Dancing Through the Rogue Valley: Your Guide to Get Moving
Many of us have always imagined what it would be like to be a dancer: what does it feel like to exist in that space where athleticism meets raw creativity? How do you connect with a dance partner on a level that is fully communicative yet uses no words? How does she do that thing with her hips?!
When you’re new to it, a dance scene (or any creative scene, for that matter) can seem like a secret society: a lot of people seem to know what to do and where to go but not a lot of people are talking about it. “Oh, is there much dancing here?” is a question local dancers hear often. It’s also the question they constantly ask themselves. Dance scenes, like dance itself, are fluid but take a lot of work. Partner dancing, in particular, requires just that: partners.
For new or prospective dancers, the question is “Where do I even start?” What it actually takes is simply stepping onto the dance floor. This is exactly what dancing is: taking one step and then another.
Partner dancing is a great place to start. It instantly connects you with others, builds community, and is all kinds of fun. In the past weeks of exploring dance in the Rogue Valley, I’ve only scratched the surface. Classes come and go, sometimes offered in limited series. Special workshops pop up here and there. Local bands play, some regularly and some not. Venues have all kinds of floors and may or may not even have much of a space to dance.
Despite these challenges—from ever-changing schedules to concrete-clad dancefloors—it’s still just about taking those steps. Seek out a dance studio: Candela in Grants Pass or Evergreen Ballroom in Central Point, to name a couple. Be a groupie: find local bands who play dance-able music and follow them around. Attend a social dance: even if you don’t get right out on the dance floor, observe and talk to the people who do.
“When new dancers call me to ask about a dance class,” explained Melissa McRobbie, instructor at and owner of Candela Dance Studio, “they’re often concerned that they’re too inexperienced, or too ‘awkward’ to sign up. When they get to class, it’s easier than they think! So I would encourage brand-new dancers to take the leap and go to their first class.”
Dance Snapshot: Class & Practice
Salsa Rueda, Evergreen Ballroom, Central Point – Mondays at 7:30
Tango Practica, Community Center, Ashland – Tuesdays at 7:30
Intermediate Salsa, Candela Dance Studio, Grants Pass – Wednesdays at 6:30
Beginner Salsa, The Edge Nightclub, Medford – Thursdays at 8:00
Salsa Workshop with Ricardo Linnell, Candela Dance Studio, Grants Pass – March 26 at 1:30
Dance Snapshot: Social
Salsa Social, The Edge Nightclub, Medford – Thursdays at 9:00
Ashland Blues Society Jam (Live & Swing-able!), Little Brown Jug, Talent – alternating Tuesdays & Thursdays each week at 6:30
Robbie Dacosta (Live & Swing-able!), Smithfield’s Pub & Pies, Ashland – Mondays at 8:30 & Brickroom, Ashland – Wednesdays at 8:30
Bathtub Gin Serenaders (Live & Swing-able!), Brickroom, Ashland – March 26 at 9:00 (& more shows forthcoming!)
Salsa Brava (Live & Salsa-able!), Paschal Winery, Talent – April 2 at TBA (& more shows forthcoming!)
Band du Pays (Live & Swing-able!), Liquid Assets, Ashland & Paschal Winery, Talent – monthly
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies (Live & Seriously Swing-able!), Live at the Armory, Ashland – March 18 at 8:30