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Follow the echoes of laughter and there you will find us, new and old friends dancing away to music from around the world, children running around in an open relaxing cultural atmosphere where everyone is welcome.

That is the essence of the Flying Dance Festival (FDFest). We are a small one-of-a-kind festival that brings together dance communities from all over Southern Ontario in celebration of music, movement and each other.  (a fun and entertaining time outdoors). It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy dancing with family and friends, while also experiencing the healing power of dance. 

Video below: Flying Dance Festival (FDFest) 2023 @ Goldie Mill Ruins, Guelph, Ontario

Close your eyes
Feel the the warm summer breeze on your skin
Listen to the sounds of drums, trumpets and stringed instruments

Nicoloco

Your world is a better place because of the dance community near you

Vicki Baum

There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them

The Flying Dance Festival (FDFest) is a collection of summer dance events organized by volunteers from Guelph and the surrounding areas. What started out as a group of friends getting together to practice some Salsa dance moves in the outdoors, has now grown into a festival that brings joy and healing to many people from all walks of life.

We kick off every year (we have been dancing since 2004) with our ever-popular and growing Moonlight Dancing events, running through the summer on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in June, July, and August (12-13 weeks in total).

One Saturday every June, we host the official FD Festival in our new location, Goldie Mill Ruins, a heritage building in Guelph from the 1800s.

Join us every summer as we connect with nature, and with each other through dance. The many stories share with our old and new friends, and with our families, bring us together, creating a dance community that is very welcoming.

  1. Fun, entertaining time with your family and friends ~ in the outdoors.
  2. Dance heals, and brings joy to many in so many ways. What better way to serve as you bring a smile to someones’ day
  3. Dancing can be intimidating to many of us. Trust me, we have all been there. FDFest is a welcoming comforting place where everyone can try out dancing for the 1st time, and at a minimal cost
  4. Fostering connections within our communities. Connections with you / dance communities in and off campuses / neighbourhood groups / cultural organizations
  5. For dance instructors, choreographers and schools, this venue gives them an opportunity to share their passion, their art with a wider audience
  6. Comment from one of our community members, “We plant the love of life with everyone we dance with, everyone we connect with”

• Our local Dj’s keep us dancing all afternoon and evening
• Live Salsa Band in the evening

Salsa – Cuba
Bachata & Merengue – Dominican Republic
Cha Cha – Cuba
Kizomba – Angola
Rumba – US
West Coast Swing – US
Waltz – Austria
Argentine Tango – Argentina

  1. Acknowledge everyone you meet, new and old friends
  2. Seek out new friends on the sidelines and make an effort to include them, ask them if they have any questions, ask them for a dance
  3. Smile, make eye contact with everyone and engage those around you in conversation, laughter
  4. Always be respectful to everyone, no matter their background. Seek to learn to learn from each other
  5. Become active in your care. If you notice someone having a difficult time, looks vulnerable or witness an interaction that seems ‘off’, PLEASE CHECK IN! We are a family ~ so let’s look out for one another.
  6. Be present with your interactions with those around you. Create joyful moments that liven each of us every day as we go out into the outside world

We are committed to cultivating a dance community that aligns with the values of openness, inclusion, connection and fun.

The pressures of our society’s fast-paced lifestyle can leave us feeling stressed and without time to spend with others. We aim to offer a welcoming space for people to take a break from the daily grind, come together, and share in the delights of dancing.

Through dance people can relax and rejuvenate, while deepening their connection with ourselves and others. The FDFest and other community events offer the opportunity to develop new skills, build confidence, and feel inspired and invigorated. People can then leverage those positive benefits of dance and spread them into the rest of their daily lives and relationships. In this way, we truly believe that dance has the ability to make the world a better place! 

Guiding Principles of the Flying Dance Community

Being a Sustainable Festival

Welcome to our dance festival, a celebration of movement, rhythm, and connection set against the backdrop of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. FDFest & Moonlight Dancing provides a unique and inclusive space for dancers and enthusiasts of all backgrounds and abilities to come together, learn, and experience the transformative power of dance.

FDFest is committed to fostering an environment of sustainability, ensuring that we minimize our ecological footprint while supporting the local economy and promoting a sense of community.

We strive to

• Protect the environment by using renewable energy sources, providing recycling and composting facilities, and utilizing eco-friendly materials for food packaging and other supplies. Our festival encourages attendees to use public transportation, carpool, or bike to the event, helping to reduce carbon emissions. Hosting the festival within walking distance of the downtown core of Guelph helps us achieve this goal.

• Celebrate diversity and inclusivity by providing accessible facilities and offering a range of dance styles that cater to different preferences, abilities, and backgrounds. We partner with local nonprofits to promote social causes and ensure that our festival is open to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.

• Support the local economy by sourcing products and services from local vendors, employing local staff, and collaborating with local businesses and organizations. Our festival aims to create jobs and stimulate economic growth within the community.

What Can You Do?
The most significant impact of this festival on the planet is how you get here and what you bring with you.  Please aim to eliminate single use items from your packing list.
The most significant impact of this festival on the planet is how you get here and what you bring with you
Please carpool or ride a bike if you live in Guelph

 

Minding Your Manners On The Dance Floor


Avoid Teaching and Critiquing Your Partner

No one likes unsolicited advice. The same is true when it comes to dance technique. Unless you’ve been paid to tell someone how to dance, don’t provide instruction. Correcting, teaching and critiquing is for dance class- not on the dance floor in a social setting. A noisy, crowded dance floor is not an ideal teaching environment, so attempting to correct will likely just result in frustrating your partner and possibly offending them. Typically, people go social dancing to enjoy themselves and have a good time. If your partner is not dancing at the level you would prefer, remain polite, adapt to their level, finish the song, and thank them for the dance.

Don’t Expect to be Taught How to Dance by Your Partner
Like how it can be insulting to critique or teach your social dance partner, it is also not appropriate to attend social dance settings expecting others to teach you how to dance. That’s what lessons are for! Take some lessons if you need to learn how to dance. It is presumptuous (and quite frankly, somewhat self-centered) to expect a stranger to fulfill the role of your personal dance instructor.

Don’t Hit on Dance Partners by Asking Them to Teach You Their Moves
While it is rude to expect a dance partner to act like your own personal teacher, it is even worse to do so in the hopes of catching their attention, or picking them up. If you meet someone you are interested in, and who happens to be a better dancer than you, don’t ask them to show you how to dance with the intention of initiating contact. (You will have far more success impressing them with your charming personality, and striking up an interesting conversation!) They probably wouldn’t know how to teach you anyways, since leads and follows come from different approaches when partner dancing. So, this is a bad pick up strategy all around. Continuing to work on your skills in dance class with a designated dance instructor and then showing your person of interest what you know is far more attractive.

Avoid Squeezing Partner’s Hand
This applies to leads and follows. Squeezing too tightly can be an issue for both. Holding on too tightly to your partner is awkward and may interrupt the smooth flow of dancing. It can also result in strains and injuries, and can be restricting, and therefore, unpleasant. When follows squeeze their partner too tight, it can limit their lead’s ability to properly execute moves. Unless you need to strongly grasp your partner to maintain control of a potential safety issue on the dance floor (like avoiding a collision), you should be holding your partner in a firm, but gentle manner.

Don’t Be Rough
People attend social dancing events to enjoy connecting with others through the rhythm and grace of dance… not to be thrown around like they are in a wrestling match. You don’t need to be rough to communicate dancing cues and prompts to your partner. To avoid whipping partners around the dance floor, leads must adjust to the needs of their follow. Some follows will require firmer guidance according to body size, responsiveness of frame, or ability to follow. Often leads will be too forceful when compensating for poor timing or a missed move, but they can achieve the same results by applying concentrated pressure to redirect and correct. If you feel that you can’t lead without throwing your partner around, it is recommended that you seek lessons with a professional dance teacher to improve your leading skills. It’s all about finding that perfect balance of effort and ease!

Express to Your Partner if They are Hurting You
Typically, it is advised that you do not tell your partner what to do. An exception to this rule, is if what they are doing is harming you, or causing discomfort. In this situation, politely request that your partner discontinue what they are doing, then adjust accordingly. Most people will be respectful of this request, but there are some who could get offended. In the case of the latter, you have the right to excuse yourself from the remainder of the dance.

Groping is a BIG “No-no”
Don’t grope your partner. This one should be self-explanatory, but we will spell it out here. You should never use dancing as an excuse to feel up or grope anyone on the dance floor. Do not touch your partner’s private areas! Plain and simple. No one believes that any type of groping is an “accident”, so don’t be that creep who tries to get away with it by using that excuse. Being touchy-feely also makes people really uncomfortable. Engaging in this behaviour makes you seem untrustworthy, and other dancers who observe it will likely be deterred from dancing with you.

Try to Avoid Back-leading
Back-lead dancing is as annoying as backseat driving, but many followers are guilty of it! Back-leading occurs when the person who is following anticipates next moves before they are led, or resists steps they aren’t familiar with. Followers who back-lead are very challenging to dance with, because it interferes with the lead’s ability to seamlessly guide sequences, causes confusion for both partners and suggests a lack of trust in the lead’s capabilities. Remember that there are many variations of dance moves, and they will not always align with what’s taught in class. Leads will also know moves that follows do not. This is to be expected, and doesn’t mean they are wrong. Dancing should be approached as a process of discovery where you are constantly learning new things, and adapting to what is called for in the moment. Follows should wait for their lead’s prompts, and avoid guessing about what moves will come next- learn to give up control over the outcome, and enjoy the journey!

Leads can respond to back-leading in the following ways:
– Opt to just go with the flow (this may be more applicable to dances like west coast swing)
– Avoid the step that the follow is resisting, as resistance might indicate that they don’t know the move, or they have an injury they are accommodating
– Increase assertiveness of their lead, as back-leading can occur when follow does not feel led strongly enough
– Politely bring the issue to partner’s attention, as they may not even realize they are doing it

Adapt to Your Partner’s Skill Level
The best leaders are those who are able to gauge their follows level of skill, and adjust accordingly. If you think you are impressing your lower-level follow with all your fancy-advanced dance moves, think again. You are really just confusing them, and probably making them feel incompetent and uncomfortable. Remember that social dancing is for fun, and if your are dragging your follow though a sequence that they obviously can’t keep up with, it’s likely that neither of you will have a great time. So, don’t be a self-absorbed jerk, and watch for signs that you are leading beyond your follows skill set. You may be leading above your follows level if you notice the following:

– strained or tense facial expressions (particularly those of panic or confusion)
– frowning and making lots of mistakes
– difficulty with timing, tripping, and missed transitions

Have Fun and Smile
Be happy, smile, laugh a little… or a lot! This one is straightforward. Dancing is fun! Enjoy yourself, and don’t be afraid to show it. We challenge you to try and get through an evening of dance without smiling! If you are able to make it through a whole evening of social dancing with a frown on your face, your next dance lesson is on the house. Seriously- give it a try, see what happens!

Make Eye Contact
Try to make eye contact with your partner. You don’t have to challenge them to a staring contest, but do acknowledge them, and use eye contact as a way of connecting, and checking in. Eye contact is an excellent way to communicate with your dance partner non-verbally. It can make you a more effective dancer, and offer cues and prompts about what to do next.

Pay Attention
Dancing is an involved activity, that requires sustained attention to your partner and the environment in which you are dancing. Paying attention to your partner is respectful, it demonstrates that you are engaged and present, it helps you to avoid making unnecessary mistakes, and contributes to the flow of the dance. For all these reasons, it is much more pleasant dancing with someone who is paying attention.

Don’t Take Too Much Space
When out dancing, always be aware of how much space you take up. It is rude and potentially hazardous to travel excessively, or do really big moves resulting in crashing and bumping into other dancers. If the dance floor is crowded, try to make your moves as compact as possible, minimize travelling, and avoid styling that gets in the way. If you are a follow, don’t rely solely on your lead to ensure safety and control- this is your responsibility as well, and requires awareness of your body movements and what is going on around you. While accidents and collisions inevitably happen, it is best to do everything within your power to make sure things go smoothly.

Offer Apology if You Bump Into/ Step on People
Accidents happen, but don’t be rude about it. Try your best to apologize if you do bump into or step on someone, whether it’s your partner or other dancers on the floor. If you seem to be running into people a lot, consider adjusting your movements so they are more compact, or maybe you need to increase awareness of your surroundings and make a more concerted effort to manage the space your are taking up.

Save Your Crazy Moves for Performances
Social dance events can be crowded, and tend to attract a variety of skill levels. It is impractical (and potentially unsafe!) to do wild, advanced moves while social dancing. It is especially important that you do not try these types of moves with someone you’ve never danced with before. Drops, lifts, flips and other tricks are for performances and competitions, or the controlled environment of the studio where you practice.

Dip With Care
Be extremely cautious when dipping your partner, particularly if it’s a crowded dance floor. Don’t surprise your partner with a dip in the middle of a dance, as it could throw her off and make her loose balance. Try to come to a full stop before dipping, keep your partner close, hang on with both hands, avoid dipping too low, and look before you dip. If you can’t dip safely, just don’t dip. A good rule to go by when it comes to dips is: when in doubt, leave it out!

Don’t Dance Under the Influence
Other than the fact that drunk dance partners can be obnoxious and difficult to lead, dancing intoxicated is dangerous. Coordination becomes impaired, balance is unstable, and decision-making skills are hindered. It’s fine to have a drink or two, but do not dance if you are full-blown drunk. When drunk, follows can get dizzy and fall down, or if dancing in heals, might twist an ankle. In general, awareness is diminished, and judgement is off. Bottom line: don’t dance if you can’t do it safely, and be responsible when drinking and dancing.

Avoid Making Out on the Dance Floor
We aren’t saying don’t have a good time with another person, if that’s what you’re into. Things happen: you’re on a date or meet a nice guy/ gal. You hit it off. Things heat up. You can’t keep your hands off each other… The point here is, do what you like, just keep it off the dance floor! On the dance floor, you are an obstacle, and in the way of people who are actually trying to dance. This type of behaviour may be more acceptable in certain venues, such as a night club or bar, but is inadvisable at a venue with serious dancers, at a day event, or family friendly function. Use your better judgement, be mindful of others, and align your behavior with your surroundings.

Escort Your Follow On & Off the Dance Floor
Leads should courteously escort their follow onto the dance floor, and locate an appropriate spot to dance. After the dance is finished, escort your partner back to their seat, or wherever you retrieved them from. You can do this by holding their hand, and gently guiding them with your arm across their back if it’s crowded. Avoid dragging, or pulling them onto the dance floor, or walking far ahead of them.

Be Sure to Thank Your Partner
Politely thank your partner for the dance that you experienced with them. If you really feel that you connected with your partner, and sense that you both thoroughly enjoyed the dance you shared, offer a hug, or even kiss on the cheek. If you didn’t enjoy the dance, still be as pleasant as possible. You are not required to dance with that partner again, but don’t be impolite by rudely walking away at the end of the song without acknowledging them.

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While this article offers a comprehensive list about social dancing etiquette, it is not exhaustive by any means. We encourage you to consider your own social dancing experiences, and reflect on what you’ve learned about “minding manners” on the dance floor.

– Is there something that isn’t addressed in this article that you think should be on the list?
– Have you experienced any of the issues outlined on this list, and what was that like for you?
– Is there something on this list that you do, but didn’t realize you were doing? If so, how can you work on improving that aspect of your social dancing?
– How do you deal with dance partners who don’t adhere to proper dance etiquette?

Reference

Brodech, A. (2018, February 28). “Dance Etiquette: 20 Tips for Social Dancing”. Retrieved from https://hobbylark.com/performing-arts/Dance-Etiquette-Tips- for-Social-Dancing.

Please read our FAQ section.  Reach out to us if you have any questions in the form below, cheers!

Book GROUP Wedding Dance Lessons | In-studio

Coming Soon

NEW 2024 Location - St. Goerge Square, Downtown Guelph

Weekly Dance Schedule

Time
Details
7:00 pm to 7:10 pm
Event Opens: Music playing ~ Salsa / Bachata / Cha Cha and more…
7:10 pm to 8:00 pm
Join the drop-in beginner dance class (lesson schedule below)
8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
2 hours of Social dancing to 10:00 pm

Prices
$15.00 – Lesson + Social Dancing
$10.00 – Social Dancing from 8:00 pm

Beginner Dance Classes every week

No experience required

Weekly Summer Dance Schedule on Tuesday Evening

• June 4th  –  Cha Cha Dancing
• June 11th  – West Coast Swing Dancing
• June 18th  – Rumba Dancing
• June 25th  – The Waltz

• July 2nd – Cha Cha Dancing
• July 9th   – West Coast Swing Dancing
• July 16th   – Rumba Dancing
• July 23rd  – The Waltz
• July 30th  – Cha Cha Dancing

• August  6th  – West Coast Swing Dancing
• August 13th  – Rumba Dancing
• August 20th – The Waltz
• August 27th  – Cha Cha Dancing

Ballroom Dance Tuesdays

Latin Dance Thursdays

Weekly Summer Dance Schedule on Thursday Evening

• June 6th  – Casino Rueda Dancing
• June 13th  – Bachata Dance
• June 20th  – Salsa Dancing
• June 27th  – Line Dancing

• July 4th  – Casino Rueda Dancing
• July 11th  – Bachata Dance
• July 18th  – Salsa Dancing
• July  25th  –Line Dancing

• August 1st – Casino Rueda Dancing
• August 8th – Bachata Dance
• August 15th – Salsa Dancing
• August 22nd –Line Dancing
• August 29th – Casino Rueda Dancing

Dance Community Partnerships

Dance Bios – Learn more (coming soon)  

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all the instructors joining us as we celebrate 20 years of dance! 

1. Nemanja Vukelic | Salsa Dance
2. Mikaela Lewis | West Coast Swing Dance
3. Rebecca May | Bachata Dance
4. Eva Anna Rapala | Rumba & Waltz Dances
5. Tova & Tino | Casino Rueda Dance
6. Nico | Cha Cha & Line Dances

What to bring, & how to prepare for Moonlight Dancing 2024  

1. Big reusable bottle of water (though we will have water bottles for sale) 
2. Comfortable shoes with a flat bottom 
3. Loose-fitting clothing – please dress for the weather, rain or shine, we dance!
4. Please keep all valuable items on your person for security.  FDFest, FDComm, or any individuals working or volunteering for our events are not responsible for any lost items. Thank you.
5. Personal hygiene is important in partner dancing. Please come prepared, and breath mints help, smile.

Thank you to the volunteers, the instructors, the dancers, and Royal City Park visitors for all your support through the many, many years of outdoor dancing. See you soon, cheers!

– Moonlight Dancing Team
– Dancing in the park from 2004 to 2024, and beyond….
– Celebrating 20 years of dancing in the community

FDFest ’24 Goldie Mill Ruins

FDFest is a summer dance festival that brings people from all walks of life together for a fun and entertaining time outdoors. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy dancing with family and friends, while also experiencing the healing power of dance.

What to expect: Free & Paid Dance Workshops, Performances, Live Salsa Music with Son De La Guayra, and lots of Social Dancing

When: Saturday, June 22nd, 2024 | from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Buy your tickets below!
Early bird tickets are available

Afternoon Dance Activities | FDFest 2024

Schedule | FDFest 2024

2:00 pm – FDFest opens with pre-recorded Dj Music playing ~ open social

Dance Lessons (outside Goldie Mill dance space)
3:00 pm to 3:45 pm – West Coast Swing Dancing with Mikaela Lewis
3:45 pm to 4:30 pm – Salsa Lesson with Cornell Mannings
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm – Casino Rueda

Dance Lessons (inside Goldie Mill Ruins dance space)
3:00 pm to 3:45 pm – Liquid Lead with Jeff Fox
3:45 pm to 4:30 pm – Bachata Dancing with Rebecca May
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm – Flamenco Dance Lesson with Claudia

5:30 pm to 6:00 pm – Performances
* Bachata Performance ~ FDComm dance team | Confirmed
* CaluJules | KW
* ???

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
* Social Dancing to Live Music by Son De La Guayra (2 sets) | Confirmed

9:00 pm – FDFest 2023 @ Goldie Mill Ruins closes

9:00 pm to 1:00 am
* After Party to BachataKiz Music & Salsa Romantica
* Location: FDComm Studio, less than a 10-minute walk from Goldie Mill Ruins.

If any of your questions are unanswered, please send us a message and we will get back to you. Cheers!

Thank you for choosing to join us for FDFest 2024, at the Goldie Mill. We are 100% sure that we will have a tremendous amount of fun listening to some great live latin music, hanging out, and dancing together. 

FDFest 2024 offers free and paid dance workshops to everyone who loves Latin Music and dancing.  As many of you know, all our FDFest events for the last 10 plus year have been primarily supported by the many volunteers who attend the Flying Dance Community’s events, dance artist from the area, from Hamilton, London, Toronto, and sponsorships from local businesses.

Little by little, we have grown into a solid dance community that loves to share the healing arts of dance with everyone around us. We now are a bigger, stronger, dance family (that survived covid in thanks to it’s members).

To help manage our growing costs, we fundraise FDFest by hosting the Moonlight Dancing events through the summer at the Royal City Park.  We also accept support from our dance community via donation, or you sharing & bringing your friends to our events.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send us a message, and we all look forward to seeing you on Saturday, June 17th.

Nico & the FDFest/FDComm Team

Cheers!

  • A padded out-door dance floor
    – The portable dance floor will be set up in the Mill, under the open sky and next to the stage (ladies, you can use your heels).  
    Since we are outdoors, we suggest flat comfortable shoes for dancing, as well as walking around the park
  • 6 different dance workshops to begin or enhance your dance skills
    – Dances: Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Casino Rueda, and more
  • In one afternoon, you can explore the most popular partner dance styles taught by local instructors and live Salsa music.  
  • Tour / explore and enjoy our beautiful downtown Guelph
    Extensive walking, nature trails by the river and rail track.
    Take a break from dancing, and explore the downtown Guelph (less than 5 minutes walk). 

Goldie Mill Park at the northeast corner of Cardigan and Norwich streets and on the west bank of the Speed River in the city of Guelph. This three-storey limestone building, now a ruin, was constructed in 1866 (read more).

– One hour west from Toronto
– One hour East from London, Ontario
– 45 minutes north from Hamilton

Name: Goldie Mill  (other names): Wellington Mills / People’s Mills
Address: 70 Norwich Street
Cardigan Street 
Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1H 8E2
GPS Coordinates:  43°33’00.7 N    80°15’12.4 W

  • Water
    This year, we will be selling bottled water. We also recommend you bring your own water vessel (a large bottle if you can, it’s important to hydrate constantly when dancing)
  •  First Aid / Medical
    The team is available to assist with any first aid/medical situations that might arise. More details to follow……
  •  Coverage
    Downtown Guelph has very good cell phone coverage, though we do encourage you to try and unplug from your daily lives. Connect with nature, meet new and old friends, and enjoy the outdoors.  
  •  Info Booth / Lost & Found
    Volunteers from our community will be there to help you navigate the festival, provide you information about the workshops and instructors teaching them. You will also find the Lost & Found at the Info Booth

Please read our FAQ section.  Reach out to us if you have any questions in the form below, cheers!

Let's Dance! Supporting Mental Health

Want to make a difference in your community?

Through your kindness today, new and returning members of the FDComm dance community will have many more opportunities to kick off their shoes and dance their stress away. Dancing is a great way to stay in good health and create friendships that will last a lifetime.

Join us today and donate toward our local events and volunteer support. Thank you very much, from the bottom of our hearts. 

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EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE UNTIL FRIDAY, MAY 17TH, 2024
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