Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing*

* If you've seen the film "White Christmas" you may remember this one

This past Saturday I was invited to accompany my friend Amber (of Jackpot Vintage) to a Great Gatsby-inspired party to celebrate the opening of The Muze, a new addition to London's downtown core.   The mission of The Muze, founded by Dorit Osher and Leah Getchell, is to "create a dance and living arts community in London that provides classes and workshops for all ages, skills and backgrounds... and provide a warm, non-judgemental place for all members of our community to train, create, and experience the social, physical and artistic benefits of dance in a non-competitive atmosphere".

Muze co-founder Dorit Osher channelled her inner flapper for the evening in sparkly red and feathers.  Osher has had a successful career as a professional contemporary dancer with companies in South Africa, Israel, and as an independent artist in Canada and Europe.  She is also an educator, facilitator, and psychotherapist, and her work as a dancer has influenced her social work practice.  Her formal education (a BFA in dance, MA in Theory and Criticism and MSW) and life experience lead her to establish The Muze, "a dance and living arts hub", to have a space where she can combine her training in dance and psychotherapy.

Muze co-founder Leah Getchell (right) poses with a friend outside the studio.  Getchell also has an extensive dance background with 15 years of classical dance training followed by classes in belly dancing, salsa and ballroom.   Getchell completed a bachelor's and a master's degree in sociocultural anthropology, and this, combined with her dance training, and experience of living and travelling through Western Europe and Central and South America, fostered a love of cultural diversity and world music.

 Osher and Getchell pose for a celebratory photo in front of their studio

The Muze differs from other dance studios in London in that the space is located on street level, so pedestrians may catch a glimpse of a ballet or East Indian Classical Dance class in progress.  With the assistance of other local artists, Osher and Getchell are offering an eclectic selection of dance and movement classes for all ages.  You can find details about the classes on their website.

I made my best attempt at "Party Hair" and figured my fringe-covered dress and 1920's Haori were period-appropriate.  Unfortunately, I had no 1920's appropriate footwear.

Amber, wearing vintage silk tunic and tulle hat

Headbands, pearls, and little black dresses were the popular choice for the women; suits and hats for the men, and even the little ones brought their best style game to the party.

The little guy in the above photo wore his tap shoes - he knew dancing was the theme of the evening!

Osher and Getchell gave the guests a Charleston dance lesson which I decided to sit out, as the rubber soles of my shoes were sticking to the floor.

These three flappers-in-training were having fun with their ropes of beads

Guests were treated to a performance by local dancer (and Muze instructor) Niki Carr

Glasses were raised in a toast as guests wished Osher and Getchell great success with their new venture.  If you've always wanted to dance, or are just looking for a more creative way to improve your physical and mental well-being, check out The Muze!


  1. You do live in quite a cultural town - I'm always so impressed by your outings and events (from arts and dancing to roller derby!). I love the outfits, and the enthusiasm of the kids. And also your hair! It looks like you're wearing a fascinator, but then you ARE a fascinator!

  2. You have so much stuff going on in London, you are so lucky!
    I love your outfit (and Amber's) and historically appropriate or not I'd kill for those shoes.
    How cute is that little boy in the pinstripes? xxx

  3. What a fun event! You all look fabulous!! :)

  4. Your shoes are lovely!!!! Looking forward to experiencing Muze.

  5. Gorgeous pics of people having fun - there's nothing better than that! And you look fab, I think the shoes are divine. I can't waist to see you in a couple of weeks, xo

  6. What a cool evening! Everyone looks great, the little ones are adorable - your city is full of good stuff.

  7. You and Amber look gorgeous! I especially love your fascinator, Shelley. And I don't think the shoes look out of place with the outfit, although perhaps not well suited to Charlstoning if they get stuck on the floor. Ha! They really did this do up right with the red carpet stuff too. I love the idea fueling this studio and London is lucky to have two such creative and generous spirits.

  8. such a fabulous place with a fabulous attitude, I would love to go there and learn and dance!, and everybody looks really friendly and cool!
    Love your haori and pretty headpiece, you're gorgeous and your shoes add an oriental modern twist!, fabulous!!

  9. Wow, doesn't everyone look fantastic? The red sequin and feather dress is especially eye-catching, and your fringed dress and haori combination works a treat - especially with added Party Hair! Loving the kids getting in on the dressing-up action too. Hope the new venture is a success! xxx

  10. Looks like such FUN! You probably couldn't do that here, where rents are tripling everywhere, so only drug stores and banks can afford to lease most spaces. Your London Fly footwear looks fine, fine, fine to me, although I grant it probably takes some fun out of the Charleston. Regardless - nothing like a little dancing to raise the spirits!

  11. Looks like a fun evening!

    I really love the outfit you came up with, and your hair!


  12. As you know, I love to dance! How fun to see so many people dressed up and celebrating movement. You look fabulous in your festive ensemble. "Party Hair" suits you!

  13. This must have been a fun event. Too bad I cannot really see the fringe covering your dress. I am sure it must be lovely though.