After years of working various sedentary jobs around the country Karen Klassen is on a quest to regain her fitness in a way that she loves — through dance.
As a young woman living in Toronto, Klassen developed a passion for couples dancing and in particular ballroom, Latin, and international dance styles.
Her training includes seven years with Jeff Hansen the North American champion working at Sam Fuda’s Studio Cabaret.
Klassen competed at the gold level, winning two divisions and dancing in six showcases held in Toronto.
After years of working various sedentary clerk and accounting jobs around Canada, Klassen decided that in retirement she would get back into shape and then start teaching dance again.
But then she thought, why not dance her way back into shape teaching others to enjoy dance as much as she does.
“As a baby boomer I decided that instead of waiting to get fit again before I taught dance, I would enjoy my passion and teach and dance my way back to fitness,” Klassen says.
And she thought others might also enjoy getting and staying fit by learning to dance so to that end she is offering a six-week beginner’s dance course to help them do just that.
The course is called Dancing Around the World and starts Tuesday, Oct. 14 at Concrete Fitness.
Classes will run 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
She says couples are welcome but people don’t need to have a partner to participate.
She specializes in teaching techniques that help people who think they have “two left feet” to relax and enjoy dancing.
During the six weeks she says students will start with the slow, elegant waltz, then move into the faster Viennese Waltz, and then the related French Minuet.
Klassen will also demonstrate many other dance styles during the course with many interesting facts and histories of various dances and their cultural roots.
Admission is free for Concrete Fitness members and $10 per session on a drop-in basis for non-members.
Klassen has 10 years and 10,000 hours experience teaching Latin American/Ballroom and International dancing.
Most of her private dance lessons over the past few years have been to prepare teens for their grad dances, couples and families for weddings and other special occasions such as ladies’ nights, staff parties and wellness/anti-stress workshops, and for school groups.
She has also spent the past 10 years studying and collecting dance patterns and music from all over the world and teaches a wide variety of dances from basic Fox Trot, to old-time schottisches and polkas to Mambo, Salsa, Samba, Lambada and Cha Cha to the Argentine tango, Country Two Step, and the basics of traditional folk dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, India, Caribbean and more.
Klassen returned to Toronto in 2004/05 for some upgrading in Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Cuban; Hip Hop; Irish set; and belly dancing.