, spinning.

    As for follows who have trouble keeping up with faster music, maybe it’s because your lead isn’t clear enough for them? When you dance slower we can cover but in fast music if you’re not clear we have no time to adjust.

  7. MK

    Oh, I should add, Tyler is awesome and truly loves the dancers. He’s open to requests and has been known to extend the music when there’s some great dancing happening.

  8. Kevin

    I appreciate your comments, MK, and understand the appeal of a good slow song but believe that people should try to be more versatile dancers and expand their tempo comfort zones. As I mentioned in the article Tyler Yarema played a very versatile set, and this included a number of slow songs.
    When dancers take more time to focus on technique it allows them to fit more interpretation into less space. I feel that dancers should be striving to make the most out of the dance and should not avoid the fast tempos when the dance becomes more unforgiving. Not every song needs to be blazing fast, but there is little room for excuses when people don’t try and start complaining about tempos that many dancers and bands enjoy. I express myself in different ways at different tempos and feel stifled at dances where the music choices seem one-sided.
    Regarding my leading: it needs major work, I am no Lindy Hop Superstar. However, there have been times when I have successfully danced fast songs without resorting to endless spinning. If you have some comments about my dancing personally, you can reach me at

Leave a Reply