Dance instructor Russell Younger watches closely as students and parents try out some new steps at a ballroom dance lesson held at Golden Secondary School.

Looking to the past for a new way to dance

Kicking up their heels has taken on a new meaning at Golden Secondary School.

A group of students from Golden Secondary School will be putting on a special performance at the Masque Parade this year showing off their ballroom dancing talents.

The group has been gathering three times a week over the last month and a half to learn about many different dances from waltzes to swing.

Gillian Bunnell and Mark Soles are both Grade 12 students who have been learning some new dance moves from Ann and Russell Younger.

“I have always looked at my mom and my dad. They always dance around the house. I really wanted to learn that but there has never been classes. Then Claire deBoer came along and said they were doing this for the Masque Parade. It was a perfect opportunity to get everybody into it. It was a good time and a new experience,” Bunnell said.

“I am good friends with Claire deBoer. She was very excited about this and when I heard about it I said I would like to learn how to dance. I thought this was a great chance,” Soles said. “I have really enjoyed it. I have learned a lot about it. My favourite dance is the swing because I play in a rockabilly band and it is neat to dance to the the music that I play.”

Ann and Russell Younger have taken on the challenge of teaching the students the dances they will perform at the parade.

Russell and Ann have a long history of dancing and Russell has a coaching background.

“I have always been a dancer. It is just fun. It really warms my heart to see young people or anybody that wants to learn something new,” Russell said. “This is great. These kids are just super and they are having a great time. They are fast learners.”

Russell has been impressed by how quickly the students have picked up the dances but also enjoys watching them come up with their own moves as they become more comfortable on the dance floor.

Some of the students are also looking forward to using what they are learning at their graduation ceremony later.

“At grad there is always a daughter and father dance or mother and son dance. For the Masque Parade we will get the chance to dance around the big fire and will be in costumes. It is going to be quite the show with teenagers and ballroom dancing. You do not see that everyday,” Bunnell said. “It is going to be very cool to be dancing around.”

Bunnell went on to say the classes have been a great place to learn the dances because people are having fun and not stressing out over making mistakes.

As for the dancing at the Masque Parade Soles said, “I am stoked. I figure the amount of people that really know how to dance these days, even if you only know a few moves, it won’t be an embarrassing thing. I don’t mind being in the spotlight.”

He went on to praise Ann and Russell for what they have been doing. “Russ and Ann are great. They are good teachers and have been good for the whole group.”