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Swinging the night away at Dancing on the Pier

By Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer
  • Photo by Megan Kimmerer

Squeezing through a sea of people in a busy crowd can be an uncomfortable task. You get bumped and brushed and when you finally reach your destination, you let out a sigh of relief.

Making your way through a crowd of lindy hop dancers is another story altogether.

Dancing on the Pier, which takes place every Thursday night from June 26 to September 4 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, is a high-energy evening full of live music and huge gatherings of dancers and non-dancers alike.

All ages were represented on opening night, from three-year-olds to eighty-three-year-olds and everyone in between, each enjoying a night out with family and friends.

Though the series is now in its fourth year, the Harbourfront Centre’s assistant artistic associate, Bridget Love, says this year’s Dancing on the Pier is packed full of new and exciting developments.

“Each night has a musical theme that highlights different styles of the bands’ repertoire. From jump, jive an’ wail to Afro-Colombian jazz, there is a night for everyone,” says Love.

The opening event on June 26, called “Crooners & Songbirds of Yesterday and Today,” featured music from the Toronto All-Star Big Band.

“Another new initiative is our partnership with Toronto’s dance community,” says Love. “We are excited to be collaborating with several social dance clubs from across the GTA.”

The Toronto Swing Dance Society was in attendance on opening night. Halfway through the evening, the society performed an energy-packed demonstration, swing dancing to newer songs like Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Jeremy Fisher’s UH-OH (featuring fellow Canadian singer Serena Ryder).

Society members pulled guests from the crowd to take part in the demonstration. Onlookers clapped, sang and seemed unable to remove the smiles from their faces.

By the end of the night, hundreds of guests had danced the lindy hop, single-time swing, triple-time swing, West Coast swing and Bachata (with the help of a DJ who spun music from the Dominican Republic while the Big Band took a break).

Fans of swing dancing can look forward to “Swingin’ Through the Ages” on July 31 or “Shall We Swing?” on August 28. The rest of the summer’s Dancing on the Pier events, including evenings dedicated to Cuban Roots, Latino jazz and Afro-Colombian jazz, are sure to bring just as much excitement – and just as many people – to Harbourfront.

“I hope that the 2014 season moves forward with the success of opening night and that the regular dancers continue to attend,” says Love. “I have no doubt that we are in for a wonderful summer.”

Learn more >> harbourfrontcentre.com

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