Get Your Groove On

The Dancenorth Ensemble performing at Dance Tropics Dance 2017. IMAGE: Amber Haines.

Townsville’s largest outdoor dance party will return this May, with Dance Tropics Dance taking over Jezzine Barracks for its second year.

The event, hosted by Dancenorth in collaboration with the Band of the First Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR Band) will showcase choreographed dance performances to live music before inviting the public to join in.

Dancenorth Community and Outreach Manager Susan van den Ham said it was a great opportunity to give the organisations’ dancers a platform to showcase their work.

“The idea grew out of wanting to present something for Seniors Week that referenced old-time dance. Then it moved from that idea into ‘what does our community already have to offer, and what can Dancenorth offer to improve what’s already here?’” Susan said.

“We have open classes and have all these other things that we offer and have worked alongside the 1 RAR band for the past four or five years partnering for fundraisers; so we wanted to take it to that next step of showcasing the band as well as all our community groups in an outdoor venue. We flipped everything from this initial thought into something much larger.”

While the event will feature multiple performances by Dancenorth’s open classes, Kith and Kin, and Lindy Hop dancers, they public will also be encouraged to join in.

“The 1 RAR Band will perform three sets throughout the night. At the end of the first set, we’ll teach a flash mob dance to the audience, which then doesn’t actually break out until during the third set. The song will start with no warning, so it does have that flash mob element of surprise, and will get everyone up on the dance floor which is what you really want to achieve for the end of the night.”

Ian Zaro hosting Dance Tropics Dance 2017. IMAGE: Amber Haines.

Dance Tropics Dance will be hosted again by local personality Ian Zaro, who said the inaugural event opened his eyes to the creative opportunities in Townsville.

“The only real dance experience I had before last year’s Dance Tropics Dance was in the clubs, so hosting that and seeing what these people did was awesome, I didn’t know we had any of this here in Townsville,” Ian said.

“This year I’m going to a couple of the classes and meeting the dancers too so will be even more involved hopefully. It’s really opened my eyes, I’ve sort of been like, ‘Wow, people actually listen to the same sort of music I like!’ Knowing I can go to any of the classes as a beginner and learn any style of dance is awesome. This is the only exercise I get.”

“Except for when you’re in the clubs!” said Susan.

Susan said Dance Tropics Dance would also add to the growing number of events making arts and culture more accessible for the community.

“We’re seeing dance and music happening a lot more outdoors, with the public embracing outdoor activities and events with things like Pop-Up Food Trucks and [Townsville] Classic Films. It’s not even just dance, theatre and music – it’s everything! I find inspiration everywhere, not just my own art form.”

Dress up in your best 90s outfit for Dance Tropics Dance at Jezzine Barracks on 26 May. Tickets available via Townsville Tickets.

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