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