Stepping to the tune of her husband's guitar, celebrated flamenco performer Rosario Ancer bridges continents with her knowledge of dance. She trained in Spain and toured in multiple countries before opening Centro Flamenco in 1989, where she and her instructors pull from cultural, musical, and choreographic teachings to guide their students. All the while, Rosario deftly walks the tightrope between authenticity and evolution. Her regular travels to workshops and shows in Spain imbue her lessons with history, yet she hopes to see the art form flourish in experimental ways, inciting guests to stretch their creative muscles during classes.
Rosario exposes amateurs and advanced dancers alike to flamenco's commanding rhythms. As her pupils progress, they learn more about the social significance behind the moves, and eventually sync their kicks to stylized guitar strums. Whether they are mastering simple beats or preparing for a theatre piece, the studio sets them on a structured track, which ends when their smouldering glance can set a tablecloth on fire.
FreeStyle Dance Centre boasts more than 5,000 square feet of studio space including three large dancing rooms where dancers of all skill levels attend programs ranging from competitive to recreational dance under the tutelage of Royal Academy of Dance–certified and experienced instructors. Teachers such as life-long dancer Alysha Williams start their students' training early, guiding toddlers through basic positions in their Tiny Dance program, and seeing some of them through to advanced pointe classes—making manifest their belief in ballet as the bedrock of dance education. During each class series, pupils learn a dance to be performed in costume at a year-end show as a way for newly formed dancing gurus to showcase their talents. FreeStyle also offers professionally sprung floors that preserve dancer's knees and large lounge areas that allow waiting guardians to watch their up-coming star through viewing windows or to practice their own rendition of Swan Lake.
For more than 20 years, Dynamic Dance's team of highly trained instructors—some of whom have international dance training—have created an engaging and supportive environment for children to learn and thrive during a variety of dance classes. Children three and under can discover movement and music as they play with drums and ribbons during a wee dance session, while older students learn classical ballet form as taught by the Royal Academy of Dance.
When a motorcycle accident blew out his knee, avid swing dancer Jason Warner drew emotional and physical strength from the growing dance community he and his wife, Crystal, had created at Suburban Swing. Warner had danced for three years prior to the injury in 2000, the same year he began hosting lessons, swing dance parties, and fetes-for-hire at pubs and performance halls around town. The Langley Advance reported that a significant part of his 18-month recovery was dance, which his doctor had green lighted as a safe way to ease back into movement. More than a decade later, Warner is the bedrock of a community devoted to East Coast swing, lindy hop, balboa, and blues dancing as an instructor, a DJ, and the founder of Swing Summit, an annual training camp.
The couple keeps their footwork fancy with regular workshops, and both have contributed to television shows such as Smallville and CTV's Robson Arms. Demonstrating their care for the world beyond brass bands and pompadour wrangling, the two increased their class and party fees by a quarter so they could donate all of the additional revenue to sponsor children in need via World Vision Canada.
Drawing from more than six years of experience as a dance instructor, Vanessa Nussbaum founded Step by Step Dance School to share her love for dance with anyone willing to step onto her studio’s floor. She views dance as a means for people to shed the stress of everyday life by moving with the music and connecting with a dance partner—in addition to being a source of fitness and self-confidence. She and her staff lead ballroom and Latin dance classes that range in style from salsa, international tango, and rumba to the viennese waltz, foxtrot, and the hustle, a frantic jig in which partners see who can shuffle their feet the fastest. Instructors also help couples prepare for their wedding with first-dance lessons, during which they can focus on teaching the pair a certain style or choreograph a routine set to their chosen song.
Husband and wife team Andy and Wendy Wong first met at the UBC dance club in 1976, joining forces to commence an unprecedented 13-year reign as the top amateur dancers in British Columbia. Finding a dearth of fun, supportive places where people could learn to dance and accomplished dancers could casually hone their craft without crashing local bar mitzvahs, they opened The Grand Ballroom in 1994. Since then, the couple and their cadre of dedicated instructors have initiated more than 16,000 students into the rug-cutting arts. The beautiful 5,000-square-foot dance floor sits ringed by soft blue walls and plush red chairs, allowing dancers to lean back and rest feet.