Here’s the deal. Ever since I moved to Toronto, I have been asking, “why is there never any actual blues dances in the city?”. Sure every now and then we would get a fat dance from local events like the Toronto University Exchange (which btw, is coming up again in January), or late night at Dovercourt, but there was never anything constant to look forward to. I know, I am kind of a spaz about dancing. In order to get my blues fix in, I had to cough up quite a bit of bread to visit cities like Waterloo, Chicago, New York, Vancouver, and Minnesota. While those trips were always fantastic and worth the effort, reality would often settle a week or so after returning home and the urge to get that fix in again would slow start to fill up. Eventually I would get antsy and it was off traveling again. Rinse. Repeat. $ minus minus. Eventually, what I took away from BluesShout! in Chicago was that starting a blues scene in your own city can be preferable to being a traveling blues gypsy (although, wouldn’t that be the life?).
People have told me that in the past, Toronto used to be a pretty kickin’ place for blues dances. The city has a good amount of actual bands that play the genre and you could often get buddies together to hit pubs such as Grossmans, Reservoir Lounge, and The Rex to hear some good tunes. However, listening to live music just makes it that much harder to escape the reality that there just isn’t a blues scene right now in Toronto.
Now as you can probably guess from the title of this blog post, there are current movements taking place to remedy this situation. One thing that I did not factor in is how much work it might actually be to (re)start a blues scene. Luckily, the past couple of months have led to collaborative efforts from the established dance organizations in Toronto and I think we are off to a good start.
Toronto is a weird when it comes to dance organizational politics so I won’t let the cat out of the bag just yet. What I can say is that there are events being planned and the overall goal of this collaborative movement is painfully simple and elegant:
1. Actually have regular blues dances.
2. Start teaching dancers how to dance blues.
Mind blowing I know. Stay tuned.