Alison Bates is a proud member of the Brockton community and co-chair of the Shirley Street Parent Council. You may have seen her wandering around the neighbourhood with her two kids chasing down ice cream trucks in the summer. Last year, she and Sarah Couture McPhail started “Slow Dance: No Excuses” at the Dundas West Fest. You’ll find them both once again at the at this year’s event.
■ – How did “Slow Dance: No Excuses” come about?
Alison Bates – We all have the need to burn off some energy, let loose, and just have some FUN once in a while! How often have you thought to yourself “I need to go out dancing”? Last year’s Slow Dance: No Excuses was sparked from this idea. Because really excuses might pile up, but sometimes we just have go out dancing!
■ – Slow Dance premiered at last year’s Dundas West Fest. What was that like?
AB – It was great! We trimmed the grassy area in at the back of St Clarens parkette with lanterns and flags. And like back in high school, it may have started off with a touch of nervousness but once snowball was called, it was an all-out party. Although the dance party is called “Slow Dance” there were many fast, up beat songs to dance to as well! Adults, teens, kids, toddlers… everyone was dancing. And suddenly our nerves disappeared. Everyone danced and laughed the evening away. It was a great end to a wonderful day at Dundas West Fest.
■ – How do neighbours take place in this year’s Slow Dance?
AB – This year we’ve decided to make the dance a masquerade. On Saturday June 6th from 7:30pm to 10:30pm, the St Clarens parkette will transform into a community ball room of our dreams filled with feathers, glitter, super heroes, and animal costumes, anything you like! We’ll also have a tickle trunk of costumes mostly all donated by Brockton’s own dancing crossing guard, the lovable Kathleen, to make things even more fun! The Goodtimes have signed on to D.J. the party. And, if everything falls into place, we may all be delighted by a surprise or two.
In preparation for the dance, we are having a mask making workshop on May 23 during the Brockton yard sale. We’ll be sharing some materials and costume ideas, and get excited for the big event, (if you missed it, visit the event page to see what we made and get inspired!). https://www.facebook.com/events/759258304187266/
■ – Are there any rules on who you should dance with? Who danced with whom, last year?
AB – There are no steadfast rules to the dance, other than to be respectful and kind to one another. Kids danced with parents and friends. Friends danced with friends. Actually, the dance acted as a kind of ‘date night’ for a few people too! That was great to see.
■ – What makes you want to run this yearly event?
AB – Toronto may have nearly 3 million people living within it, but it can still feel like a small town especially here in Brockton. Thankfully, we are a city of amazing neighbourhoods. The hope with this dance is to demonstrate other ways neighbours can use their local outdoor green spaces. Last year’s dance was a great success in bringing together neighbours new and old to Brockton. Perhaps in the future we can organize another community dinner, a theatrical performance, an active game day, or have even more dances in the park too! There are so many options!
■ – Slow Dance is also part of the 100in1Day Festival. Can you tell me a little about this?
AB – This is 100in1Day’s second year in Toronto. It takes place all across the city and is fueled by civic engagement – people who want to make their city a better place by having small initiatives that spark change. Check out their website for a list of the interventions or to get info if you want to host one yourself! https://toronto.100in1day.ca/
■ – Slow Dance sounds like a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get my dancing on…
AB – Come by to say hi, and have a dance or two! It’s going to be a great night!