Captain Angela Dey has taught salsa dancing in her combat boots. Emily Heyne teaches swing dancing while wearing Converse shoes. They both love dancing so much they have been volunteering through the 4 Wing Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) to teach free salsa and swing dance classes.
The class size averages between six and fifteen people a week, but they are always looking for new dancers; especially men. Dey explains how the group started.
“In the fall of 2012, Captain Patel came back from a tour in Afghanistan, where he learned salsa. When he came back to Cold Lake, he didn’t have anyone to salsa dance with, so he decided to start this group and teach people.”
When Heyne was posted to Cold Lake in 2016, she was disappointed to learn the classes had temporarily stopped because there were no teachers, but when she heard the MFRC were open to other types of dance, she volunteered to teach swing. Heyne explained, “We are not a competitive group. Beginners can get caught up very quickly.” S
alsa classes (Dey teaches New York style salsa) consist of a warm up, and then the class learns three main steps. In swing dance classes, the group learns a variety of steps and then styling techniques involving arm and hip movements.
Although people can come to the classes alone (they run from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM), there are opportunities in the class to dance with other people. Heyne explains, “It’s not necessary to switch, but if you want to, it makes for a well-rounded experience because you can learn from others.”
Because the group runs throughout the year, (with an occasion break in the summer) the group has had guest teachers if someone happens to be out of town. Andy and Joanne Minty, who have taken the class for six years, were one couple who volunteered to be guest teachers.
“We found this club after moving here from Calgary. After dancing so much in Calgary, this group gives us our dance fix.”
The dancers include civilians and military personnel, but the teachers noticed numbers pick up around wedding season, Valentine’s day, and Maple Flag. Dey said, “The dance classes have been a big success during Maple Flag. We have had dancers from Brazil, France, and the United States. They came to dance and they didn’t want to leave. They wanted more dancing!”
Anyone is welcome to watch a class, attend a class, (the new schedule is below) or meet the class at the social dances that happen every second Wednesday at the 4 Wing Officers’ Mess. And for people who want to dance the two-step, the class also dances at the Cold Lake Bullarama.
Heyne and Dey want to stress that there are no special clothing or shoe requirements for any of the classes and you don’t need prior dance experience. “I’ve seen people who went from tripping over their own feet to becoming efficient dancers,” explained Dey. “If you can walk or march, you can dance,” she stated.
Schedule of Events:
Mar 28: Social Dance @ 4 Wing Officers’ Mess Des Officiers De La 4e Escadre.
Apr 2: Holiday
Apr 9: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (salsa)
Apr 11: Social Dance @ 4 Wing Officers’ Mess Des Officiers De La 4e Escadre.
Apr 16: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (salsa)
Apr 23: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (swing)
Apr 25: Social Dance @ 4 Wing Officers’ Mess Des Officiers De La 4e Escadre.
Apr 30: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (salsa)
May 7: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (swing)
May 9: Social Dance @ 4 Wing Officers’ Mess Des Officiers De La 4e Escadre.
May 14: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (salsa)
May 21: Holiday
May 23: Social Dance @ 4 Wing Officers’ Mess Des Officiers De La 4e Escadre.
May 28: Class @ 4 Wing MFRC – Cold Lake (swing)