WEEKEND: Community dance slated for Saturday

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — To warm people up for a winter of swing, two-step and beyond, the Just for Fun Dance group will host another community dance with the Soulshakers this Saturday night.

Admission is $5 per person for the music and dancing from 6 p.m. till 10 p.m. at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 W. Fourth St.

The Soulshakers, featuring vocalist Cindy Lowder, guitarist Mike Pace, bassist Duane Wolfe, drummer Terry Smith and keyboard player Jim Rosand, play rhythm and blues by the likes of James Brown, Howlin’ Wolf and Stevie Wonder at this all-ages party.

A snack table is set up for dancers to bring food to share; water is provided too.

Singles, couples and families are invited to the party, where they can find out about the dance classes to start next Wednesday night with instructor Steve Johnson.

“These are very beginning classes,” Johnson said, “in mostly East Coast swing, mixed with some country two-step. I’m going to cater to the beginning people,” and charge $5 per class or $30 for the eight-week series.

Johnson will lead the starter sessions from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. each Wednesday, Jan. 9 through Feb. 27, at the Port Angeles Senior & Community Center, 328 E. Seventh St.

Also, for 30 minutes before class and 30 minutes after, he’ll play recorded music for those who want to do more dancing.

“People can come and practice, ask questions, socialize,” he said, adding that these half-hour bookends can speed dancers’ progress significantly.

Johnson’s classes and the Just for Fun community dances feed each other: money raised by the classes helps pay for the bands at the dances.

“I think it’s a pretty good system,” he said.

Last year, Johnson taught 16 weeks of classes and brought in enough to pay the musicians for four gatherings, including the one with the Soulshakers this Saturday night.

“My students get to go to the dances for free,” Johnson added. “Everybody else pays $5.”

He hopes to have four more dances this year and said he’ll play it by ear on when to schedule them. Johnson prefers to host events that don’t coincide with other dances around Port Angeles.

But sometimes the Vern Burton Community Center is only available on a date when another dance is planned, as in this Saturday when the Black Diamond Community Hall has its monthly contra dance.

In classes and dances, Johnson said, he’s learning right along with his students. The key “is to have fun; that’s why they’re called Just for Fun.”

Last modified: January 03. 2013 6:27PM
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