Thanks to the onslaught of reality TV dance shows, the answer to So You Think You Can Dance? is ‘Yes.’
“A lot of people have always wanted to learn how to dance but didn’t feel it was right for them,” says Sharon Galor, owner of Toronto Dance Salsa Inc. “Then they see it on TV and think, why not?”
Specializing in beginners, Toronto Dance Salsa has grown from 300 to 1,500 students a semester within the past five years. Galor is particularly thankful to Dancing with the Stars. “You’re taking someone who’s never danced before and within a few weeks you’re seeing them progress. It’s really inspiring to watch.”
It’s a progression she tries to emulate in the nine-week course. “You start off as an absolute beginner, meaning you don’t even know the basic steps. We go through teaching basic steps into basic turns into combinations and by the end of the month, you can feel comfortable going out to a salsa club or a social event and being able to actually dance to the songs.”
Classes are made up of 40 people and can be taken in a couple or as an individual.
Ilona Kamecki, owner and teacher of Dance District, agrees that group dances are a lot of fun but offers a more individual approach. “I prefer people to have at least three or four private lessons before they go to any clubs,” says Kamecki. “First, they need to learn about themselves and who they are on the dance floor, (and) what kind of mistakes they’re making and how to correct them.”
But the bottom line is having fun. Like most dance schools in the city, both Toronto Dance Salsa and Dance District have dance parties anywhere from once a week to once a month, where their students can put their moves into play.
“People don’t realize how much dancing can give them,” says Kamecki. “The opportunity to dance with someone and be close and talk is a very important part of our lives.”