ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #19 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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Still on the Road

I still take classes. Lots of them. I like learning. I’m probably a beginner for life, but that’s okay. I’m trying to be more comfortable with social dancing and stop thinking of it like junior-high-school dances where only the few popular kids danced and the rest of us watched in fear of being asked to dance AND not being asked to dance. It might take me awhile, but I’m working on it. When I do dance, I have fun on the dance floor. And that’s the idea. Come dance with us and find out! And find out more about my Road to Dance.  It’s unpredictable, infuriating, but interesting & never boring…

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #18 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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The Road is Long

It’s hard. It’s frustrating. It’s a lot of work. It’s discouraging, sometimes. But sometimes, it’s fun. I’m still on my Road to Dance. Figuring it out along the way. Learning, changing, growing. Dancing for my life. Sometimes dancing badly, but that doesn’t matter. Nobody is watching. Or, if they are, who cares?

 

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #16 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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Don’t Take No for an Answer

The idea was the fun part. Then came the frustrating part. Whatever we wanted to do, whomever we asked said NO. Over and over. It was always no, from everybody about everything. It didn’t matter if we wanted something small and insignificant or something big and important. The answer was no. We kept going: around and over and under and through all the NOs. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

 

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #17 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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A Different Concept

We started our school. We had a different concept. We wanted our school to be a social gathering place first and a place to learn to dance second. We also wanted our students to learn to dance well and have more fun than anyone else on the dance floor. To bring their friends to dance. To make new friends at Sam’s. To make the most of their lives. Like we want to make of ours.

Oh, I lost a business partner along the way, but that didn’t change much. The “we” changed to “I” but everything else moved forward as planned. I still stumble a lot. I expect to for awhile. But I get up, brush myself off, and dance! When you believe in your idea, you have to.

 

 

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #15 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

GRIT

Never Give Up

We talked and talked. Then we talked some more. Was it doable? Could we do it together and combine our ideas? The big idea is only the first step. The rest is harder. We thought we could. So we did. But not easily. Licenses, insurance, paperwork, plans, research. Repeat. Several times. Learning, discovering, adjusting, adapting. Repeat. Finally, there was SAM’S DANCE.  To do something new and different, you gotta have grit!

 

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #14 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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ROAD TO SAM’S: STEP #14

An Idea is Born

My ZOUK teacher was a Brazilian. We talked about what we both wanted to be doing in a few years, what we saw for the future. He wanted to open his own dance school with a different teaching method than other Vancouver schools. I wanted to create a place like something I saw in Cuba, where people could engage in art and music and dance and conversation—a real arts community. I wanted a place that was so much more than people arriving, changing shoes, having a dance lesson, changing shoes, and leaving. I wanted to build a place people couldn’t wait to get to–to dance, to learn, to talk, to hang out, to spend time with friends, to meet new people.  We thought we could combine our concepts.  An idea was born.

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #13 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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We All Start with Salsa

I first took a session of SALSA group classes with Scarlet & Patrick Moriarty. They are lovely; it was confusing at first, but fun. My Mom quit after this session. She was discouraged because she didn’t find “one single man who could dance and I don’t have enough time left in my life to dance with hopeless cases.” I was a hopeless case myself so I hung in. Next, group lessons with Nina Perez, also a great dancer and teacher. Nina told me that salsa would change my life. I thought it was just one of those things people say so I just nodded. There were lots of nice people, earnestly trying to learn to dance salsa. I stayed for two years and added a few private lessons and some ZOUK in workshops and privates. I had fun.

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #12 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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Cuba gets into your Blood

Then came CUBA. We went 21/2 years ago for two weeks. We had a guide and driver, Ibrahim, who took us everywhere. That included going to places to hear live music and watch dancing. It’s everywhere in Cuba. The places we went were outside and full of people. It was magical. I knew they were dancing salsa, but they were so smooth, I couldn’t figure out how they were doing it. When some kind men asked me to dance (the men there ask EVERYONE to dance—it’s lovely—take note men!!), I told them I couldn’t because I didn’t have a clue. There were other people dancing who also had no clue but I didn’t want to be one of them (if I had that to do over again, I would want to be one of them)!  (I’m talking about you, tourist wearing flip-flops!!) When we got home, I signed up for salsa classes.

NOTE:  in Cuba, they dance everywhere–they don’t spend a second worrying about if the dance surface is smooth enough or if they have on the right shoes.  They hear music, they dance!  It’s amazing…

 

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE : STEP #11 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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Keep on Trying

So, where was I? Oh, my Road to Sam’s Dance. I took lots of classes in lots of things over the years. Mom & I took yoga. The only part we liked was nap-time at the end of class. Okay, maybe it wasn’t meant to be nap-time, but it was for us! We took furniture upholstery. The arms fell off our project, a rocking chair, and we had to take it to a friend of my parents who was an actual upholsterer. I took macramé. Why? I wonder that myself. Who needs a wall hanging made out of string? We took some cooking classes. Mostly, we went for the food, which the chef prepared for us to eat at the end of class. I took pilates on the ball with a friend. We couldn’t figure out how to stay on the ball and those other people lied about being beginners!! There was more, but you get the idea.

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #10 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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Hoofing with the Oldies

Next up was TAP dancing. My Mom had taken some classes in Arizona and wanted to carry on in Vancouver. I went with. What’s our first rule of dance? We gotta have the right shoes! I now have three pairs of tap shoes and still can’t tap. It was fun though and a lovely lady named Beryl taught the class of seniors–and me. We did have one man in the class, but it was only briefly. We must have terrified him.  The sound of a class full of people tapping in no particular rhythm can be horrendous!  Even if you can’t tap well, it’s tons of fun wearing those shoes and clomping around on a wood floor.  I never get tired of it.