Whether you’re feeling 22, shaking it off or wiping the teardrops off your guitar, Taylor Swift’s songs speak to people. Her discography is full of bops that lend themselves to hitting the dance floor and singing along as loud as humanly possible in memory of a lost love, with hope for a new love or as a sign that you’re just fine without love. That’s why two Orlandoans, Courtney Gibson and Caitie Phillips, created Le Petite Fete, a company that hosts Taylor Swift themed dance parties (as well as parties themed for other pop culture icons) here in Orlando and across the country.
During an evening out at Downtown Orlando’s Neon Beach in April 2021, Courtney and Caitie were chatting about Taylor Swift dance parties that were happening in Australia, which they had seen on Tik Tok. The clips showed lively singalongs by some of the musician’s biggest fans. As they sat at the bar – big Taylor fans themselves – it occurred to them that they could bring similarly themed nights here to Orlando as well. All they needed was for someone to take a chance on the idea.
So, they pitched it to the owner of Neon Beach, willing to walk up and down Orange Avenue to share it with other bar owners if they were turned down. They got their “yes” from Neon Beach that night and within weeks set up the ticketing, prepared their marketing and started promoting their first event. It sold out two weeks ahead of event day. Courtney and Caitie’s idea became a reality – all because of a conversation.
Each dance party is an inclusive event that is meant to bring people together over a shared interest. “There’s so many people who say they came alone and made so many friends. That’s super special to both Caitie and I,” Courtney says.
During a Taylor Swift dance party, you can expect to participate in costume contests, trivia and lip sync battles. You will hear Taylor’s hits, the bops, the deep cuts. Song requests are also taken into consideration throughout the night.
“There are certain songs that really speak to people, and I think it’s important to honor that for the fans that come to our events,” Courtney says.
There is also swag – a swim can coozie is given to attendees as a party favor. And, of course, there is White Claw. After all, it’s Courtney and Caitie’s favorite.
With the success of Le Petite Fete’s Orlando dance parties, they started expanding to other cities in August 2021. Tampa was the first stop, with The Orpheum in the Historic Ybor City district jumping on board. Soon after, The Orpheum’s owner (who is also a booking agent) wanted to talk about taking Le Petite Fete on the road. They successfully tested the concept in Atlanta, Miami and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the rest is history.
This June marks the first anniversary of Le Petite Fete, and Courtney and Caitie are celebrating some pretty big milestones. Between January 2022 and the beginning of May 2022, their dance parties hit 50 cities total. They’re looking to do the same in the fall while working in other city requests, specifically in the Midwest.
“It’s so interesting to see where it goes,” Caitie says. “I’m just excited to see where it takes us and I'm happy to have [Orlando] as home base.”
Courtney: “I feel like Orlando is such a unique community of people, and I love that about it. You can be in three totally different towns in one day – meet different people and have a different community feel. There’s so much to do here and so many amazing places."
Caitie: "Orlando is interesting because of lot of people are in hospitality, and the idea of cross pollination from that standpoint is interesting. How can we help each other?"