There’s a new dance studio in Charlottetown, and it’s just for grownups who want to have fun.
DownStreet Dance Studio, in a large new boxy building on the outskirts of the city — it’s in the same building as DFO — is the Island’s first destination for what’s known as social dance, a scene that’s popular around the world.
‘You will be introduced to a welcoming community of people that just want to dance.’
— Robert Van Waarden
“It’s a brand-new concept for Prince Edward Island,” said Laura Weatherbie, a dance instructor who’s been helping get the business off the ground.
DownStreet teaches fun and lively dances such as swing, lindy hop, hustle and hip hop for fun and recreation, not competition.
“It’s an idea that’s time has come,” said Robert Van Waarden, who teaches lindy hop. “People are seeking connection with other people, real connection beyond the computer screen — and in the winter in P.E.I., a reason to get out and avoid the weather.”
DownStreet is owned by Elizabeth Lan Lan, a corporate lawyer from Beijing, China, who came to P.E.I. recently through the Provincial Nominee Program, under which immigrants must create a new business on the Island in exchange for residency.
“We really hope it’s going to be successful,” Weatherbie said. “We love it so much, we just hope it’s infectious — that other people love it.”
‘A real social network’
Weatherbie and her husband Rod moved to Toronto for several years where they encountered lots of opportunities and venues for social dancing. Similarly, for about 20 years. Van Waarden and his wife for about lived off-Island, where the couple danced avidly.
“It wasn’t until we came back to the Island we realized a lot of the music was people sitting in chairs and tapping their feet when there’s some amazing music on the Island — people…