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O-Town Showdown returns to the Glebe Community Centre

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The Glebe Community Centre was thumping with music and dance over the weekend, as the O-Town Showdown made its grand return.

The annual dancing competition had been on a three-year hiatus due to Covid – dancers as far as Boston flocked to the capital region for its comeback.

“We've gotten a lot of really positive feedback from people who said that they've had a good time this weekend,” said organizer Robin Treleaven. “It reminded me why we do this - really to just share the love of the dance and bring everyone together.”

The weekend-long event features a mixture of competitions and classes led by international instructors. This latest Showdown featured live music from the Boilermaker Jazz Band and Naomi Uyama – setting the ambiance for Lindy Hop and Vernacular Jazz dances.

“It's a dance that comes from Black American tradition - it comes from the roots of oppression, but it's also a very joyful dance as well.” explained Treleaven. “When you get everybody in the room together, dancing with the band, with their partner in the space, it just creates such an amazing sense of community.”

For some, the Showdown has been a chance to show off their skills. For others, it is a way to meet new people during the many social dance sessions held over the weekend.

In the case of Mina Seong – both are true.

Having moved from South Korea two months ago, Seong has already found the spotlight here in Ottawa. She took first place at Saturday night’s competition, and returned Sunday for some social dancing with her new community.

“I can make new friends in the social dances because most of the dancers are very kind and generous,” she said. “It’s helped me get rid of my stress.”

Other first-timers, like Ajit Kalsi, echoed her sentiment Sunday.

“It's a great way to meet people, especially if you're new to the city or especially if you just want to get out of your comfort zone a little bit,” he said.

For Showdown regulars, the return of a local competition has been welcome news.

“It's really special to have something in Ottawa right near me, so I don't have to go to Montreal or somewhere else,” said Nura Evans-Li.

The O-Town Showdown’s return saw solid success – the social dances alone drawing around 350 dancers to the centre’s Scotton Hall over the weekend.

Organizers say next year’s event is still tentative, but encourage anyone itching to dance to attend the weekly lessons held at St. Joseph’s Church every Friday night.

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