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Fast feet find a home at Whittier Center

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 14:01


DANCE PARTICIPANTS ARE INSTRUCTED at the Whittier Community Center. Photo courtesy of Erica Colvin


Logan may be quiet many nights, but on Tuesdays and Fridays, the walls of the Whittier Community Center bounce with any number of different kinds of music: country, samba and dance, to name a few. 

Erica Colvin set up the Free Style Dance Company as one of the tenants in the Whittier Center in 2010. She said she didn’t expect it to be as successful as it is now. She teaches salsa, ballroom, and country-western classes and has six dance teams of all ages. 

She likes teaching salsa and country-western because she said they have a lot of the same moves and styles. 

When Colvin went to BYU-Idaho and majored in writing, she found it was dance she really wanted to pursue. 

She moved to Logan and didn’t like it at first, but said leaving would mean she would have to go all the way to Salt Lake City to dance.

“I decided while I was here, I might as well start some dance classes and then it just kind of grew from there. Now it’s a really busy job,” she said.

She said she knew coming to a college town would open up some great opportunities. 

“I’ve just fallen in love with the community and all the university students that come are just so fun and so kind,” she said.

Colvin started out by herself, but ended up meeting her business partner, Justin Bayles while they were at a country swing night. 

“He’s fantastic,” she said. “He’s more of the business mind of it and then I’m the one with the dance experience.”

She also has dance partners. Her partner for the country classes is Sam Steffanic. Steffanic said they country-danced together at the Cache Fun Park a couple times, and at first he was a little intimidated by Colvin because she was such a graceful dancer. She approached him one day and asked him to help her out with the country swing moves. 

“Not to toot my own horn, but she figures I was the best one out there,” he said. “In one class I’m actually on the team, as well as instructing.” 

Dance night has its own disk jockey, USU graduate Trevor Knudsen. He was approached when he started going to the dance nights because he knew Colvin and Bayles. Bayles knew Trevor owned big speakers and asked him to help out. He said he mostly plays the music for the salsa nights and also helps out with some of the center’s events.

“It took me awhile to know the music because it’s a whole different variety that I hadn’t listened to before,” he said.

Salsa nights are on Tuesdays. Dancing starts at 9 p.m., and the first hour is instruction. Afterwards, it’s open dance until midnight. Knudsen said he likes that the dancing is at night because it doesn’t interfere with other college classes and clubs students are usually busy with. He said it’s cool to see college kids come and catch the dancing bug and want to keep coming back to learn and have fun.

Although it seems like this is a big college spot, people from all ages come. Knudsen said older couples will come for date nights, and he hopes the company can branch out to anyone who wants to come. The group is trying to find separate nights for certain age groups to attract all sorts of crowds, he said. 

He said he’s excited about the positive response in the community and he thinks the nights will continue to grow. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s cool because people that go there are there to have a good time. If you go there with a mind willing to learn, you’ll have a fantastic time.”



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