Tango classes returning this fall

Heather Stranks and Jens Goerner of City Dance dance studio, Vernon, demonstrating their move to Sun Peaks Tango participants.Photo supplied.

It takes two to tango, but a few more to make a class.

Last spring, a small group of Sun Peaks residents arranged a tango lesson to great success, and unanimously decided to make it a regular fixture.

Spearheaded by Dr. Shane Barclay, medical director of the Sun Peaks Family Practice, the initiative bloomed into Sun Peaks Tango, a group devoted to hosting regular tango classes in the community, starting this fall.

The initial dance session in May comprised of 10 people, according to Barclay.

“It was a blast.

“We didn’t have enough people to continue (classes) through the summer, but now that fall is coming we’re hoping to get started again in October,” he said.

The seasonal population change isn’t the only challenge Sun Peaks Tango faced in getting started.

“The initial problem was finding an instructor,” Barclay said. “Even though there are multiple dance studios in Kamloops, no-one teaches Argentine tango.”

Luckily the group found two instructors from City Dance dance studio in Vernon willing to travel to Sun Peaks to teach the group’s preferred style.

“The biggest challenge,” revealed Barclay, “was to find a place in Sun Peaks with a non-carpeted floor. The problem with any kind of carpet is that you don’t slide on it, and tango requires, particularly the woman, to slide her feet.”

After discovering all of Sun Peaks’ hotels have only carpeted flooring, the group fell back on Burfield Lodge as a venue for their first meet. Moving forward, Barclay hopes to use the shiny floor of the medical centre for classes.

While dates are yet to be confirmed, the tango sessions are likely to be held once a month from October through to the beginning of next summer, with the possibility of continuing the classes year-round if numbers allow.

Tango participants are not required to bring a partner, and do not have to attend every session.

“It’s very relaxed, and the instructing is such that you don’t need to be there every time… (the instructors) are quite happy to teach beginner and intermediate all at the same time,” Barclay said.

The sessions cost $30 per person for four hours of dancing over two sessions, and there are no age limits.

“In Argentina, they start as soon as you can walk,” said Barclay, by way of explaining the open door policy. The only requirement of participants is that they wear non-grip shoes.

Longer term, Barclay said he hopes the venture can expand enough to allow for a Sun Peaks summer tango festival; a smaller scale model of those held annually in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

“Tango has its own subculture. It’d be great to have a big thing up here.”

For more information, or to subscribe to the Sun Peaks Tango mailing list, contact Barclay at sunpeakstango@gmail.com.