Whether you are just learning the intricacies of the tango or you have mastered the two-step, April 29 is the day to celebrate as International Dance Day is observed around the world.
With April 22 to 29 designated National Dance Week, City Dance owners Heather Stranks and Jens Goerner are encouraging everyone to get out on the dance floor.
Their joy is in seeing people learn to love dance as much as they do and to celebrate, they are offering free lessons at their 29th Street studio next week.
Goerner was extensively schooled in Germany in ballroom and Latin dancing and has trained dancers of all ages in both social and competitive dance.
“Although I trained primarily in Germany, dance is dance no matter where you are in the world” he said. “The language of dance is truly international and I am very happy to now be teaching in Canada. There is nothing like dance to bring people together, no matter what age or nationality.”
In addition to training with Goerner for six years, Stranks has applied her knowledge of ice dancing to the ballroom floor.
“Having been a figure skater and teaching ice dancing for many years, the transition to the ballroom has been a fairly easy one for me. The dance frame and style is very similar to ice dance. I love to teach and am thrilled to be able to do so at our fabulous studio.”
The fascination with dance has grown steadily over the past few years with the advent of TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars.
“In days gone by, dance was as much a part of growing up as playing baseball or riding a bike,” said Stranks. “Community dances often happened every weekend in small towns, and families gathered for a chance to socialize and have fun. Children learned to dance by being dragged onto the floor by moms, dads, aunts and uncles.”
Stranks said there are many benefits to dance. A 21-year study of seniors 75 years and older conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that the risk of dementia was reduced 76 per cent by those who danced frequently.
In addition to the mental benefits, dancing helps you to tone and lose weight like few other activities do. It is a mind/body workout that just happens to be fun.
“In over 30 years of figure skating, I am in better overall shape now that I am dancing regularly than when I was skating,” said Stranks. “It is definitely an activity that tones your entire body, from arms and legs to core to cardio to brain.”
Over the past four years of working together at their studio, Goerner and Stranks have been working hard to bring their love of dance to Vernon.
“Taking dance lessons together is a great way to re-connect with your partner and it is a perfect way to unwind after the stress of everything that life throws at us on a daily basis,” said Stranks.
Visit City Dance April 25 to 29 for free lessons at 7:15 p.m. each night. Monday is Argentine tango, Tuesday is salsa, Wednesday is waltz, Thursday is two-step and Friday is jive. As well, everyone is welcome at the studio’s open house April 29 at 8 p.m. Meet the instructors and students, learn a few moves and dance as long as your feet will let you. To register for the free classes, contact City Dance at 250-307-4955 or citydanceok.com.