Blogger Jenn Carson woke her patrons out of their winter hibernation with a hugely popular ballroom dancing class.
I don't know what it's like in January or February where you live, but here in Woodstock, N.B., Canada, it is cold and dark, and everyone seems to be hibernating. When they do venture out to get essential supplies (like books!), there is a lot of complaining about the weather.
In these long months of winter, when there are only eight or nine hours of light per day and the temperature dips 20 or 30 degrees below freezing, our patrons are desperately looking for fun things to do indoors — even better if it involves some much-needed exercise. Based on this, I thought: I wonder if anyone in town offers ballroom dance lessons? What better way to have fun, get moving and try something new?
I asked around and found the name of a local teacher, Deborah Helle, who said that she wasn't currently teaching but would love to, and was willing to do it for free if I could get some couples interested. So we picked some dates for a six-week program and decided to do a preliminary post on Facebook to see who might be interested. By the end of the day, our sign-up sheet was full, and by the end of the week we had over 8,000 views on Facebook. (Not bad for a town with a population of 5,000!)
The program turned out to be a wonderful success. The students learned to foxtrot, waltz, tango, swing and more! Couples were all ages, from newlyweds to retired lovebirds. We also opened it to singles so that anyone could come, whether or not they had a partner. We had everyone sign a liability waiver, as well as a photo release. To thank Deborah for all of her effort and enthusiasm, I presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers as colorful as she is. (View more photos from the program.)
In fact, the program was so popular our waiting list swelled to over 40 people, and our phone rang constantly. So we decided to offer the program again in the spring and are planning for a summer session as well. What started as an effort to encourage physical activity during the long winter months has turned into an ongoing program that is getting patrons out of the house, building connections and celebrating our bodies.