Dance Classes 2020

The Hep Cat Hoppers instructors are providing virtual dance lessons and downloadable content.

Learn the dance craze of the 1940's, when jazz combos and big bands played that swinging music all night long.

May 1, 2020
We have rebranded all of our services and moved into the virtual world. Providing two types of instructions for anyone who wishes to learn this dance.

Frankly speaking, we are probably not truly “safe” to return to social dancing and group lessons until there is a vaccine and society is innoculated adequately. Until that time, there will be risks involved. So choosing to transition back to social dancing and having group classes before that point is certainly possible and probable BUT choosing to do so, we will be in a risk management situation, managing both health and legal liabilities.

It’s impossible to know when a vaccine might become available so until that time, taking responsibility for risk management is probably the only choice as a responsible organization will be making. With no certain dates in the horizon, we are approaching this new market by providing online services where there are either drop in or goal oriented lessons available.

As a business that relies on people being in close and touching contact with one another, we can’t afford to fall behind other organizations in the industry when it comes to providing this cultural service. Going online is all of us adapting and can help keep everyone connected and engaged.

The Hep Cat Hoppers
Swings Online

The Hep Cat Hoppers Swings Online
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Social Dances

During the current local health crisis. We are not providing or facilitating any social events until further notice.

About Us Today

The Hep Cat Hoppers were a bunch of young, enthusiastic and crazy Lindy Hopping cats from 2009, living and working in Waterloo Region. They performed classic vintage solo jazz and partner swing dance routines. They went on to successfully create a swing era community, operated a sustainable swing dance studio uptown Waterloo, Ontario and was nominated by Waterloo Region's Arts Award for artistic excellence, sustained development and impact on the Waterloo Region community.

By September 2017, a new team was assembled to offer weekly lessons and play live swing jazz and blues music for dancing. Adding to their arsenal of dance instructions, performances and business skills, they went and created a new traditional jazz band to perform live music. This made themselves affordable and accessible to the all the surrounding dance communities. The Iron Tonic Jazz Band plays live jazz music for dancing, by having dance and music packaged into one organization, they are able to provide the perfect recipe for any social gatherings. You can find them playing live jazz music in and around town, while teaching swing dance lessons before their dance concerts.




However, given the recent pandemic in early 2020, the team went into isolation to help 'flatten the curve'. While regrouping, a new strategy to deliver online instructions through both pre-recorded videos and live internet conference style session was developed.

Today, the team is recording their own swing music for their instructional online videos for people to download and learn. Furthermore, providing group classes online in a video conference style, where participants can ask questions, all of this in order to stay connected and engaged so anyone can continue to learn.


The Hep Cat Hoppers' 2009-2015 Vision

"The implementation of the City of Waterloo's culture plan was part of our success towards creating a sustainable swing era community. The goals and recommendations thereafter outlined in their plans gave our organization the strategic vision, mission and values. I was fortunate enough to be in the position to manage and ensure our team met the success indicators in the plan. "

-- David Trinh, Owner & Founder


The History

The Hep Cat Hoppers (2009-2015) was a swing dance performance troupe that started out performing classic 1930s routines with the Royal City Big Band. They soon became the only swing dance and music club in Waterloo Region teaching dance, playing live and recorded music and hosting social dance parties.

Weekly Dances

April 2011

The dance troupe began hosting local weekly dances with live music by local musicians. Soon, introductory dance lessons and beginner Lindy Hop, Charleston, West Coast Swing, Balboa and Blues classes were being taught weekly. They also hosted a weekly Swing and Blues radio show on the FM airwaves to reach out to those who couldn't attend but could listen in.

A Studio

May 2012

The Hep Cat Hoppers raised enough capital to open up their own swing era studio and dance hall. They soon were offering several classes each night of the week, with regular social dancing and jazz music jam sessions with two in house swing and blues bands. While priming successors to operate the club and preparing for a sustainable scene.

The Succession Plan

November 2015

The community members of the local swing dance and music scene formed a not for profit organization and the Hep Cat Hoppers began phasing out their operations. As part of their vision to create a sustainable swing era community, they successfully implemented a two year succession plan that allowed this transition to take place.

The Vision: A Sustainable Swing Era Community

In 2016, a new organization named themselves "Hep Cat Swing". They continue the tradition of hosting weekly swing dance classes and social dances in Kitchener-Waterloo. Now with a Board of Directors who directs the operation of the dance studio, community members continue to enjoy swing and blues music and dancing on a weekly basis.

The Mission

In six short years (2009-2015), a small group of hard working, skilled and talented swing dancers created a sustainable dance business in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario which impacted many lives in the area. They provided rich cultural experiences and focused on the Golden Age, while exploring the joyful dance of Lindy Hop and swing jazz music.

Blogger Rebecca Brightly wrote in 2012, "Recently, I connected with lindy hopper David Trinh of Waterloo, Ontario. David’s at the other end of the spectrum—he’s creating a new space for dancers to fall in love with.

And by "creating a new space," I mean he’s started a business, signed a commercial lease, hired contractors, put in a spanking-new floor, all with the help of his group, Hep Cat Hoppers."

Read it here

Awards and Recognition

The community members of Waterloo Region recognized the work and value provided by The Hep Cat Hoppers.

Spirit & History

In 2011, The Hep Cat Hoppers were awarded for "The excellence in maintaining the spirit and history of swing dancing in the Region of Waterloo"
-- Toronto International Swing Dance Championships

Arts Awards Waterloo Region

In 2016, The Hep Cat Hoppers was nominated for artistic excellence, sustained development and impact on the Waterloo Region community.

Sustainability

Several video clips were put together so you can see how they implemented a supportive, happy, safe and fun environment. Values which everyone operated by to become sustainable.

Building a Sustainable Swing Scene. Watch a video of how The Hep Cat Hoppers created a sustainable swing era community in six years starting in 2009.

Can't see the video, copy and paste this link into your web address bar youtu.be/rSt3ZXjNd_g

Nominated in the performing arts category for artistic excellence, sustained development and impact on the Waterloo Region community.

Can't see the video, copy and paste this link into your web address bar youtu.be/3FSj9yT5FC4

Services

If you are looking for dance lessons, the members of the Hep Cat Hoppers still offer private and group lessons, dance and live jazz band performances, and DJ services at your event. Contact them using the information in the Contact section below.


Contact

525 Highland Road West, Suite 350
Kitchener, Ontario, N2M 5P4
Canada
519-513-0291
info [at] hepcathoppers.ca