Electro Swing Circus marries acrobats, contortionists, and stilt walkers with modern-day swing jazz

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      The increased popularity of EDM over the last decade has brought us many things. It gave us High School Musical’s Zac Efron pretending to scratch some records alongside pseudo-teens in movie flop We Are Your Friends. It gave us Deadmau5 revealing that top DJs perform entire sets just by pressing play on a CD. And it turned the admirable motto “work hard, play hard” into the no-fucks-given "YOLO".

      But the advent of EDM is not all bad news. Infiltrating a number of other musical genres, the sound has slowly been transforming dormant tracks of the past and breathing new life into classic songs of by-gone eras. Take, for instance, electro swing. A combination of vintage or modern swing and jazz mixed with the techniques of EDM music, electro swing transforms old-timey brass and vocal arrangements with a modern-day energy.  

      Sure, it’s hardly a staple genre on the radio. But electro swing has built a strong cult following fuelled by large-scale dancing events: a fact that hasn’t been wasted on Vancouver’s Imperial.

      Combining a huge dance party with an interactive circus show, the aptly named Electro Swing Circus is this week stopping off at the venue for its sixth jaunt to the city. Formed of stilt walkers, acrobats, jugglers, a strong woman, clowns, snake handlers, contortionists, burlesque performers, and other talented circus artists, the evening is set to pack the Imperial with gripping live entertainment.

      Hosting the evening will be Beau Creep, an international award-winning “boylesque” entertainer (think burlesque, but for men). President of the Edmonton Burlesque Festival, member of Edmonton’s all-male heels dance troupe, and founder of a queer cabaret event, Creep is poised to bring his exclusive style of debauchery to the West Coast.

      Alongside the circus performers, two-time world Dance World champion Benjamin Ricard and his crew will be on hand at 9.30 p.m. to teach newbies the basic swing steps.

      DJ Wood, a 20 year veteran of BC’s underground scene, is slated to be on music duties, and he’ll be supported throughout the night by DJ K-Tel—an artist famed for dropping remixed vintage beats—and international sound show artists Sex Traffic Panda, who will bring deep, funky, and high-energy tracks to the Electro Swing Circus.

      The event will also host a number of interactive engagements like those inspired by Joel Eddington: a magician whose work “allows participants to go into a world of astonishment where anything and everything they create seems possible”. For those attendees looking for a well-deserved break after all their dancing, party-goers can indulge in the Funhouse virtual reality game on HTC Vive VR headsets in the lounge area, which will be running throughout the night.

      Marrying music, dance, and live performance in one location, the Electro Swing Circus is offering the chance to go to the kind of party you definitely missed out on for New Year’s Eve.

      Electro Swing Circus is at the Imperial on Saturday (January 14). Early-bird tickets start at $20 and are available here.

      Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays

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