Bob Anholt has written up a wonderful piece about the Ballroom program here at Tapestry that appeared in USA Dance Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter’s Magazine- the Minnesota Dancer! Thank you Bob for helping promote Tapestry and letting people know about the fun that is happening at the Ballroom Dance Parties on 1st and 3rd Sundays.
Here is the article Bob wrote:
Ballroom Dance at Tapestry Folkdance Center
A hot new venue for variety ballroom dance on first and third Sundays each month is the Tapestry Folkdance Center at 38th St and Minnehaha in Minneapolis. Over 100 attended the October 5 dance which began with a 6pm lesson by Shinya McHenry. Since we began the first Sunday series one year ago, we have been fortunate to hire excellent teachers such as Shinya, Scott Anderson, Kate and Gordon Bratt, Caroline Olson, Tricia and James Woods and many others who not only taught a class but were the DJs for the dance from 7 to 9:30pm. By next February, the classes will have provided instruction in every ballroom dance form.
In September we began a third Sunday series which will feature live bands. Variety ballroom dancers dancing to CDs (or itunes, etc) are used to a wide variety of music, ranging from big bands playing foxtrot, waltz, and swing to Latin bands playing salsa, rumba, and cha cha, blues quartets playing west coast swing, to Motown sounds for hustle. On the coming schedule are appearances by Café Accordion Orchestra, which is one of the best variety bands in the Twin Cities for Latin, French bal- musette, and swing, and the Tim Patrick Blue Eyes band, which in recent years has broadened its repertoire from a foxtrot/swing big band sound into greater variety. The one hour dance lesson on third Sundays with professional dance instructors will build on the first Sunday dance lesson, offering a more intermediate class.
The Tapestry folkdance building is unique in that it is owned by the dancers. The nonprofit incorporated in 1983 was founded by International folkdancers and contra dancers. For the first 15 years of existence, dances were held at various locations such as Marshall High School, Sabathani community center, Peoples center and other places in Minneapolis. After being subjected to the whims of landlords for 15 years, the organization bought the current location in 1999. Since it was previously an automobile repair shop, much rehab was required and over several months over 200 volunteers contributed time to make the place what it is today. The work was spearheaded by three contractors, an architect, and a licensed electrician, all of whom were dancers at Tapestry. Volunteers did the demolition, mudding, painting, floor laying and many other jobs. As a result of all the sweat equity and grants from foundations such as the McKnight Foundation, while Tapestry still pays down a mortgage, the equity is several times larger. But owning a building and operating as a nonprofit also requires a board (of unpaid volunteers) and a paid, part time staff. Currently about 11 board members oversee the financial health of the organization, and ensure that the mission is being carried out. Annual expenses are supported by dance admissions (generally low by ballroom admission standards), memberships in the organization, and annual tax-deductible fund drives. Currently Tapestry has over 300 members.
Tapestry’s 4060 square foot floor is sprung: rubber pads sit on leveling blocks, on top of which are two layers of plywood and a real maple surface. And the ceiling is supported by no poles in the center! Tapestry also has a small 1680 square foot space allowing two events to go on at the same time.
The principle activities at Tapestry are International folkdance on Friday nights, contra dance with live bands on Saturday nights, English country dance in the small space on Sunday nights, and Bollywood dance on Thursday nights. Contra and English country dances are like square dances in that they are called dance forms with mainly walking footwork, easy to learn and fun to do. The Bollywood program is a relatively new addition: the dance from India is as aerobic or more so than zumba and quickstep. USA dance rents space for project dance on some Sunday afternoons. In addition other dance organizations such as Scottish country dance, Morris dance, ballet, some modern dance performance organizations, and others rent space not otherwise used by Tapestry’s regularly events.
The Sunday ballroom event was organized by Donna Francisco and myself when Jerry O’Hagan reduced his regularly scheduled dance at Cinema to second and fourth Sundays. With Tapestry taking up the slack in Cinema’s schedule this means you can dance nearly every Sunday night of the year.
More information and contacts can be obtained at tapestryfolkdance.org