Okay St. John’s, Now Let’s Get in Formation: Beyoncé Dance Party Set for June 23
Ladies, grab your Freakum Dress and leave your man at home; or let him play the ’03 Clyde to your Bonnie and take him along if he appreciates the musical stylings of Queen Bey because Club One and FreeForm Events are hosting Flawless: The Beyoncé Dance Party. The third annual event will take place on Saturday, June 23 featuring the music of DJ Slaylist.
The event which according to Facebook, is “[y]our annual reminder that you. are. #flawless.” and is one night solely in honour of the music and cultural impact of Beyoncé.
FreeForm Events isn’t just in the business of bringing people together to dance to Beyoncé, they are also a “full-service event company delivering customized events to communities in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.” They focus on creating events that are inclusive and innovative. Anna Smith, of FreeForm Events, said via email that their goal is to simply to “bring people together in incredible spaces.” The company helps to facilitate what Smith calls “strategic planning sessions”. She noted their #Adulting series, which brings practical lessons to everyday people. FreeForm events “love[s] responding to what [they are] seeing and hearing in our communities in terms of what people want and need.”
The idea for the inaugural Beyoncé Dance Party came out of some dark times, both literally and figuratively in 2016. “The first half of [that year] felt like [a] particularly depressing time in St. John’s: grey and cold, with significant cuts to community and arts efforts in the first release of the municipal and provincial budgets,” said Smith. After all the doom and gloom, Smith said, “[w]e just figured our city could use a night out and a night off.”
So why Beyoncé? Smith said that FreeForm Events had used Queen Bey’s music for “all sorts of motivational and empowerment purposes”. “Our ideal night out is dancing with happy people while sing-screaming all the words, and Beyoncé ticks all the boxes,” she said. Smith also noted that Beyoncé’s expansive discography ranging from Destiny’s Child’s breakthrough album The Writings on the Wall right up to 2016’s Lemonade as well as a number of features and collaborations can fill an entire night.
The evening’s maestro will be local DJ Cara Lewis, better known as Slaylist. Smith considers Slaylist “an old friend” and believes she may be an even bigger Beyoncé fan than she is. According to Smith, “the past two years we’ve played around with playlists that feature a few key friends in Beyoncé’s network — but this year, we’re excited to exclusively focus on the Queen and her collaborations.”
Slaylist, who said she became a DJ because she loves to dance, not because she is a “techie”, is excited to be in the Beyoncé booth for the third time. She noted some highlights from the previous two events as the “intense party atmosphere” and Yung Dumb organizer and fellow DJ, Adam Harding jumping on stage and remixing the video version of “Formation” that features New Orleans artist Big Freedia.
This will be the third annual “Flawless: The Beyoncé Dance Party” and those who will be attending for the first, second, or even third time can expect an inclusive celebration of positive power. FreeForm Events encourages those in attendance to dance like nobody’s watching. “We work with our venue staff to establish plans for the night to ensure everyone’s safe and having a great time,” said Smith. This year’s Dance Party will be held at Club One which Smith said can hold “a lot more lovers-of-Beyonce for the best dance party in the city.”
Smith teased that she and FreeForm events are “working on a few decor surprises to make the night even better.” They certainly have their work cut out for them as the posters lining the walls during the 2016 event were pretty clever. An Image from the video of Beyoncé’s 2014 single “7/11” advertised the night’s drink special of “Bey’s Vodka Lemonade” and a photo of the singer hanging out of a car from 2016’s “Formation” provided the phone numbers for local cab companies. (They also, as this writer can confirm make great wall art/home decor).
In terms of the music, Slaylist has been immersed in Beyoncé’s extensive discography of group, solo, and featured works in preparation for the event. She hinted that “Nothing Out There For Me” a collaboration for Missy Elliott’s 2002 album Under Construction, which predates Beyoncé’s solo debut might be played. “I was thinking of throwing on the Christmas album for a laugh,” she mused. (“8 Days Of Christmas” is a modern holiday classic.)
For the event in 2016, FreeForm Events did a great job of getting the word out to as many different groups of people throughout the city. Smith pointed out that three separate groups of her friends attended the event. “The idea that they had talked about the night and made plans like that ahead of time makes me happy to this day.”
I was in attendance that night and remember thinking that I had never been in a room with such a diverse group of people. There were so much positivity and fun in the air, especially during “Run The World (Girls)” as the lights flashed on to show the crowd during the “Who run the world?” lyric. There aren’t too many artists or discographies that can unite so many different groups. According to Smith, FreeForm Events never intended to make Flawless: The Beyoncé Dance Party an annual event but so many positive responses “keep us bringing it back to give folks an awesome night out.”
FreeForm seemed to have repeated the success of 2016 again in 2017 as Slaylist noted that “the diversity of the crowd” was her highlight of the second annual event.
Finally, when asked about favourite Beyoncé songs, Smith said, “that is an impossible question to answer.”
Slaylist was less diplomatic and said, “Honestly, I think Formation is the most badass of her everything.” She continued, “It’s so different than the high-tempo tunes she has, and it’s political AND everyone just wants to mooove to it.”