The Decision That Almost Killed the Scene

Drop In Class Yonge Bloor Blues

Kevin and Alcina teach the drop-in class for the blues dance.

So I’m sitting here at Starbucks underneath the Yonge & Bloor Studio after Toronto’s monthly blues dance last night. I’m replying to emails and Facebook messages about classes and future dances with a giant stupid grin on my face. Why you might ask? Well we just had a fantastic dance last night that was well attended by a fair amount of aspiring blues dancers and new dancers (as opposed to 100% new dancers) and I think I can say that Toronto’s blues dance scene is here to stay. Huzzah \o/.

Time to quit!

Joking… maybe.

Honestly though, it might have played out differently if we had tried to continue to push through the idea that we should try to appeal the blues dance to everybody and specifically the swing dance scene. I’m pretty convinced that this would have single handedly killed the blues dance scene before it even had the chance to take off the ground. The fact is these days, the majority of the dancers going to the dance and taking dance classes are from other dance scenes or complete beginners. Obviously, in an ideal world the dancers from swing would come to blues because, well, they already are fantastic leads and follows. However, instead of us waiting around for blues to be accepted by our friends in the swing scene, we’ll build a great scene that will be waiting for them if and then they decide to come (with open arms).


  1. I would definitely hit up both scenes if I lived up there. Nice job building up your blues scene, Randy.

  2. Joe

    It’s pretty awesome that dance is still building momentum, especially considering the season. I’m curious, though, how trying to appeal to the swing dance scene would’ve made the blues dance any different…

  3. Interesting point Joe. Let’s discuss this next time we meet at a dance or something. I’d love to pick your brains and get feedback.

  4. Vicky

    There are a large number of us in the swing scene who are also blues dancers, infact there are some of us that consider ourselves balboa and blues dancers before lindy hop. So it is great to see what you have done with the blues scene Randy. Unfortunatly my “real life” gets in the way of my dancing so I am not able to come out as often as I would like (either to blues dances OR Lindy hop), but so you know I do publicise the blues dances and tell as many people in the swing scene as I can!

    I think it was a good call not to try and solely appeal to the “swing” scene. It surely has had alot of issues recently and always the background of never ending politics. I think you deserve extra credit for developing the successful blues scene you have done in that environment! (I’ll be honest the recent politics has had an impact on my eagerness to social dance, and I am sure I am not the only one!)

    keep up the good work, and I promise after my crazy summer has finished I will be out on the dancefloor more often!

  5. Charlie Foster

    My number one dance has always been lindy hop but I think that appealing to people from a number of dance scenes and the general public to build and promote a blues scene was and is the right call. Why limit your efforts? The fact that when I go blues dancing I meet new people and dancers that I may or may not have had the opportunity to meet at a swing dance is part of the attraction. It helps my leading skills in general when dancing with Salsa dancers for example, and having a scene with a lot of “Cross over” dancers from different backgrounds is fun and eclectic.

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