XP Mtl and Outfit Mob Get McGill Station Grooving

Artists Combine Music and Dance to Enliven a Busy City

  • The metro sessions are made to be spontaneous, as they are not heavily advertised prior to the day of it happening. Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

Last Thursday, metro passengers stumbled onto a pleasant surprise at McGill metro station. Amidst the regular hustle and bustle was a grooving group of dancers, singers, and musicians, injecting art and life into the city.

“We just don’t have enough gatherings anymore,” said Lesley Charters Cotton, 71-year-old house and hip-hop dancer who was present at the event. “This community really loves each other, and they don’t get enough of a chance to come together and celebrate. It is like a celebration, and it’s a golden opportunity to lift everyone’s spirits and to keep encouraging each other.”

These metro sessions, organized by the collective Outfit Mob, happen as part of XP Mtl, an initiative that aims to rejuvenate downtown Montreal in its construction season.

Lotus Collective performed at the Ladies First edition of the metro session on May 16. Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

Happening between 5 and 7 p.m., the May 16 edition of the metro session was under the theme “Ladies First,” and was hosted by Sarah MK, a member of the Lotus Collective who performed that day. The group aims to create opportunity for women and non-binary performers, as well as provide a platform for their artistry.

Outfit Mob’s Alexandra “Spicey” Landé explained that in bringing live music and dancing, they wanted to “celebrate the two artforms and create a bridge between the two.”

The metro sessions are made to be spontaneous, as they are not heavily advertised prior to the day of it happening. Landé said that these events are meaningful because they democratize art—the sessions provide free access to professional music and dancing, and make it easier to reach for the public.

“It’s so quintessentially Montreal to have these little events and these pop-ups shows. Bringing art and culture into the financial district, into public spaces that usually don’t have it, it makes it all the more vibrant.” — Monica Paraghamian

“For me it’s really refreshing,” said Harmeet Singh, who was at McGill station on his way back from university and found himself in the midst of the ongoing performances. “It takes you to another level, other dimension, away from your tension and tiredness.”

The metro sessions are not meant to be considered as an event you plan to attend, explained Landé. Instead, the gatherings inspire spontaneity. Their occurrence is shared through various social media the day of or right before, so that if you find yourself close to McGill you can stop by, explained Landé.

“I love the fact that you can impromptu connect with crowds that are on transit,” said Meryem Saci, a singer songwriter, MC, and a member of the Montreal band Nomadic Massive.

“[People] are ending their day,” she added. “You don’t know what’s going on in their lives, but you have this surprise waiting for you, just art and culture exploding all over the metro.”

The metro sessions, organized by the collective Outfit Mob, happen as part of XP Mtl, an initiative that aims to rejuvenate downtown Montreal in its construction season. Photo Dustin Kagan-Fleming

Saci’s performance at the metro session came full-circle for her. She explained that when she came to Canada as a teenager, she dreamt of being an artist but didn’t know where to start. She shared that seeing artists performing in the metro, she hoped to someday have the courage to do something like that.

“It’s so quintessentially Montreal to have these little events and these pop-ups shows,” said Lotus Collective’s Monica Paraghamian. “Bringing art and culture into the financial district, into public spaces that usually don’t have it, it makes it all the more vibrant.”

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