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Why tribute dance parties are big in Toronto right now

Posted by Amy Grief / March 26, 2016

tribute dance party torontoJustin Bieber went from being loathed to loved in Toronto, so much so that Studio Bar on Dundas West recently spent three nights in a row hosting dance parties dedicated to the Stratford-born star. But it's not only Bieber fever that's spreading through Toronto, tribute dance parties are also catching on.

"I think that these parties are kind of refreshing," says Studio Bar owner Alex Ottens.

Studio Bar, with Ottawa-based promoters C & J Presents, held Toronto's first Bey Bey All Night party on September 11, 2015. That brought the BeyHive out to the venue, and now Studio Bar hosts pop-music themed dance parties on the regular.

That said, Ottens admits that he and C & J didn't invent them. In fact, Toronto's Queen of Esther Madonna Video Dance Party, along with DJ/VJ doctor BAGGIE's Prince, Jackson family and Lady Gaga-themed parties, have been happening in the city for years.

But why are these parties picking up more steam now? Perhaps it's part of our quest for nostalgia - we're all trying to harken back to childhood. That's why items like adult colouring books and weekends away at adult sleepover camps are so prevalent right now. And what can transport you back to your pre-teen days faster than dancing around to your favourite pop star?

The Gladstone Hotel regularly holds these parties too. Unsurprisingly, its recent Spice Girls Vs. Everybody night was packed and nearly sold out. Revellers dressed up like Posh, Sporty, Scary, Ginger and Baby lined up in the lobby and spilled out onto Queen Street as they waited for the 1990s-style social to start.

According to Justin Maguire, the Gladstone's director of partnerships and product development, he started the hotel's vs. Everybody series on December 4 with a Justin Bieber event (naturally).

He tells me that he was inspired by the Peace Collective. "Toronto has such a unique identity, and that Us vs.Them mentality (without the aggro) was something we wanted to carry into these parties," he says via email.

That mentality will go full throttle this weekend at a series of Taylor Swift-themed events at Adelaide Hall, including one called Bad Blood, a Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West dance party.

Whether Torontonians are looking to dance their adult-related troubles away, or are just looking to have a fun night out, these dance parties don't seem to be going anywhere. In fact, if you miss this weekend's Swiftian fest, you can catch another one at Studio Bar on April 22. Get your squad ready now.

Photo via Beyonce's Facebook page.

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