Hit That Jive Productions is a non-profit organization based in Edmonton, Alberta, that promotes performance, social dancing, and theatre. Their mission is to foster healthy and active theatre and dance communities, and to enable artists to grow their body of work and enhance their craft by producing events, workshops, festivals, and other projects.
HTJ was created by Read Fenton and Julie Kiraly, two local swing dancers with a passion for the arts and a drive to bring more dancing, theatre, and events to the city.
Though many of our projects and ideas are centered around a passion for vernacular jazz dances and music of the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s, our work is not limited to the swing era. We believe in an interdisciplinary approach to projects, and as such support dancing, teaching, and performance in a variety of styles and genres, in addition to promoting swing dance and jazz music.
Our goal is to bring the rich history and culture of the jazz-age decades to the local arts community and the people of Edmonton, and to support other forms of dance, theatre, and music in our great city.
Julie Kiraly (CEO, Co-Founder)
Julie Kiraly is an Edmonton-based artist that specializes in authentic partnered and solo jazz dances of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s. She is the head choreographer for the local all-female troupe Miss Behavin', and the co-creator of the Hip Shakin’ Mamas, a solo jazz troupe that includes dancers from Edmonton, Vancouver, and Seattle. With a passion for dancing that began in 2002, Julie consistently strives to grow as a dancer, choreographer, instructor, and performer by attending local and international workshops and events. As an artist, her goal is to spread the joy and rich history of swing dance to the general public. Julie loves to travel, and dancing has taken her across the globe. She has taught workshops and classes across Western Canada, and has performed and competed in cities around the globe including New York, Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Washington D.C., and as far as Sweden.
Julie completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree in Drama through the University of Alberta in 2007. Though her focus has been growing the local swing dance community, she has also been involved in theatre projects. When Julie is not on the social dance floor or teaching classes, you might spot her alter-ego, Mooch, a clown character that has been featured in a variety of shows and cabarets since 2008.
Read Fenton (Director, Co-Founder)
Read Fenton was introduced to swing dancing in 2008. Since then he has immersed himself in the swing dance community both locally and abroad. Read has been involved with leadership and teaching for Swing Out Edmonton Dance Club since 2009, and has been an organizer and instructor for the Sugar Swing Dance Club for the past few years. His infectious enthusiasm and love of swing dance history make his classes both exciting and informative. Read is also involved in the performance side of swing dancing and jazz music – he performs with the professional swing dance troupe Mad Cat Swing, and is the band leader for the Edmonton-based jazz band Read and His Happy Hep Cats. Read is the mastermind behind the Spring Fling Swing Dance Workshop and the creator and organizer of the Summer Solstice Swing Dance Festival. In addition to growing the local swing dance scene, Read regularly travels to other cities to attend workshops, exchanges, and dance events. In 2013, Read embarked on a four-month swing dance road trip across the United States and Canada. He attended events in San Francisco, Austin, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boise, Portland, Seattle, and Victoria. In the summer of 2014, Read travelled to Sweden to attend the Herrang Dance Camp.
Read has his bachelors in Civil Engineering and is currently studying for his MBA at the University of Alberta School of Business.
DARRYL GLEN (DIRECTOR)
Darryl Glen started swing dancing in late 2010 at the invitation of a friend. Immediately hooked, he began taking classes, and workshops and travelling were quick to follow. With a passion for Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Vernacular Jazz, as well as Shag (both St. Louis and Collegiate), Darryl has taught lessons in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and his hometown of Red Deer. He loves to travel and has danced all across Canada and the US, as well as Korea and Japan. He also loves to share his joy through performances and competitions, having won Jack & Jill titles at PLEX, Lindy Studio Summer Night Party in Seoul, Capital City Stomp in Victoria, and most recently Lindy Bout in Vancouver. Whether social dancing, teaching, performing, or competing, Darryl loves to dance and share his love with others.
Photographer: John Marian