While growing up in their hometown of Ottawa, Michael Falucci and Gabriel Wolinsky always dreamed of becoming professional dancers. For years, they trained in dance studios throughout North America before moving Toronto to pursue performance careers. Their hard work and determination paid off, landing them roles in professional theatre productions such as Guys and Dolls and South Pacific along with film and television parts in Disney's Eloise and Degrassi Goes Hollywood. After their Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour, where they racked up frequent flyer miles by leaping across stages in 60 North American cities, Michael and Gabe returned to Ottawa to open their own dance studio—Capital City Dance.
At the studio, the duo draws from their years of experience in dancing and coaching, captaining a crew of fellow professional dancers as they lead classes in a range of styles. Throughout the week, Capital City Dance resounds with the sounds of ballet music, tap shoes, and disconcertingly loud jazz hands as the staff leads classes and workshops for young and old. The studio hosts recreational classes as well as a competitive program, where students are regularly entered in regional and national dance competitions.
At the Sue Fay Healy School of Traditional Irish Dance, certified TCRG dance teachers demonstrate and teach traditional Irish dance techniques to students ages 4 to adult. Dancers in each 45-minute class begin with basic techniques such as clapping in rhythm to music, pointing toes, and lassoing uncooperative dance shoes. Soft-shoe dances like the Reel, Light Jig, and Single Jig are conquered before moving on to more advanced hard-shoe techniques in which students dance through steps, cross legs, and jump to the rhythms of Irish music. Teamwork skills are solidified during group dances where up to eight performers move in tandem, giving the floors a much-appreciated Swedish massage. After their beginner classes conclude, dancers can return for more advanced programs, compete in competitions hosted by the school, or try out for performance groups. Students are required to tie back hair, wear proper dance shoes, and bring a water bottle inscribed with their name and opinions on the best alternate uses for the pinky toe.
When they aren’t waltzing circles around the competition on dance floors across Canada and the United States, Oksana Ivanova-Shelkovyy, Yuriy Shelkovyy, and Ilya Maletin are running Dance With Us Ottawa, a school for ballroom and latin dance. During private, semiprivate, or group lessons, the dancers teach techniques with an individualized approach to each student regardless of a person’s age, experience, and number of left feet. Newlyweds-to-be can wow onlookers during their first dances with moves learned in wedding dance classes, and students looking for a fun way to get fit can find it in Zumba classes that provide cardio workouts while targeting glutes, arms, and cores with easy-to-follow Latin-inspired dance moves.