Alyssa Fulop remembers sleeping on the floor of her cousin’s room one night as a child. Sick and frustrated, she said Taylor Swift’s album Fearless was the only thing that brought comfort. That is Fulop’s first musical memory of the pop star but she and hundreds of other fans made new memories at a Taylor-Swift-themed dance party on a Saturday night in Halifax.
A DJ spun the hits for four straight hours at The Dome nightclub in late February as Fulop held hands with her best friend, Elizabeth Finley, and screamed the lyrics in sync with the crowd.
“They’re an opportunity to go out with your friends, make core memories, dancing and singing to Taylor Swift without caring about what anyone thinks about you.” – Miri Makin, co-founder, TSwift Dance Party Canada
Smoke and lights washed over the scores of “Swifties,” as Swift’s loyal legions are called. Red, pink and purple lights darted across their faces as a chorus of voices could clearly be heard over metre-high speakers lining the dance floor.
“We love Taylor Swift, I have since I was five,” Fulop told The Signal in one corner of the nightclub.
She said she and Finley got matching torso tattoos, inspired by the artist’s lyrics, to mark their 11-year-long friendship: the moon and Saturn, with Swift’s lyrics underneath in small cursive.
“It’s from her song ‘Seven,’” Finley added. “I have ‘I love you to the moon…’ and Alyssa has ‘…and to Saturn.’”
Other partiers sported sequins, cowboy hats, handmade costumes and signs as they danced, jumped and sang to Taylor Swift songs like All Too Well, You Belong With Me and Anti-Hero.
The event marked Fulop and Finley’s fourth time attending a Taylor Swift dance party. Fulop said the Halifax gatherings have grown in popularity since the first one at The Marquee Ballroom in July.
“The energy there was so great,” Fulop said. “It was only women and only a few people knew about it.”
“Now that she’s getting more popular, more people are going because it’s a party with a big name like Taylor Swift.”
The party on Saturday Feb. 19 was hosted and organized by an external company, TSwift Dance Party Canada. The Signal reached one of the founders, Miri Makin, at her office in Toronto. She said the company began as a passion project after she and co-founder Victoria Morton grew tired of waiting for someone to host a themed party.
“Eventually, we just decided we’ll do it ourselves,” said Makin. “They’re an opportunity to go out with your friends, make core memories, dancing and singing to Taylor Swift without caring about what anyone thinks about you.”
Makin remembers anxiously waiting at her laptop when 250 tickets went on sale for their first event in Toronto.
“As soon as they went live they were sold out,” said Makin. “Our group chat just exploded, we started messaging each other being like, ‘what happened? Was there a glitch?’”
Makin said TSwift Dance Party Canada has hosted 40 events across the country in the past year, giving Canadian fans the chance to come together and listen to their favourite artist.
On Nov. 1, 2022 Taylor Swift announced The Eras Tour on Good Morning America. It’s her first tour since 2018. The American dates swiftly followed.
Halifax tour stop?
The pop superstar has not announced dates outside of the United States but said in an Instagram post that international dates are “to be announced as soon as we can!”
Tickets for The Eras Tour sold out in minutes, amid record demands, during Ticketmaster’s fan presale. Tickets were snatched up for thousand of dollars on resale sites.
Many party-goers at The Dome said they were eager for Swift to announce Canadian tour dates, but expressed little hope that Halifax would make the cut.
Shae Allen and Rheanna Casey, who attended the dance party together, said the problem is not the size of the city but the size of its venues.
“There’s not a big enough stadium here,” said Allen. She added that if Swift were to come to Halifax she thinks the venue would sell out.
Scotiabank Centre in Halifax can seat over 10,500 people compared with the sellout crowd of more than 50,000 that packed the Rogers Centre in Toronto for two nights of Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour in 2018.
“I think there’s demand for almost any artist to come,” added Casey. “In the end, they just don’t. They only stick to the big cities.”
Fulop said Halifax isn’t a prominent enough city in Canada for Swift to visit.
“But, if we make ourselves known as the top spot that has these dance parties then maybe she would come here because there’s a lot of fans.”
Fulop and Finely said they decided not to risk waiting for Canadian tour dates.
“We’re going to see her in Nashville,” said Fulop. “We’ve worked so hard for those tickets.”
At 10:30 p.m., when The Dome’s dance party came to an end, the DJ stepped aside for techno-country remixes to take over. The crowd immediately thinned as the Swifties trickled out. The line for coat-check pickup snaked all the way around the room to behind the DJ booth.