Fiona Tapp is a British Elementary School Teacher, who has called Ottawa home for the past 5 years. As a native Londoner, she tries to explore and enjoy Ottawa as a tourist, and so far is pretty impressed with this “tiny but brilliant” city!
If like me, you use the ad break during So You Think You Can Dance to prance around your living room pretending you are Canada’s favourite dancer, and enjoy shouting rhythmically “5,6,7,8” along to 80’s power ballads, then perhaps you should head on over to Ottawa’s friendliest dance studio, Dance with Alana, and throw some serious shapes out there.
One of the things I love most about Dance with Alana is the opportunity (if you dare) to perform; at socials held at the studio, at dance festivals and even venues such as nightclubs and bars. The two-headed dragon of performing for an audience is the nausea and palm sweating before you take to the stage and the euphoria after you leave, the latter always makes you forget the former….until next time.
Dance with Alana has recently moved to more fabulous digs at suite (lucky) 13, 1800 Bank St, there are two large studios, a comfy lounge area and free parking!
On Friday night a friend and I headed over to the studio for a trial of a new class, which may become permanent- Bollywood. I have always been interested in this energetic dance style after studying “Bollywood- Alternative Cinema” in college, and having enjoyed many a four hour Hindi epic on a Saturday morning.
The response was encouraging as the studio was full, and surprisingly there were quite a few men in attendance. The instructor introduced herself and allowed us to call her by her nickname, Beans, she warmed us up and began teaching us some basic moves and showed us how to hold our fingers in a Bollywood style. It’s amazing how the simple placement of a finger or turn of a wrist can embody an entire dance style, perhaps even an entire culture.
Beans was encouraging and gentle and reminded us constantly of how well we were doing. With lots of repetition we managed to master a short piece of choreography, which she extended at the end of the class to showcase some moves which hopefully we could learn next time. Despite only learning a short piece, we were all quite worn out by the end of the class, due to the repetition and energy required- it certainly was a good workout! The atmosphere was light-hearted, fun and relaxed; the music was uplifting and set the scene perfectly for my friend and me to yell “Jai Ho!” at each other for no reason in particular. We enjoyed the class, and definitely would like to learn more.
Dance With Alana studios offer classes in swing, tap, belly dance, ballroom, burlesque, hip-hop, salsa, dance fusion, yoga and zumba, as well as offering private dance lessons, bachelorette parties and more.
All the instructors at DWA are genuinely kind, fun people who want you to succeed and simply love to dance, the owner Alana, attracts positive people like moths to the flame and her exuberant and welcoming personality permeate the studio and immediately make newcomers feel at ease and regulars feel at home. She has succeeded in creating a happy, safe space for your inner bombshell to shine, and who knows maybe you are the next SYTYCD champion!
Amazing Fiona — you’re quickly becoming one of our most adventurous Local Tourists!