GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – Garry Janes is bringing the jive back to Grand Falls-Windsor on Wednesday nights, starting Jan. 17 at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium.
Old-school dance classes will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. for the next 10 weeks.
Janes grew up in a time when dancing was all the rage on a Saturday night, and local dance floors were burning up with teenagers and adults getting their groove on.
Those Saturday night dances are now a thing of the past, and Janes blames “the shake” for killing dance.
“It put people five feet apart from each other, no one learned to dance anymore,” he said.
Janes and his dance partner were longing for a place to go dancing and to just kick back and have fun, so they decided to start up the dance class.
He went to the town to ask about a space since there were no local weekend dances taking place. The town recognized an opportunity and Janes' willingness to teach and ran with it, developing a 10-week class.
For anyone with doubts as to whether they should sign up, Janes says to just do it.
“Get out there and dance. If you’re out waltzing with your wife, you’re just one body,” he said, adding that dancing can really make relationships stronger.
But you don’t have to bring a spouse to lessons – you can bring your 15-year-old son or brother, your 75-year-old grandpa or your uncle, even your best friend or sister, he said. Anyone is welcome.
Janes is not a professionally trained dancer, but as a teenager in the 1960s, his brother taught him to jive in the kitchen. He spent every weekend thereafter burning up the dance floors in his hometown of Harbour Grace. While Janes is not an instructor by trade, in his retirement he has been instructing a drivers' safety course, a motorcycle course and dance classes.
“Instructing has sort of become my thing now in my retirement years…whether you’re teaching somebody how to drive a motorcycle, drive a car or how to dance, you do it in just little baby steps, or just little pieces at a time,” he said.
It takes time and patience, but Janes says he will give participants as much help as they need. For anyone reluctant to register, Janes offers a bit of advice.
“Come on in, it’s not as hard as you think. We’re not going to be doing the salsa, we’re not going to be doing the rumba, we’re not going to be doing anything that’s fancy,” he said.
“There’s no dips, there’s no throwing over the shoulder, none of that. It’s not ballroom dancing – this is something where you can go down to the Legion or down to a wedding and get out on the floor and keep beat to the music.”
For those looking to show off on the dance floor at the next wedding they attend, contact Janes at 486-4911 or firstname.lastname@example.org