Dance Troupes – What I’ve Learned Teaching Them

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First thing – ahhh Montréal Bagel and Blues is over. Wow what an event! If you missed it this year… well I can’t really describe how awesome it was in words but I know this year’s iteration will be very hard to top. Well done, Javiera, well done *golf clap*! My liver is hurtin’ right now but all in all, it’s worth it.

Now to what this blog post is about – dance troupes. Even though you wouldn’t know it from the blues community, this city really is the city of dance troupes. It’s overwhelming thinking about the number of dance troupes there are in the city (or if you were like me before you moved to Montréal, extremely jealous), but it ‘s why the scene is so strong and consistently growing year after year. What makes it work well is that each of these troupes has their own personality, each one has that little spark that makes them special. There are troupes for all types of interest levels – from competitive to performance-based and all the way down to a “for funsies” group. So you can join a super gung-ho performance based group and join a more casual one to fill your quotas for both technique and silly fun-times.

I dunno how I really got myself in this but I’ve tossed my hat in the craziness of being a troupe organizer (along with the talented Myriam Baril of course). I’ve always been in a troupe myself as soon as I moved to Montréal but this is the first time I’ve really tried to do my own thing here. When I started, I honestly didn’t realize just how much of a commitment it would take just to get things off the ground. Finding members, keeping members, interpersonal balancing, finances (or lack thereof), booking studio space, answering  inquiries, resolving quarrels within potential dance members, were just a few of the issues that I found that I had to deal with at the start. And this is all before even doing any of the actual dance part. With the steep learning curve in getting things on the right foot, I think I’ve learned a few things that might be beneficial for anyone wanting to start one themselves in the city. Obviously your mileage may vary but here are some things I’ve found quite useful to write about… Read More…

Join the Partnered Blues Troupe in 2014!

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Directed by Instructors/Choreographers: Randy Panté and Myriam Baril.

The Swing ConneXion Blues Troupe is an audition-based, partnered-blues dance group representing Montréal, Quebec. Our mission is to take Montréal’s blues dance scene to the next level through dance performances, training, and continual exploration of the beauty and humanity of african-american vernacular dances.

Our program includes:

* Weekly rehearsals at the Swing ConneXion studios.
* Continual fundamental blues dance technique exploration.
* Performance opportunities at the end of each project/choreography.
* Individual feedback and evaluations by the instructors.
* Fairly regular drinking outings (c’est blues!)…

If you are interested in auditioning for 2014, simply fill out the form below. If you have any questions, email or facebook message Randy (randypante@gmail) .


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Photos of Swing Connexion Blues Troupe 2013

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Here are my first shots with my delicious Einstein 640 monobloc lights. I took some photos of our team (Swing Connexion Blues Troupe) just before our performance at Snowbound Blues. Mmmm… monobloc lights. Even though I had ordered two lights, I only unpackaged one because those light stands are a bit heavy to carry around by myself… in a snowstorm. So I used a pretty simple one light setup with a 30 degree grid attached to it. The quality of light is so much different from my usual little speedlight that I use and while it took me a couple of minutes to figure out the menu system of the Einstein, I was pretty much up and shooting instantly out of the gate. Check some of them out below. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities once I learn more how to use them.


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Summer Blues Troupe 1st Performance

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Woot, last night’s performance at Cats Corner. First performance expectations are always hard to live up to but I’m super proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish in just two months. My troupe was also pretty cute in that they made me a nice card with some emo comments. Too bad I’m the tin man equivalent of a dance choreographer…

Jokesieesss I heart my team.

Check us out at our next performance at Petite Medley on Monday August 9th.

Summer 2013 Solo Gospel Routine

Solo Gospel Team

Solo Gospel TeamSolo troupe going crazy

This is the solo gospel routine (which ironically is a solo routine in team form…) we performed at Swing L’ete here in Montréal yesterday. When I say my team members “performed”, I really mean my team members “went buckwild like [a] prodigy child[s]” (shout-outs to D Cru). Really, they did. Watch their faces, they are going nuts the entire time and had the whole “I’m going to bunch a baby in the face” crazy eyes thing going on.

I’ve Got a Testimony Performance – FULL from Hamfats.ca on Vimeo.

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Cats Corner Blues Troupe Performance – Winter 2013

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The second iteration of having a blues troupe in Montréal concluded with a performance in Montreal’s own event – Bagels and Blues. I really felt like the team gelled well together this time around but we certainly had some challenges that we had to deal with – troupe members missing practices, complications with the formations and technique, and even having one person drop out of the team two weeks before the event. I had to fill in that missing slot and admittedly I was probably the worst one there heh.

In any case I still had a great time teaching the group and I think the end product was pretty enjoyable to perform.

– Randy

Performance at Montreal Bagel and Blues:

Same on the night before at Cats Corner:

Bagels, Troupe, And Misc Thoughts

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If y’all are coming up to Montréal for the blues dance event in under two weeks time, you should probably know that the two best places to get bagels in the city are St. Viateur Bagels and Fairmount Bagels. I don’t really have a preference yet, as both of them are stupendously dee-lish, but the key things to know about the two places are:

  • They are both open 24/7! Perfect for late night snacky snacks or in-between dance munchies to soak up the adult beverages.
  • If you don’t know which flavour to get, you can never go wrong with sesame.
  • St. Viateur is on 1127 Mont. Royal East or 263 St. Viateur West.
  • Fairmount Bagels is on 74 Fairmount West.
  • They are two are super close to each, just in case you wanted to do your own taste test.

The blues troupe that Gen and I have been working on this year are performing on Saturday night. Cheer them on as we are very proud of their progress! Not everything wen’t smoothly however as we actually had a lead drop-out two weeks before the performance. So… I will be doing a cameo appearance ala Quentin Tarantino. It’s a pretty neat routine set in a restaurant (you’ll see…). Check out a sample shot of the “rich people” Robyn and Alex L. up above. One day… a Firefly blues performance. Mark my words.

I’m teaching at MezzJelly! Wahoo, I’m internet famous now!

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Seriously though, take my class. Papa needs a brand new set of studio lights…

A month or so ago, Caroline Rossi set up a quick routine for us to perform at a charity function. Check it out… just in case you can’t tell who I am, I’m the short asian guy on the far left… :

Randy