For many in the LGBTQ* community, the “Tea Dance” may not be something that is well known in the modern world of circuit parties, LGBTQ* night clubs and private dance parties. From resorts to cruise ships to private venues, the Tea dance is seeing a modernisation and resurgence of the practice in community, particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM).

HIV Community Link’s HEAT Program, along with community partners Safeworks, Twisted Element and the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Chinook Arch, have come together to present three MSM focused events that include dancing, free HIV and syphilis testing, and information about community resources, as well as cocktails bar pricing in effect and $5.00 BBQ burgers.

Data shows that gay, bi and other MSM continue to represent a significant proportion of new HIV diagnoses in Canada at 45% in 2015 (Public Health Agency of Canada), while in Alberta MSM are second after heterosexuals for new HIV diagnoses at 31% according to Alberta Health (2016).

Did you know?

  • That 1 in 5 persons living with HIV are not aware they are HIV positive?
  • That HIV treatment works to reduce HIV viral load to a level that is undetectable and improves health outcomes?
  • That people living with HIV and with an undetectable viral load are not transmitting HIV onto their partners?

We are very excited about these upcoming MSM event opportunities and invite you to join us to learn more about HIV transmission, prevention, treatment and resources that exist for MSM in Calgary today. We also invite you to get tested, know your status and have some fun while gathered for an afternoon of socializing, dancing, cocktails and good food.

Sunday July 17, 2017 – More info here

Sunday August 20, 2017 – More info here

Sunday September 17, 2017 – More info here

Rather than writing an article on the history and origin of the Tea Dance, please take a look at the definitions and links below to learn a bit more about the history of the “Tea Dance”.

HIV Testing Event Cover

Tea Dance – A Definition

tea dance, also called  thé dansant (French for “dancing tea”), is a summer or autumn afternoon or early-evening dance from four to seven p.m., sometimes preceded in the English countryside by a garden party.

According to Wikipedia, The usual refreshments in 1880 were tea and coffee, ices, champagne-cup and claret-cup, fruit, sandwiches, cake and biscuits. The types of dances performed during these tea dances included waltzes, tangos and, by the late 1920s, the Charleston.

The term Gay Tea Dance, sometimes spelled T-dance or T dance, is also used within gay culture to designate similar dances: particularly those held on weekends (especially Sunday evenings) in nightclubs, or at the end of the day at gay resorts. According to Wikipedia, Gay tea dances are also a prevalent featured event at circuit party festivals, where they are usually held outdoors and typically precede the indoor Sunday night ‘closing party’ of the festival. Gay tea dances have also become a major featured entertainment component on-board many gay-oriented cruises.

If you want to read more about the evolution of the Gay Tea Dance, check out this article or follow this link. There are plenty of historical images of gay Tea Dances on Google.

Please get in touch with Mark Randall, HEAT Program Coordinator at HIV Community Link, at heat@hivcl.org for more information and join us for our Testing, Tea Dance and BBQ events!