Who We Are – Club History
The BCSDC is 20 years old and going strong! How our Club danced its way into history!
In 1997, during a barbecue at Maggie Bretton’s house, four people came together and decided that Vancouver needed a swing dance club of its own. Larry Wolf, Sharole Lashe, Christopher Desjardins and J.J. Johnston formed a board of directors, picked a name (North West Swing Dance Club), held the first club meeting and hammered out a plan.
We used the Seattle Swing Club as our model – Thank you Seattle! Then we had meetings, more meetings and even more meetings. It seemed like we were never going to get off the ground, but opening day finally arrived on November 11, 1997, and the North West Swing Dance Club was born.
Opening night was a success. We held our first dance at the Centennial Lodge in Queens Park, and we knew right away that we had started something great! People danced all night and were very excited to have a place to go and dance West Coast Swing (WCS). The growing pains started soon after. We realized we had to keep the momentum going, but found that four people could not do it alone. We needed help!
We started to recruit people: Stuart Ho, and Susan Leek came on board to help with accounting and membership. The workload got smaller, or so it seemed, for a while. Then new ideas were put into effect and more people had to be recruited; soon we had a Board of Directors that consisted of eight people and the Club was moving along very well, better than we expected.
We were growing so fast that soon we had to find a bigger place to hold our dances. The directors found a new location at The Firefighters’ Club in Burnaby. With five thousand square feet of dance floor, tables, chairs and a stage for the DJ, it was a dream come true. That was our home until 2005 when we had to move again and temporarily used the Polish Hall, in Vancouver, for our dances in 2006.
The dance scene In Vancouver has changed a lot since the Club started. Back then, we were the only place in town where dancers could go to indulge in their WCS addiction. Over the years many other venues came on line and by 2005 there were so many venues in Vancouver that one could dance WCS almost every night of the week.
In response to this and other challenges, the directors undertook a major strategic planning process in the summer of 2006 facilitated by Natalia Bouvier. We looked at everything we could do to build on our strengths & overcome our challenges. This led to another change of venue, a move to Saturday nights instead of Sundays, and a change of name – BC Swing Dance Club.
In January 2007 we settled in the beautiful ballroom of the new Confederation Centre in North Burnaby, where we generally hold dances once a month. At around 4,500 sq ft our new home is a cozy venue with a great dance floor and a low stage, lots of seating, lovely French doors to an outside patio, access to a kitchen and plenty of parking. The location and dance night change led to a re-invigoration of our attendance and now the Club is stronger than ever!
We always look forward to seeing you, dancing with you, and learning new moves.
They say if you keep on dancing, you never grow old. Become part of the BCSDC history and keep on dancing!