We are neighbours is a monthly series highlighting people in Burnaby who are connecting with other people.
Today, meet Mavis Mau:
I have always dreamt about becoming a dancer. I spent every waking moment dancing in my room – feeling the rhythm of the music, being swept away to another place right along with the dance steps. Sadly, for me, it was a dream that seemed like it would never come true - my Mother decided piano lessons were far more important. I tucked my childhood dream into the corner of my heart and moved through the days of my life.
When I retired, I took up line dancing and once again felt the familiar tug of dance take over. Eventually I gained the courage to start my own dance classes, but quickly realized that being a professional dance instructor was demanding, expensive and stressful. Not at all what I had dreamt of and once again my dream was escaping.
Luck was with me and I found a space where I was encouraged to teach dance classes as a volunteer. The classes were free and as I got to know the group, I began to see the impact I was having on people. Some of the dancers could not afford dance lessons and some were absolute beginners. You can imagine how proud I was when they finished an entire dance sequence. Even my husband joined my class.
I think what surprises me the most is that it is not just about dancing, we always stay long after our class huddled around a table talking and planning our next performance or costumes. I never imagined that my retirement would become so joyful. I guess my dream really did come true, I am dancing again with a whole group of new friends and I love it.
Mavis is one of two line dance instructors at the North Burnaby Neighbourhood House. She teaches beginner and intermediate classes on Mondays and plans to continue dancing for years to come.
The Burnaby Neighbourhood House is a charitable, non-profit organization with a specific focus on neighbours supporting neighbours. Check them out here.