Collectively, we have been running “not for profit” Drop-in Sessions for well over 20yrs.
Our Mission Statement since 2006:
“To Promote and Enhance Ballroom & Social Dancing”
Quote from a teacher: “When I am able show you how in 10 minutes, it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do it in 10 minutes”.
The allegory here is to recognise and value those 10 years as much as the 10 minutes. Instructors at Dance North do not charge for their time spent sharing their dance experience with others – all they look for is fair judgement and a fair measure of appreciation for those years invested (in time and effort) that they now share freely and gladly.
Our ethos at Dance North (DN) embraces a desire to share our dance experience and knowledge with folks wanting to learn certain styles of dance. The terminology used to describe this may include words such as “Teaching”, “Lessons”, “Classes”, “Tuition” and “Instruction”. We wish to clarify that any such use of words by us is not intended to imply that we provide professional or expert advice in any form, or at level of dance.
Qualifier: Our instructors are for the most part self-starters and self-taught, and therefore do not hold any particular “Degree” or” Certificate” from a recognised or accredited regulatory body in dance. They are simply members of a social dance group who pay for their admission like everyone else, and volunteer their time helping each other learn and practice. In so doing, we do not guarantee anything in the way of time, availability, commitment or results for those attending our drop-in sessions. We are strictly “Not for Profit” and everyone involved does so purely for the love of dance and social activity. All monies DN receives goes toward paying for out of pocket expenses such as studio time, equipment or support required to run our events – no instructor receives payments or gratuities of any kind for their volunteer services.
Over the years, there have been various attempts to organize dance groups in Prince George. In many cases, those efforts failed due to lack of interest and community support rather than a lack of hard work and effort on the part of the organizers.
The early 2000’s saw a gradual ending to the Country & Western dance trend that had swept North America for the previous decade or so, as most people moved on to other interests – however a few dedicated individuals in our community continued with their dancing. Around that time, a different group began gathering together to provide an outlet for their desire to dance, the primary focus of this other group being Ballroom Dancing – this tiny group was originally spawned back in the 90’s by Bunny Murray’s dedication to dance, together with another thespian in dance, Stella Royle. Bunny was Judy Russell’s mom, and in the theatre & dance world, she was a legend – sadly she lost her battle with cancer back in 2011, however in an indirect way, Dance North is one of her many legacy’s. Judy Russell also shares part of the reason for the existence of Dance North as she was visionary enough to give both of the initial groups a home at her Enchaînement Dance Centre, and along with that, the word spread. In 2006, the two groups made the decision to re-structure and take on a shared identity, and Dance North became a reality !
As with any organised group of people, we have faced our challenges, including a serious threat to our autonomy by certain individuals who sort to take over our group and change our traditions according to their own personal ideals and philosophy. Unfortunately there are those in this world that aspire, even conspire, to steal and emulate another’s success in a narcissistic attempt to attain their own eminence and control. Dance North can still confidently say that we have many content and loyal dancers enjoying the same warm and comfortable mood at our drop-in’s, as we continue on in the same pattern with the same traditions as we have for many years.
Notwithstanding our challenges, we continue to develop and diversify while staying true to our beginnings. Between the two evenings, we now cover many different dance styles. Friday nights focus on the more traditional Ballroom dance styles such as Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha, Samba, and Jive, while Wednesday nights shift the focus more towards social and club-style dances such as Swing, Hustle, Night Club Two (NC2), 2 Step, and Salsa. That said, at either of these two drop-in opportunities, any one of the above mentioned dances may be the in vogue, depending on the mood and direction of the evening.
The two nights create a balance in approach for the number of dances we enjoy and share with others, from strictly ballroom to casual and fun social dances. We want to offer the opportunity for people to take dance seriously and perhaps even move on in the direction of competition if they so desire, while at the same time make it fun for others who wish no more than to improve their social dance skills – we encourage you to drop by at 7:30 on either of our two nights – fees are still capped at $5 per/person.
In the past, typically dancers in our area would have to travel to larger centres such as Vancouver and Calgary to enjoy the chance to participate in a respectable dance club atmosphere and to experience the professional mood created by more experienced dancers. While we here in Prince George have not yet reached the level of expertise and excellence of the major dance studios in Canada, we are moving closer with the development of dance groups that share the same vision as Dance North such as, DRT Dance and Jazzmatazz Dance Co as well as other focus groups that cover dances such as WCS and Square Dancing, where you can select from a different style of dance at various levels of tuition – some of these dance groups also offer private lessons. The studios at Judy Russell’s Enchaînement Dance Centre are well known in Prince George, and are very busy, offering people in the community an exceptional range of dance classics such as Jazz, Contemporary, Tap and Ballet to name a few, plus the opportunity to get involved in wonderful stage shows and musicals.
Why not take advantage of these many opportunities to expand your horizon and support dance in our community.
Make Dance a Habit – It Will Change Your Life