Shall we dance, Scarborough?

Some people do it in the shower. Some do it behind closed doors. Others prefer to do it alone while still others do it with multiple partners.  Whether we like to admit it or not, our bodies simply cannot resist the urge to dance.

On Saturday, Shall We Dance studios in Scarborough showcased their professional dance programs to community members at their seventh anniversary celebration.  Dancers, both professional and recreational, showed visitors just how fun and challenging dancing can be with their synchronized moves.

Having been in the business for seven years shows the community’s strong interest in dance, Egor Belashov, manager of the studio, said.

“Most studios only last a year or two so that means we’re doing something right,” Belashov said.

“My philosophy is everyone can dance.  Some better, some worse,” he said.

“It’s a very good social activity.  It makes a difference in people’s lives.”

After dancing at a young age in Russia where he owned his own studio, Belashov moved to Canada and within weeks, he began teaching at Shall We Dance studios.

Years later, he and the owner of the studio, Maria Golovanevski, became dance partners.  In 2008, the two became Canadian National Champions in American ballroom dancing.

Belashov has seen the effect dance has on many of the studio’s members.

“When people come in with bad life situations like after divorces or after their beloved kids left for college, their lives are empty and we put them back on track,” he said.

“They get new friends, they enjoy dancing and it becomes their long-term hobby. So, it’s a life-changing experience for them. They find something they don’t have in their everyday [lives].”

Located at Victoria Park and McNicoll Ave, the studio welcomes members from all over the GTA to learn various forms of dance.  Golovanevski believes Scarborough’s diversity contributes significantly to the studio’s success.

“[You see Scarborough’s diversity] 100 per cent.  We have quite a good mix here.  We’re at the border of North York, Markham and Scarborough.  We have clients in Richmond hill, Markham, downtown Toronto and even Ajax,” she said.

Natasha and Slava Fedorov began dancing together after the birth of their second child.  Although they had each danced on and off for 10 years, the couple was looking for more of a serious and competitive dance.  Now, Natasha, an account executive and Slava, a sales manager, specialize and compete in international ballroom and Latin dance in their spare time.

“I think it’s spiritually a very nurturing thing,” Natasha said.

“It’s great to try to do something beautiful and to strive for perfection. And at the same time, it’s very healthy.  It’s a lot of working out.”

Each week the couple practices between six to eight hours and notes that it takes nearly 2,000 attempts before nailing a move down pat.  Despite Slava’s extensive competitive athletic past in both martial arts and volleyball, he believes dancing is the most challenging of them all.

“I didn’t have to practice eight hours a week in volleyball to become a really good player,” he said.

“It’s really eye-opening when you try it first and it takes lots of hard work to actually get somewhere but it’s enormously rewarding.”
Like Slava, Golovanevski says dancing offers more than just physical fitness.

“I believe it’s self development, no one thinks about that,” she said.

“…It’s a learning curve.  It’s good for your body, your brain and your memory.  It’s constant self development through dancing.”

Each week, Shall We Dance offers adults of all talent levels to learn various styles of dance, including international ballroom and Latin, Argentinean tango, salsa, meringue, waltz and cha-cha.