Quick Poll 2: Action

Wow. The first poll definitely caught me by surprise in terms of how much everyone really cares about their respective scene. While I might not agree with some of the view points shared, the best thing about having a site like Hamfats is that people can share and convey ideas freely and without being moderated. After all, we’re all in this together and have the same goals in mind when thinking about improving our scene – more dancing and more dancers.

So my second poll this week is:

What is one thing YOU could do right now that can have a positive impact on the scene.


  1. Martin

    Improve the visibility of venues with some combo of sandwich boards and/or dance ambassadors dancing on the sidewalk just outside of said venues directing people inside.

    For UT-swing specifically: The introduction of a progressive lesson series, possibly just before the weekly non-progressive intro lesson.

  2. Thanks for posing this question, Randy.
    Could you boldify the word “you” in your question?

    @Martin: great comment… but what can YOU do about that? ;)

    I could help start up an “Upbeat” dance night. I’ve heard from Brian and Phil that they both would like to start something like that up.

    I’d love to help start a dance night of DJ’d faster music. No lesson beforehand, just dancing. Absolutely welcome for all to attend, but not catering to beginners per se. I love beginners, I love dancing with beginners, but I think experienced folk need something too, and it would be great to have a night of faster, hard swinging lindy where jam circles are plentiful. I’d hope that would inspire dancers to push themselves a bit more.

  3. Heather

    @Martin re. UT-Swing: this is something we discuss pretty much every year, and so far the consensus has been “There are so many great progressive lessons offered by professional dance schools, why would we want to compete with that?” So I think that a better challenge for UT-Swing would be to inspire the beginners to go out and take these lessons. I will poke the new president to keep up with this post.

    For me specifically: dance as much as I can and drag new dancers out in these next few weeks before I leave Toronto. And then try to apply many of the things that Toronto does well to Edmonton’s scene.

  4. Martin

    Looks like I’ll be practicing my sandwich-board-wearin’-charleston-twisty-legs… :)

  5. Convince others to travel to out of town events. :)

  6. Alex

    Do you think that making a site or tool that makes it easier to find rides/housing(share hotel rooms) at out of town events would make a difference to the number of dancers that go?

  7. Kevin

    I could share my thoughts more freely with dance organizers when I feel that something could be improved and I could connect with DJs not named Randy to talk shop, swap songs, etc.

  8. @Jasper: Come to Ottawa ;) You could also just teach your beginners to dance faster. The step-step rock-step basic can be done very fast, even by beginners, and if they don’t know any better you’d be surprised what some of them can do.

  9. Alisha

    @Bill – LOL – I love it!!!!!
    What I could do right now is get off the couch and change to go blues dance at Pub Brouhaha even though I have a tap lesson early in the morning :)

  10. @Bill hehe. Well, I think changing the beginner lesson curriculum city-wide would be much more difficult than just starting an “upbeat” night. I’ll keep that in mind though. ;)

  11. Laura

    I could be spending more time dancing at the university clubs in Ottawa. There are some really promising dancers there, and I don’t know any of them because I haven’t been making the effort to connect with them where they live.

  12. Terra

    Continue connecting with people who are excited about the scene in Toronto and encourage them.
    Dance with new people, encourage them and help them connect with others in the scene.
    Continue to build relationships with a wide variety of people in the scene.

    That’s more than one! :)

    ps. if you haven’t been to alley catz in a while, the band is better than you remember and its still a chilled out place to dance. :)

  13. Steve

    Well, one thing I’d like to see more of is people getting involved on the organizational side of things, whether it’s supporting what your scene already has (be it a dance, class, social event, whatever) or starting something new. As Jasper noted in his comment, it comes down to finding what YOU can do and then actually doing it.

    This is something we’ve been trying to do with TLH – offer up a support network to help anyone with whatever ideas they have. I’m don’t think we’ve done a great job communicating that yet but we are working on it.

    So yeah, if there’s one thing I could do to make a positive impact on the scene it would be reaching out to people that want to make a difference and help them make that happen.

  14. Steve

    @Jasper I’m interested in your fast dance night idea. I’ve been hearing from several people lately that they want something faster and more focused on higher level dancers. I get that but I’m curious why that requires a separate night though. I would think working with an existing night to mix things up and offer something for everyone might be a better approach?

  15. Brian

    @Jasper we should talk more about this sometime when I’m in Toronto. While I’m interested in an upbeat dance night and something that’s not per se beginner-focused, I would be wary of doing something that’s explicitly advanced-dancer-focused and would rather try to hit the sweet spot of having something for everybody. Beginner-friendly without being beginner-focused.

    We’ll have to talk and think a lot more about just how to achieve that, but one thing I’ve been told in Ottawa, which I think is true, is that jam circles are actually good for beginners. They like watching the show and it inspires them to learn more. It’s the intermediates who hate them because they’ve been around long enough not to be impressed, but don’t feel good enough to join. But then our job is to make the intermediates feel comfortable joining.

    @Steve I agree that working with an existing night is better, and I would want to look into all options. Some motivations for a separate night might be (a) if we wanted a lower-cost DJ’d dance (as I understand the space at the Imperial is more suited to blues than lindy – I’ve never been there so I don’t know. Dovercourt with bands will necessarily be higher-cost. UT-Swing will necessarily be beginner-focused). Or (b) if we wanted to change something fundamental about how others work, like Bill’s suggestion of teaching the ECS basic.

    Working with existing nights though, I think Dovercourt could provide “something for everyone” and even at UT-Swing, there’s nothing stopping them from playing faster music after the 1st hour. In fact I used to try to do this when I DJ’d there, only my definition of “faster music” was a lot different then than it is now!

  16. Kevin

    @Steve and Brian
    I think that having a separate night may be better than trying to work an upbeat-night into an existing venue. When a venue caters to a crowd that is too wide in taste the options are to either switch back and forth between pleasing one and the other or to pick a middle ground that might not be particularly satisfying for anybody. People can get sick of having their preferences playing second fiddle. When I want an upbeat dance night, I don’t want the DJ to throw in a couple of fast songs here and there when they aren’t worried about losing the main crowd, I want to be the main crowd, I want the DJ to focus on playing a set of upbeat old-school tunes.
    I think the purpose of the night is to give people who are tired of being thrown a bone here and there their own place to dance the way they like. There is a lot of appeal in having people with the same preferences get together and make an event where they are the target audience.

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