Bees’ Knees Dance closing on Yonge St & re-locating under new management

Bees’ Knees Dance closing on Yonge St. & re-locating under new management
April 25, 2014 at 9:57am
Dear friends, students & Bees’ Knees family,

It’s with great sadness that I make this important announcement.

Bees’ Knees Dance is closing at 750 Yonge St., and re-locating under new management. We have  loved The Hive at 750 Yonge St. but the space is too expensive for us and we will be closing this location at the end of June. Our time here has been a success in most ways, but not financially, so the time has come to move on.

This is not the end of Bees’ Knees Dance, but it’s the end for me. It’s time for some major changes and in addition to downsizing to a more reasonably priced location, I will be stepping down as the school’s Director and passing the torch to our wonderful team of instructors, led by Shannon Refvik, to take Bees’ Knees Dance in a new direction. They are planning great things and you can look forward to hearing their announcements in the coming weeks.

It’s been just under 2 years since moving in to 750 Yonge but since taking possession, things just haven’t gone my way. Within 2 weeks of moving in to the studio we learned that my husband had cancer and those were the hardest 7 months of my life. Not living in the actual city, what I thought would be manageable became very hard and unmanageable for me – running a studio in a city where I don’t actually live. Additionally, my commitment to carrying on Frankie Manning’s legacy through the Frankie Manning Foundation and Frankie 100 distracted me from what I did not want to accept; that The Hive was failing financially.

I toook on too much and spread myself too thin both administratively and emotionally. Maybe I’ve made the wrong decisions along the way but I’ve done my best. Unfortunately, my resources have now run dry. It’s time for me to move on. I guess you could say that I’m retiring, not from Lindy Hop, but from teaching on a regular basis, and from the administrative and financial commitments of operating a dance studio on an ongoing basis.

We will be holding a closing party on Monday, June 30th, which is the night before the Canada Day holiday so you can all sleep in the next day.

I hope that you will join us for our final classes at Yonge & Bloor during May and June and enjoy The Hive as much as possible. We have loved it here and we want to make the most of the space. Please come out and help make our last 2 months the best months ever!

Please stay tuned for more information about future Bees’ Knees plans and about the party.

Thank you for all of the good times and for being a part of our family.


Mandi GouldDirector, Head Dance Instructor

Managing Frankie 100 NYC, May 22-26, 2014

Building the Frankie 100 Dream Team

Planning an event of such epic proportion can be daunting. There is so much love and passion for this event to take place, and where Frankie Manning is concerned we believe that where there’s a will there’s definitely a way. Though it’s taken some time to build a team of Frankie disciples willing and available to execute the event, we’re sure that everyone will agree that it’s definitely been worth the wait.The most important part of an event like this is YOU. All of YOU. Lindy Hoppers everywhere. But if you think about it, that’s not “you” in fact, but “us”… Lindy Hop is certainly the most inclusive binding force of nature and exceptional world community that I, for one, have ever experienced. When you learn your first swing dance steps you become a Lindy Hopper and it turns in to WE. We, the Lindy Hoppers of the world, are part of Frankie’s legacy. We are part of something bigger. And that’s what Frankie 100 is going to be all about. We, the Lindy Hoppers of the World, descending from all parts of the world on New York City to celebrate a life and a legacy that has touched us all.Frankie Manning & Mandi GouldSee you in New York next May!

Mandi Gould
Frankie Manning Foundation

It’s not over ’til it’s over, but the love of the community helps

On Saturday night, I was blown away by the suprise community fundraiser that was held to raise money for Geoff and I to go to Disney World. Geoff has been undergoing treatments for testicular cancer since September and it’s certainly taken its toll on us.

communityFrom me to the community:

How can I express the depth of my thanks? How can I explain the incredible power of community to people who have never experienced something like it? I am overwhelmed by your generosity. It’s been a terrible 4 months & we’re not sure how much longer it’s going to take. Geoff deserves some lighthearted simple pleasure and you’ve made that possible. Please accept our sincerest gratefulness.

From Geoff to the community:

community 2“To our dear friends: Mandi and I (especially I) are completely overwhelmed at your thoughtfulness and generosity. I was so surprised to hear about the amazing fundraiser to send us to Disneyland after chemo is finished. The last couple of months have been the most difficult in our lives and your kindness and caring have turned it around into one of the most heartwarming experiences ever. I have she’d more than one tear thinking about how blessed I am to know such wonderful kind people! I can’t find words to adequately describe our gratitude.
In a couple of weeks, ill be getting re-tested to see what condition the cancer is in now. I’m anxious but have faith that the results will be more than encouraging. And if additional treatment is need, at least it won’t be the dreaded chemo!
Again, we wish to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. I wish I could have been there to see all the crazy Disney costumes Mandi told me about but thanks to your generosity, we will be seeing the real characters soon enough!
Yayyyyy!!! We’ve got something wonderful to look forward to!
Thank you thank you thank you!!!”

The GongIt’s been tough. Really tough. A month surrounding the surgery followed by 13 weeks of chemo that just beat Geoff into the ground. Next he has a blood transfusion on Wednesday and then 2 rounds of tests before they determine if he’ll need to have surgery and/or radiation. But thanks to the community, we’ll be able to squeeze in a much needed break and change of scenery for Geoff.

I’ve come this far
I’ve fought the fight
Together with my team,

I’ll hit this gong
And share with you all
The reaching of a dream.

Geoff hitting the gong to mark his final chemo treatment.


New Studio!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted!

I’ve been swamped with the good, the bad and the ugly.

  1. Last minute decision to open a new studio for Bees’ Knees Dance.
  2. Mad hunt to find said studio.
  3. Renovations to open studio.
  4. Husband, Geoff, gets called in for last minute surgery part way during renovation process.
  5. Amazing friends step in to rescue renovation project.
  6. I finally realize I’m completely overwhelmed and put my other business, Health Nut Raw Foods, up for sale.
  7. Studio opens October 1st.

Additional craziness before, during and since but we have indeed opened and life is moving on.

I think that things might start to settle down in the next couple of weeks. Let’s hope so!

Herräng Dance Camp 2012 – my 9th year!

It’s hard to believe that I hadn’t been to Herräng in 5 years. Time sure does fly when you’re leaving your day job, getting married, moving to a new city, etc. But I finally got back to the Herräng Dance Camp for a little more than 2 weeks this year and was able to catch the 30 year anniversary of the camp. 

Admittedly, one of the reasons why I hadn’t been back to the camp in so long is that I really enjoy having some sort of a role there, and the right role hadn’t come up in a few years. After my first couple of years at the camp in ’99 and 2000, I started to take on working roles at the camp and by 2004 I was living in Sweden throughout the winter and spring helping with the camp’s administration. That year sort of killed me though, and I suffered from some pretty major travel burnout so I made my way back to Canada after various other nomadic adventures and took a year off in 2005. I did go back as a regular camper in 2006 and 2007 but it felt like something was missing.

Now, since getting involved in the Frankie Manning Foundation about a year and a half ago, I’ve found my true purpose. It feels so wonderful to visit the camp to help with something that’s so close to my heart. Since I started working closely with Judy Pritchett on the Frankie Manning Foundation Ambassador program, I feel like I’ve really found a way to apply my skill set to a worthy cause. So this year, I attended the camp as the representative for the FMF to oversee the scholarship recipients and it couldn’t have been more rewarding.

Our four Ambassadors came from widely different situations and geographical situations. Velo joined us from Taiwan where he is the organizer of a relatively new group of about 30 Lindy Hoppers. Adamas joined us from Korea where he’s been teaching Lindy Hop for 10 years but would like very much to introduce more of the history and Frankie’s spirit and touch to the dance there. Andrea is from Southern California and aspires to teach Lindy Hop to foster children with a particular focus on the Black community. And Nando is from Mozambique and is probably the very first Lindy Hopper to come out of Africa. They were such an amazing group and I felt so honoured to be there with them and to do my best to make their camp experience as rewarding and worthwhile as possible.

Unfortunately, we had pretty miserable weather over week 2 of the camp and I fell ill with the usual Herräng flu by the beginning of week 3. Cold, rainy… it even hailed twice. The sad thing was that I didn’t really shake my cold and was sick right up until the time I came home. Major bummer! This really interfered with some of my own social dancing and participation at the camp and I just didn’t dance the night away the way that I used to. I did have a few really nice dance nights though, so not all was lost.

I was thrilled to have my friend Laura come up from the UK where she’s currently living. She spent an extended weekend with us and it was so great to see her. We were particularly lucky to have one nice sunny day in Stockholm, along with my friend and student Heather. It was so nice to warm up for a day and it was nice to visit my old stomping grounds in Stockholm. I even popped in to my old gym, Friskis och Svetis, where I used to workout when the Herräng office was still on Vatagatan.

The camp is still going on and 3 of the Ambassadors are actually still there. My pals Krister, Kevin, Shannon, Clara, Riz, Terri and others are still there too for the 5th and final week of the camp. It was really nice to get back to Herräng, see lots of old friends, and watch newcomers fall under the magic spell that the camp can often emit. I know how intoxicating that first time can be and it was great to relive it through some of my friends eyes.

1st Annual Easter Parade

Yesterday marked the 1st annual Toronto Vintage Easter Parade and it was a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone who participated!

The day started off as beautiful and sunny but unfortunately took a turn toward something more dull and windy. No rain on our parade though, and we made the best of the day with a terrific group walking from Yonge to Christie along Bloor St. We had a special stop at Crêpes à GoGo where we enjoyed some complimentary Limonana and crêpes and we had the chance to do a little dancing.

We were really surprised by how many people stopped and asked us why we were dressed up like that. Either people didn’t remember that it was Easter Weekend or they seemed to have no association with it. Oh well, they’ll learn as the parade grows! We’re definitely looking forward to making this an annual event and hopefully it will grow in the coming years.

Special thanks to all of our photographers including Henry Chan, Scott & Dora Towner, Dean Villafuerte and others!






Project Q

My good friend Krister is both a swing dancer and a Quantum Physicist. He’s running a really exciting project – Project Q!

Here’s his video explaining the project and showing the dance choreography. Incidentally, this was filmed at my studio in Toronto:

And here’s my group dancing it in front of Niagara Falls!

A pretty fun way to spend Family Day, I’d say.