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”
Over the years, there have been various attempts to organize dance groups in Prince George. In many cases, these 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. Fortunately we were able to “redirect” those pretenders, and send them on their merry way to form their own dance group. Whether they realise it or not, their spanking resulted in a win-win for all concerned, as both groups can now be happy in the knowledge that they have their own identity and total autonomy. Dance North can 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, despite the discordant, designing efforts of wayward pretenders.
Notwithstanding our challenges, we have continued to develop and diversify. Between the two evenings, we now cover many different dance styles. Friday nights focus on the more traditional International Ballroom dance styles associated with strictly ballroom, 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 East Coast Swing (ECS), West Coast Swing (WCS), 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 off 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 this 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 ever 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 a number of 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 even 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.
Things are looking up in our dance world – this is a stimulating time for dancers, as more and more individuals are getting involved, developing and expanding those opportunities in an unprecedented way, thanks to leaders like Judy Russell and her mom who have created strong incentives and opportunities. 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