Swing into lunch

Char­lot­te­town cou­ple teach­ing west coast swing danc­ing for free at Con­fed­er­a­tion Court Mall

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART

Rod and Laura Weather­bie are invit­ing peo­ple to put their forks down and put on their dance shoes.

The Char­lot­te­town cou­ple has started up P.E.I. Hus­tle, teach­ing west coast swing danc­ing ev­ery Wednes­day at noon at Con­fed­er­a­tion Court Mall, in the cen­tral part of the food court area.

The Weather­bies aren’t pro­fes­sional in­struc­tors, but they’ve had plenty of prac­tice at danc­ing them­selves.

“We teach so­cial danc­ing. We’re not pro­fes­sional teach­ers, but we took a great deal of lessons. So we’ve been danc­ing for a long time and we wanted to kind of

“We’re not pro­fes­sional teach­ers, but we took a great deal of lessons. So we’ve been danc­ing for a long time and we wanted to kind of spread the word that peo­ple don’t have to be pro­fes­sional dancers in or­der to dance on P.E.I.” Laura Weather­bie

spread the word that peo­ple don’t have to be pro­fes­sional dancers in or­der to dance on P.E.I.,’’ Laura Weather­bie said.

They had been teach­ing lit­tle pro­grams like west coast swing for more than two years when an idea struck them as they were walk­ing through the mall.

“We just kept walk­ing through Con­fed­er­a­tion Court Mall (and ob­serv­ing) that noth­ing is hap­pen­ing in this food court. We need to dance here.’’

So, they reached out to Jay Noble, marketing co-or­di­na­tor with Dyne Hold­ings, which op­er­ates the mall, with a re­quest to teach classes.

He liked the idea and classes be­gan ear­lier this month. The pro­gram will run through July and Au­gust.

“And, it’s free. Any­one who wants to come in can come in and take a les­son and find out what it’s all about.’’

Noble said he thinks it’s a great ad­di­tion to the mall.

“Con­fed­er­a­tion Court Mall is de­lighted to of­fer them the space,’’ Noble said in an email to The Guardian.

“It’s a won­der­ful lit­tle event for the com­mu­nity and for the many of­fice work­ers in the sur­round­ing area.’’

Weather­bie said the west coast swing grew out of a cou­ple of other styles — the lindy hop and the east coast swing, an up and bub­bly kind of rock ’n’roll­style of mu­sic.

“This is a lit­tle more laid back,’’ she said, re­fer­ring to the west coast swing they teach on Wed­nes­days. “It can be danced to coun­try mu­sic or dances to blues or to mod­ern pop and is some­thing that is very, very pop­u­lar in other cities.’’

And the Wednes­day classes uti­lize a space in the food court that is nor­mally wide open any­way.

She said most peo­ple have been quite cu­ri­ous about what was go­ing on when they stum­bled onto the first two classes.

“The first week we didn’t have any sig­nage or any­thing, so some peo­ple were a lit­tle con­fused as to what was hap­pen­ing. Last week . . . we were ap­proached by a few peo­ple who hung back and watched the les­son but said ‘We’re com­ing back next week and we’re go­ing to join in’.’’

P.E.I. Hus­tle will be bring­ing in Steven James for a dance week­end, Aug. 11-13, at the Char­lot­te­town fire hall with lessons start­ing at 7 p.m. It’s $8 for a les­son and the dance or $5 for the dance only.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to Face­book.com/PEI Hus­tle.

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

Rod and Laura Weather­bie are giv­ing west coast swing dance lessons ev­ery Wednes­day at Con­fed­er­a­tion Court Mall in Char­lot­te­town. The lessons, which are free, take place in the cen­tral part of the food court from 12:05 to 12:50 p.m.

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