Social dancing at the Reservoir Lounge is like playing russian roulette with your dance outing (not to be confused with the real russian roulette which I have an inkling is played at the bar next door, “Vodka”). Sometimes you end the night having fun dances and great times with your local Toronto swing scene friends, and other times, you are sitting on the subway with your brains all over your lap in disappointment and swearing off the venue forever. Well why fight the good fight and try to change a local dance venue favorite here in Toronto? Here are a few quick tips for when you do find yourself on a Wednesday night with nothing to do and want to make the best out of your outing at the infamous Reservoir Lounge (“Rez”).
Tip 1: The music will always be the same. Get over it.
No, you are not in some sort of crazy Bill Murray movie where the same day repeats itself. You are however, at the Reservoir Lounge, where the music set NEVER CHANGES. I repeat, the music set will never change. Never ever. It’s something you just have to accept and move on to enjoy the rest of your night.
The first couple of times you head to the Rez, you’ll probably notice that the songs are actually quite decent and the sets very tight. Then something odd will happen. You will start memorize which songs go after each other and then realize that the exact same set had played the week before.
The jazz fanatic and swing dj in me dies a little bit inside whenever I go out dancing at the Rez. It took me a while to get over it but I think you can too. As long as you accept the fact that the same set will play week after week regardless if you are there or not and be able to stomach the song, “Flip, Flop, Fly”, on repeat for the rest of your dance life, you will have the recipe for success.
Dancing to the same songs is always better than not dancing, right?
Tip 2: Get used to aborting moves and standing still during dances.
Waiters and waitresses walking around with trays full of expensive glasses of wine, rich financial district workers rolling out twenties on the middle of the dance floor, and inexperience dancers flailing in full flight, these are just some of the obstacles in your way if you choose to accept the mission of dancing at the Rez. It may seem tough, but with just a little bit of skill and some good old fashion luck from Saint Frankie Manning, you should be able to do it.
Learn to dance small when the even smaller dance floor gets packed. Or learn to dance in between the lanes of circular tables. You basically have two square feet of space maximum to dance with your partner. I’m not kidding.
If you are a lead, learn to use chest-to-chest connection for majority of your dances (win!) and work on your fast-twitch reflexes to be able to abort tuck turns during any count. If you are a follow, try to insist to your lead that you do not need to do Savoy style swing outs to every song.
Tip 3: Learn to distinguish quickly between actual dancers and PUAs wearing fedora hats (or Cougars in flapper dresses).
While there is nothing wrong with PUAs, the Rez is a very dimly lit venue for dancing and the “public” are sometimes indistinguishable from the Toronto lindy community. If you are new to Toronto or its your first time dancing at the Rez, make a dancer friend quickly and ask for referrals as to whom to ask to dance with next.
This is what I like to do whenever I am in a new city for dancing:
1) Immediately ask someone to dance as soon as you get into the dance venue (after putting on your suede soles and hat of course har).
2) If the dance was not terrible, ask your partner who you should dance with next.
3) Ask the next person and indicate that you were referred. That usually makes that person immediately more friendly as they are getting a compliment as being a desirable dance partner.
4) Repeat step 2 and 3 until tired or what a break.
Also, do not leave your drink unattended. Haha joking, it’s not that bad…
Tip 4: Don’t open a bar tab.
This is especially true if your first name rhymes with “candy”, which oddly enough, a lot of the Rez’s martini tastes like. Mmm..
Got any tips for dancing at our beloved and infamous Reservoir Lounge? Leave a comment! :)
(P.S. If you are any way affiliated with the Reservoir Lounge, what about the idea of having free cover for dancers? I bet you’d get a lot more people out (and buying drinks) in the long run which would far outweigh the $100 or so dollars you make from cover charge. Just sayin’).