History of Our dances
In March 2005 we started these dances because the only places for Ballroom, Latin, Country & Swing dances was Maggie Bretton’s Friday dances and Bill McKinnon’s Saturday dances. Using what they did we took it one step further with a bigger food layout and “Top 40” music. Our luck was that locally we had a fabulous hall with a big floor!
During the first year our dances featured “Themed Music” for the first hour. If the theme was Country, we featured dance styles using Country music. Dancers didn’t prefer that! We built our first version of www.ilovetodance.ca website.
In this hall we had big lighting issues, so in Dec 2006 we stumbled across a $3,000 chandelier that we picked up for $1,000. Half we paid for and half was donations from dance friends, and was installed by dance buddy Zale and an electrician who donated his time. It’s so popular with the RMSS residents that everyone uses it and we named our hall “RMSS Ballroom”
In 2008 as the popularity of our dances increased we went to 2 dances a month, but in 2011 went back to a more reasonable one dance a month as Robyn Picard and I were hired by Cascades Casino to run their “1st Saturday of the month” Dinner Dance and a lot of other dances had started throughout the lower mainland.
From 2006 to 2009 we hosted six dances with live bands featuring Rick Noel’s Cadence, The Bruce James Orchestra and Patrizia Colletta, but found that dancers preferred our “canned” music because of the variety we can offer, so we haven’t had live bands since.
In mid 2010 we changed to a 1 1/2 hour lesson format still with Beg/Int lessons. It wasn’t that popular so starting in 2011 we changed our lesson format to a one hour Intermediate lesson. The idea was that Robyn would offer a beginner lesson at her Friday dances, then we’d offer the same dance style and offer an Intermediate lesson.
In early 2008 we hosted three “Sunday Tea Dances” featuring primarily Latin music with minimal food and a $10 price. They weren’t that successful!
Mid 2010 because of numerous requests from Country/WCS dancers we hosted to “bare minimum” dances. We offered a 46’ x 100’ long floor with chairs around the edge, basic munchies, water, coffee & tea for $5.00 and fabulous Country, WCS, Country triple 2, Single ?Rhythm Jive, Triple Rhythm Jive, Rumba and NC 2-step. Despite the price and floor size attendance was dismal. The Country/WCS crowd didn’t show up and our regulars told us to stop trying to re-invent the wheel!
In July 2011 Maggie and I hosted the lower mainland's first ever “Battle of the DJ’s” It was such a success we still doing it. The format has been tried by other dance hosts but all have failed.
As we didn’t have a 2013 Valentines dance as our regular hall wasn’t available, we co-hosted two dances at Byron’s Heritage hall. We held a Valentines Dance and an Easter dance and it was a test to see if our format would work in metro Vancouver. The Easter dance coincided with other dances, but was pretty successful, and the Easter dance was packed!
Special dances are just that! Our Valentines Dances & Xmas dances are more decorated, we sometimes give away prizes and have an even bigger food layout with a price of $30 and the bigger floor.
New Years. Our first NY dance was “Elegance”, we decorated and offered some hot food. Our 2nd NY was a “Pink Panther” theme and we gave away genuine 11”-18” Pink Panthers! Our 3rd NY featured cloth table cloths, chair covers and a catered meal. Our next three NY events featured a “Cruise Ship” running theme. The first year (see our website), we were on a Cruise ship. The first hour was in a “ballroom”, the 2nd hour on the “Lido Deck” complete with patio lanterns, and the 3rd hour was in the Disco featuring the appropriate lighting. The 2nd year we “cruised” down to New Orleans and danced in the streets of Mardi Gras. The 3rd year something happened to our ship and we were stranded on a tropical island Beach Theme! Decorating for these three dances was an enormous task, so the last 2 years have just been beautiful decorating and great food.
After our Pink Panther NY dance we were attracting dancers from all over the lower mainland and getting email address’s form dancers all over the lower mainland, so our newsletters began to include dance news from the entire lower mainland (over 1,200 dancers now) & not just from the Tri Cities & became a weekly Monday mail out. This was changed in 2012 to a cleaner more informative layout. I also added on my website a Google Calendar that shows all the places you can dance 7 days a week.
In Apr—Aug 2013 we tried something new for the “obscure” dances. From 6:00-7:)0 we will play alternately Bachata, Argentine Tango and Cross Step Waltz music. From 6:15 to 7:00 Robyn Picard will be on hand to help NOT to teach, but to help you with your technique and steps. Then as usual her and Donn will teach an intermediate dance lesson, HOWEVER at 7:50 she’ll teach a “Dance Quickie” for 10 minutes—a simple move to add to your repertoire, like a dip, or a variation, or something that can be used in different dance styles. In Sept we’ll review this and if popular try 3 other dances to work on.
In the last half of 2014 we ramped up our food to see if we could increase membership and discontinued it starting in 2016 except for the 3 bigger dances - Valentines, Xmas & New Years. Food prices in late 2015 got much too expensive. We also offered FREE dances for anyone who's never been to our dances as long as they signed up for our email.
In 2015 we offered Argentine Tango music 6:30-7:00, and due to lack of support changed it to Country 2-step & Country Triple 2 with Triple 2 lessons from Robyn Picard