Q. Where are your events located?
A. All our events are at Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Road, Toronto. Google map. It’s conveniently located close to the Bloor subway line, parking, and places to eat. Dovercourt Road is west of Ossington and east of Dufferin. 805 Dovercourt Road is one block north of Bloor Street.
Q. Where can I park?
A. Parking till midnight on Dovercourt Road. All night parking can be found on Bloor Street and in the municipal parking lot one block west of Dovercourt Road just north of Bloor ($2 from 7pm to 6am).
Q. Do I need a partner?
A. No, there is no need to bring your own dance partner. The custom at social dances is to change partners for each song. In lessons dance partners rotate; this helps you to learn better by exposing you to many dance partners and gives you a chance to briefly meet other people.
Q. What is the average age of people at the dances?
A. We enjoy a varied group of attendees at our dance events. Though most of those who come are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, the age of our participants ranges from those in their late teens to retirement.
Q. Do we need to reserve tickets in advance?
A. There is no need to reserve or pay in advance for Saturday Night Swing nor any other Swing Toronto event, nor for any Mostly Waltz event in Toronto. Simply show up and pay at the door.
The only events for which advance registration is suggested are special event weekend workshops with internationally known teachers coming to teach in Toronto and teaching a full set of day-time workshops on Saturday and Sunday.
Q. What is the venue like?
A. Dovercourt House features big sprung wood dance floors, charming high-ceilinged dance halls, and is licensed. It is a privately run dance and cultural center.
Q. Is it licensed?
A. Yes indeed. Please buy all drinks from the bar. Free water is provided in jugs near the entrance door.
Q. What is the floor like?
A. The floors we dance on are excellent large sprung wood dance floors.
Q. Is any food available at the events?
A. Normally we do not serve food at dances and classes, but you are welcome to bring your own snacks and eats.
Q. Where can I eat nearby?
A. Nearby Eats: Mazz Sushi on Bloor Street (south side) seven doors west of Dovercourt Road; Caribbean food on Dovercourt Road half a block north of Bloor; several places visible from corner of Bloor & Dovercourt Road (pizza, middle eastern, souvlaki, Ethiopian); Portuguese good fast eats and Gelato on Bloor one block east of Dovercourt (Bloor & Delaware); 24 hour Portuguese bakery & grilled sandwich & coffee place on Bloor (north side) west of Dovercourt Road just past the former Paradise Cinema.
Q. Can we come just to hear the band?
A. Yes, of course. You don’t need to dance unless you want to. You can hang out with a friend, have drinks, whatever you like.
Q. What can I expect at Saturday Night Swing?
A. Saturday Night Swing features an outstanding line up of live swing bands, DJs, teachers and classes! The evening begins with dance classes open to everyone including absolute beginners, 7pm to 9pm, Charleston beginner class 7pm to 7:55pm, Lindy Hop beginner class 8pm to 8:55pm. A Swing Dance Party follows (9:10pm to past 1am). Everyone is welcome. Usually there is a team of Toronto Lindy Hop Dance Ambassadors there specifically to dance with beginners and new people during the second class and the first hour of the Dance Party. See the Swing Schedule for details.
Q. What can I expect at the Friday Night Waltz Dance and beginner classes?
A. One Friday Night a month is the monthly Waltz Dance Party and beginner classes. Beginner lessons start at 7pm followed by a Dance Party from 9pm to 11:45pm. Waltz is we believe one of the best, most fun and most romantic partner dances ever. We also present Waltz workshops on Saturday afternoons. See the Waltz Schedule for details and upcoming events.
Q. What should I wear?
A. Wear comfortable clothes that you can dance in. Casual to dressy attire is all fine. If the dance is described as a Ball most people will be dressed up.
Q. What kind of shoes should I wear?
A. Anything comfortable, whether dressy or casual, ideally with some glide under the sole under the balls of your feet. Wear shoes that are smooth enough under the front part of your foot to allow swiveling on a wooden floor – this can be a leather sole, or it could be a smooth or somewhat slidey rubber or plastic sole, or can even be tape put on the soles of otherwise very grippy shoes. Rubber heels are fine – the heel can be more grippy than the rest of the sole.
Q. Is there a code of behaviour or etiquette?
A. Yes. See Dance Etiquette for details. In particular we ask that you be mindful of good floorcraft when dancing, and that you do not wear perfume or cologne (as it bothers some people and tends to make a small minority of people unwell).
Q. What is Lindy Hop?
A. Lindy Hop is the main dance of the Swing Era, and is the most popular swing dance in Toronto and around the world today. It is a fun, joyful, playful dance with a rich history. See our Swing Dance page for more information.
Q. Can we do aerials?
A. Fun and athletic and one of the great things in Lindy Hop, air steps (or aerials) are advanced and considered too dangerous to be danced on a social dance floor. They are done in performance and in jams by people who know what they are doing (or ought to). In an air step one of the partners, usually the follower, is in the air and is usually in motion from the time she is airborne until she lands. Aerials or air steps were introduced into Lindy Hop circa 1935 by Lindy Hop great Frankie Manning and his dance partner. They started the Lindy Hop air steps craze with the air step “over the back” which they did in a big Lindy Hop competition at Harlem’s world renowned Savoy Ballroom. If you want to do air steps you need to be athletic – find someone who wants to do them with you and take lessons from Lindy Hop teachers who have a lot of expertise in the air steps they teach.
From time to time Swing Toronto presents workshops in air step (aerials) and tricks. We love this stuff. Once you have learned how to Lindy Hop (at least to do the basics), then, as long as you are athletic, you are very welcome to take our air steps workshops.
Q. Does Swing Toronto provide dance performances, lessons and dance animators for special events?
A. Yes we do this all the time and have been doing so for many years. Ask us about your special event, we are happy to help. See Performances & Classes for an outline of what we offer.
Q. Do you teach private lessons? Do you provide teaching for wedding dances?
A. We do and are happy to. See Performances & Classes for an outline of what we offer.
Q. Where can I do Blues dancing in Toronto?
A. There is always some music suitable for blues dancing at Saturday Night Swing. There is also 3rd Friday Blues.
Q. What is Peabody?
A. Peabody is a fun hugely popular Swing Era and 1920s partner dance suited for tempos from medium speed to blazing fast. It travels and can be mixed with Lindy Hop and Charleston.
Q. When did the Lindy Hop Revival reach Toronto?
A. In October 1995 it was brought here by Simon & Margaret who organized Canada’s first Lindy Hop Workshop and Dance Weekends, with some help from their dance friends, from October 1995 to summer 1996, in Toronto, taught by the world’s best Lindy Hop teachers of that time, including the first Lindy Hop Weekends in Canada taught by Steven Mitchell, Frankie Manning, and members of Sweden’s Rhythm Hot Shots. Simon and Margaret also organized Canada’s first Lindy Hop performance group (the first one of the Revival that is) starting in October 1995, the first performance of which was on Breakfast Television in January 1996, as well as social dances. There has been a continuous Lindy Hop scene in Toronto since October 1995. It is one of the best, most welcoming, most collegial and most community spirited Lindy Hop scenes in the world.