Dancing for a cause

Social dancers in the Comox Valley are gearing up for the ninth annual Dance de Rock from Sept. 14 to 16.

Social dancers in the Comox Valley are gearing up for the ninth annual Dance de Rock from Sept. 14 to 16 — when they’ll swing, cha cha and two-step for a good cause.

Dance de Rock is a fundraiser for cancer-related charities in the Comox Valley. The concept is simple: Dancers purchase passes, and then choose from 18 different workshops offered by world-class instructors.

Like Mario (Swing Daddy) Robau, and his wife Stephanie. Mario is the youngest person ever inducted into the Swing Dance Hall of Fame, and a return instructor this year. Valley dancers won’t want to miss the chance to take classes with this amazing Houston-based instructor, who may not make it back to the Valley for many years to come.

Then there is Jim Minty — the Friendly Giant of the dance world, and the smoothest dancer you will ever see. At his studio in Edmonds, Wash., he helps dancers at all levels how to feel and move with their partner on the dance floor.

Calgary-based Gerald and Robin Cote round out the instructor’s list, and bring an unparalleled level of experience and instruction to this year’s Dance de Rock.

All of the instructors are professional dancers with tremendous knowledge and experience to share with students. That variety and level of instruction attracts dancers from all over Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Two evening dances (with DJ) give participants plenty of time to practice everything they’ve learned, while raffles and draws offer many ways to raise money. All proceeds go to charities like the Tour de Rock and Hope A Float.

This combination of dance and fundraising has resulted in $94,000 in donations over the past eight years.

“When we started this event, I said 10 years or $100,000,” says Keith Foraie, who along with his wife Holly, started the Dance de Rock. “This year, it looks like we’re going to top $100,000.”

A big part of that success is due to the traditional head shave — when a few brave souls pledge to shave their heads in return for donations to the Tour de Rock. Many — like last year’s pledge Cathy Snyder of the Comox Valley Record — do it for family or friends that have experienced, or are living with, cancer.

“We have such amazing people in our dance community,” says Holly Foraie. “The camaraderie is really special, and it’s what makes our event so great. We want everyone to come out and experience what social dance is like in our community.”

That’s quite the invitation, especially to anyone that might never have danced before. However, the Foraies have the answer to that — for the first time they’re offering a special spectator’s pass just for beginners. The pass gives new dancers the chance to try a couple of workshops, and then come see what it’s all about at Friday night’s dance.

“We really want everyone who’s ever been interested in trying social dance to come out and feel welcome,” says Keith. “And we want them to come out and dance for a great cause.”

For more information, go to www.dancederock.ca or contact Keith or Holly Foraie by phone at 250-871-2513 or by e-mail at dancederock@shaw.ca.

— Dance de Rock

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