When Whitney Aguirre graduated with a degree in dance from Cornish College of the Arts she noticed something was missing in Seattle’s dance scene. There are numerous dance schools for children. There are classes for adults who want to learn swing and ballroom dancing, and belly dancing is gaining popularity. There are several local studios with vibrant modern dance programs, but many of the classes are geared toward women with dance backgrounds, even professionals. It seemed to her that classes for women with no dance background were lacking.
Aguirre decided she wanted to fill that gap with a class that was designed to be fun, to build a community for women, and to promote healthy living. She chose the Central District as a starting point and started renting studio space from the Dancing Yogi, formerly at 18th & East Union, and taught a class on Monday nights last summer.
With her mission in mind she submitted a proposal to Sprout for a community arts grant, and was one of six finalists to present their plans to help develop art that has a positive impact on their community. She was selected as the winner and was awarded a $1000 grant to continue promoting dance for women in her local community.
With the Sprout grant Aguirre has rented studio space in the Garfield Community Center and now holds dance classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00 pm. The classes are free with a suggested donation of $10 per class, which goes directly to R.E.S.T., an organization that works to end the sex trafficking of women and girls.
The classes are designed for women of all ages and physical abilities. Feet are barefoot and attire is comfortable clothing that you can move around in – leggings, yoga pants, tank tops. The music is fun and upbeat, from Lady Gaga to hip hop. Aguirre starts with a warm up similar to the start of many aerobics classes at gyms. The class then focuses on learning a short routine. Aguirre breaks the routine down into short combination pieces which then build upon one another. Little by little, block by block, a short dance comes together and before you know it you’re bouncing around the room and breaking a sweat. The last few minutes are spent stretching and cooling down, much like a yoga class.
Give yourself an hour to have fun and enjoy the company of other local women. Learn more about these classes on Facebook or better yet, stop by for a class on Monday or Wednesday night at 7:00 pm.
This is so encouraging to hear… Fremont Abbey Arts Center is awfully proud of the Sprout event and how it’s been able to fund such amazing artist projects this year.
Great job Whitney! It’s really exciting to see the widespread impact of educational arts experiences all around the Seattle area.
-Nathan Marion, Director
I love Whitney’s class and the chance to support REST. This is the first dance class I’ve ever taken that didn’t make me cry. I like to dance, but I’m not really that good at it (plus I’m pregnant!). I felt comfortable dancing with these women whose backgrounds, sizes, and abilities vary greatly. What a supportive community to be a part of. I’ll be back. Would love to see new faces there too!
I have been blessed greatly by Whitney’s class. Like Stella I really enjoy dancing but am not as graceful as some. It has been great to be able to come every week and have fun dancing up a storm. I encourage all ladies in the neighborhood to check it out!
Thanks for the writeup! For those who are interested, here is a video of a combo I recently taught in class: