Graeme and I started the Urban Beat Dance Company 21 years ago.
It was a place of acceptance and learning. We have taught tens of thousands of people to dance. Some of you started with us in the early days and are still finding it your place of joy and connection with others. That is something that we have been blessed to celebrate with you.
Graeme and I met at the very first social dance I attended. Sweet odds. We married 9 years later.
At some point after we met, Graeme began teaching, was a natural, and went on to create the most successful social dance school in Vancouver. The National Post crowned him "the King of Swing" and I had the good fortune to witness and support that successful rise.
A few years ago a lot of that changed when Graeme retired. That was hard.
Then Pamela ventured out on her own. That, too, was hard but a good change for her.
But there have been some wonderful transitions too. James and others continued to DJ many of our dances, which helped sustain and grow our dances. Zoltan supported my classes and that was excellent. It has been fun for me to work with him and watch his dancing mature. I owe him a lot of thanks. (You should contact him about west coast swing classes and dances once isolation restrictions ease.)
So then .... covid-19.
This is a situation that affects us all. As you know, I shut down the classes and social dances early and tried to do my part with instigating social distancing at the request of our provincial medical office. We are lucky to live in a transparent society that provides honest accounts of the infection rates and is making recommendations to limit the spread. It is important to be good citizens and to follow these recommendations.
But the future doesn't look good. Limiting exposure will likely continue for quite some time and there is a chance of a renewed epidemic in the fall.
I can no longer continue to prop up the business until who knows when.
And so, after 21 years, I am shutting down Urban Beat.
Thanks to all of you. You have made us what we were. You have been a significant part of my life. I hope we offered you a safe and happy place to dance, find friendships, and express some passion for music and your soul.
Be kind to one another. Be good to yourself.
I look forward to dancing with you once again.
It has been the most amazing ride.