ALL THE RIGHT MOVES: An Interview with Mandy Hanafi, Ballroom Dance Instructor at the Living Arts Centre

LAC: Can you tell us a bit more about which Community Courses you teach at the Living Arts Centre? How long have you been teaching them?

Mandy Hanafi: I have been teaching the ballroom and Latin dance classes at the Living Arts Center for [nearly] ten years now. We have a basic beginner ballroom class, which consists of the waltz, tango, foxtrot and quickstep, and a beginner Latin dance class which includes the cha cha , jive, rumba and samba. I also teach a level one and level two salsa/mambo and merengue class every Sunday night. This spring, we will be starting a new line dance class in which I will teach the most popular and fun beginner to intermediate line dances.

LAC: Who do you find typically takes your classes? Is it only couples? The newly engaged looking to get ready for their big wedding day?

M.H: We have every type of person signing up—some as young as [teens], some well into their seventies and eighties. There are lots of couples coming to prepare for their wedding dance, and lots of couples who have children at home but would like an interesting evening out together doing something fun. Ballroom dancing is a sport that two people do together, so yes, most students come as couples, but, especially in the salsa class, there are a lot of things to learn individually so I would never discourage singles to come and try. As well, in our new line dance class it is all danced individually [with no partnering].

LAC: What can a student expect when they show up for one of your classes at the LAC?

M.H: They can expect to have a lot of fun! We learn a lot—four dances in ten weeks—but I repeat the basic information every week, which makes it easier to learn and to retain the information. Then we move on to a new step or pattern each class. I don’t try to overwhelm [students] with too many patterns, or too much technique . . . I try to make it a happy learning environment with lots of opportunities for the students to ask questions and review what we have done.

LAC: Is their a skill or two that every student ends up building after taking a course like Latin Dance?

M.H: Dancing is such a wonderful way to express ourselves, and most people in our society have opportunities to go out and dance at some point; either a Christmas party, or a wedding, or on a cruise , or even just around the backyard pool. I try to teach the most basic techniques and steps that will get people up and moving as quickly as possible. Being able to accomplish each dance well gives us such a wonderful feeling of confidence, and I usually see that happening about the third or forth week into the lessons. When we feel confident, we walk taller, and project ourselves so much better, and that is one of the best reasons to learn to dance. It really builds a person’s confidence and self esteem.

LAC: What’s your favourite style of ballroom dance, and why?

M.H: LOL; no favourites! They are all great. The ballroom [technique] is classic and elegant and brings out the graceful side of us. The Latin [technique] is fun and flirty and high energy, and the salsa is easy going, energetic and less technical so we can just let loose and enjoy it without worrying so much about how we look. All dancing is a beautiful opportunity to let our spirits loose and feel good about ourselves. The music inspires, and the dance lets us be part of it.

LAC: If you had to give a word of advice to those just starting out in ballroom dance, what would it be?

M.H: Approach it with on open mind and heart, and do not get discouraged. The first week, maybe two, is a bit tough because we are just getting to understand the basics of movement, but after that, it is all just pure fun. The challenge of learning is good for us!

LAC: Thank you Mandy!


Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa

February marks the arrival of Black History Month and we are so excited to be celebrating with African musicians, Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa!

This week, Kinobe and his team will be visiting schools across the GTA providing cultural workshops on Drumming & Storytelling, Dance & Drumming, and Singing & Storytelling.  Each workshop is one-hour in length and accommodates a maximum of 30 students to guarantee an intimate, hands-on experience with these fantastic artists.

If you missed out on the outreach workshops, don’t fret!  Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa will be returning to the Living Arts Centre later in the week for our Relaxed Series on Thursday, February 17 at 8:00 pm and two school performances (one in English and one in French) on Friday, February 18 at 10:00 am and 12:30 pm.

Don’t miss your chance to see this captivating performer who fuses traditional and contemporary Ugandan sounds to make what the BBC describes and “some of the most exquisite music coming out of Africa today. Sublime and peaceful.”

Brad Garrett – One Night Only at the Living Arts Centre!

Emmy Award winning actor and comedian Brad Garrett is coming to the Living Arts Centre for one night only on Saturday March 19, 2011!  Tickets are on sale now through the box office online or by calling 1-888-805-8888.

Room on the Broom Ticket Packs!

Get your little ones excited about the arts and join our Wiggle Club for family fun! This performance is for ages 3 & up. Babies 18 months & under are free and must have a ticket to enter the theatre.

A musical adaptation of the best selling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Tall Stories’ Room on the Broom uses a physical storytelling style combined with original songs and fantastic puppetry to create a lively theatrical experience that embraces children of all ages. Join us on Family Day weekend as this beloved children’s story comes to life.

Visit our box office online or call 1-888-805-8888 to take advantage of this fantastic ticket offer.


Blue Man Group is proud to announce its performance at the Super Bowl XLV Game Day Fan Plaza on February 6, 2011.  The trio will perform four 15-minute sets over the course of the afternoon leading up to kickoff for fans attending the game.

Continuing its tradition of offering innovative entertainment to audiences of all ages, Blue Man Group will perform segments specially tailored to the day’s main event. The performance will take place at the Game Day Fan Plaza area located on the East and West sides of Cowboys Stadium.  Game Day Fan Plaza allows Super Bowl guests to enjoy the excitement before the game with participatory games, activities, and live entertainment.

This will mark the first appearance by Blue Man Group at the Super Bowl, giving the Blue Men a completely new environment in which to explore and interact.

This appearance coincides with the run of Blue Man Group’s first-ever domestic theatrical tour, currently making its way to cities around the U.S.  The U.S. Theatrical tour features classic Blue Man moments as well as an infusion of brand new content.

Super Bowl XLV will be played on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX and televised by FOX SPORTS.  The Super Bowl is annually America’s most-watched television program.  A record 153.4 million Americans watched last year’s game.

Blue Man Group hits the Living Arts Centre February 8, 9 & 10!  Click here for more information or call the box office at 1-888-805-8888.

Resident Artist Garners Attention for Innovative Design

Furniture artist Jean Willoughby enrolled as a new Resident Artist at the LAC in September 2010 and has quickly attracted significant attention for her unique design sense. Willoughby, a recent graduate of the Sheridan College Furniture Design Program, has been turning heads with her mixed-media approach to functional works, particularly the marriage between wood and concrete. Willoughby’s designs will be featured on the Marilyn Denis Show on January 20th at 10:00am and in the Globe and Mail on January 22nd. Jean is also participating in the Toronto International Design Festival from January 24 – 30, 2011 along with fellow Resident Artist Dylan McKinnon.

Jean Willoughby Designs:

The Marilyn Denis Show:

The Globe and Mail:

Image credit: Jean Willoughby, Concrete Cabinet

Sexy Cosmos!

If you are ready for your girls’ night out with tickets to see Smash The Roof on January 22nd with Debra DiGiovanni, Sabrina Jalees, Nikki Glaser and Ali Wong, make sure you stop by our Lobby Bar before the show or during intermission.  We will be featuring Smirnoff Cosmos and Sinsations Chocolate Martinis…super sexy and super stylin’!

For more information visit

Sabrina Jelees is coming to Smash the Roof!

Sabrina Jelees

Just woke up and crossed off another day from my “Smash the Roof hits Mississauga Countdown”. As usual, it’s now time to slip on my Dixie Outlet Mall tube top and meditate while listening to my “Sounds of Burnhamthorpe” CD and staring at a photo of Hazel McCallion giving me the thumbs up. Must remember to spread bogus rumours about Opera Mississauga and other local venues being infested with bedbugs on the night of January 22nd. Also, should look over contract with Living Arts Center to ensure that the comedians are not liable if audience’s laughter actually causes a smash and/or rupture to the facility’s roof.

On January 22nd Debra DiGiovanni, Sabrina Jalees and Nikki Glaser come together with host Ali Wong for an evening of cutting-edge laughs and satire, crashing right through the glass ceiling of the formerly male-dominated genre with the “all chick” comedy revue, Smash The Roof!  For more information visit

Visual Art Instructor

Work Term(s):

Summer Camp: Various weeks during the season running from

July 4 to August 26, 2011

The Living Arts Centre is seeking creative, dynamic, and talented individuals to instruct visual and performing arts experiences as part of the Centre’s Summer Camp offerings. Successful candidates will follow guidelines developed by the Arts Program department to create, safe, encouraging, and creative learning environments for children and youth participants. For more information regarding our Camps program please visit our website at

Instructor Positions are available in the following areas:

  • Art Fundamentals- General visual arts program for ages 11-14 (3 weeks)
  • All About Art- General visual arts program for ages 6-7 (8 weeks)
  • Bravo Broadway- Musical Theatre program for ages 8-14 (8 weeks)
  • Photomania- Photography program for ages 8-10 (Darkroom and Digital Photography projects)
  • (2 weeks)
  • Dynamic Dance Crew- Dance program for ages 8-10 (2 weeks)
  • Leaders Through the Arts- Leader in Training program for ages 13-16 (2 weeks)

* Candidates with various experience in visual and performing arts may be                         considered to instruct multiple camp sessions.


  • Post secondary diploma, degree or equivalent in fine arts, arts education, or related discipline
  • Teaching/program delivery experience
  • Minimum of 2 years instructing experience
  • Experience teaching in an educational setting
  • Experience working in a camp setting with children
  • Excellent communication/interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated group management techniques
  • Proven customer service skills and problem solving
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Worked with youth volunteers an asset
  • First Aid / CPR training an asset


  • Develop, create and execute lesson plans
  • Present lessons and activities in a manner appropriate to the audience
  • Assist in the training, skills development, leadership and motivation of teen volunteers
  • Participate in the implementation of studio health and safety practices, including studio set- up and clean up
  • Material set up and clean up as required
  • Work with groups up to 20 participants
  • Represent the Living Arts Centre with adept customer service
  • Work within the policies and procedures set out by the Centre

Employment offer is conditional upon receipt of a Criminal Record Search and Vulnerable Sector Screening that is acceptable to the Living Arts Centre.

Qualified applicants should send a cover letter and resume by February 6th, 2011 to:

Studio Arts Department, Living Arts Centre, 4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga, ON, L5B 4B8
Fax:905-306-6101, Email:

Please note that only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

Cookie Plates Revealed!

The cookie plates from Valerie’s 6th Birthday are complete! Check out some of the finished products!