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Feature Article - February 1, 2007

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February 1,, 2007

Bringing the Ballroom back home-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- by Anne Elvins and Jeff Green

John and Lynda Trommelen took up ballroom dancing when they moved to Harrowsmith from Toronto in the mid-eighties as a way to meet people and to keep fit. John was working for OHIP, and he had been transferred to the office in Kingston.

That old one-liner, “May I have this dance” has kept more than one couple together. However, little did John and Lynda know the impact it would have on their lives.

In 1991 they were invited by the Kingston Ballroom Dancers to be one of the local couples participating in an international competition in Kingston, and they enjoyed it so much that since then they have danced at the championship level in competitions across Canada.

“We have always placed in competition, but the only time we won was at the national competition in Montreal,” says Lynda, “We always danced for the sheer fun of it; winning competitions was never our goal.”


Their feet have touched the floorboards at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall for the past five years, as part of the Seniors Jubilee.

But the highlight, thus far, of their dancing career came in 2004 when they were approached by a talent scout from the Cirque du Soleil.

“It was an absolute fluke,” Lynda recalls, “A lady came up to us at the Kingston competition in ’04 and asked if we would ever consider going to Las Vegas with the Cirque du Soleil. We thought it was a practical joke orchestrated by some of the other dancers, but it turned out she wasn’t kidding. We went to Montreal for an audition. One of their shows needed an older couple to fill in for two older acrobats, one of whom was injured.

“We were whisked off to Las Vegas, where we ended up performing from October until mid-April. Cirque du Soleil was a wonderful company to work for. They gave us an apartment five minutes from the hotel, and treated us like full cast members.”

Who said retirement has to be boring!

John and Lynda have decided to retire again, this time from competitive dancing. But they aren’t about to slow down. They retired so they could teach others how to dance.

The Trommelens can be found on Thursday nights at the S&A Club on Colebrooke Road (Harrowsmith) where they conduct lessons. The next session starts on Thursday, February 16 from 7 until 8 p.m. So if you want to have some fun while learning the waltz, social foxtrot, jive, cha-cha or Salsa give Lynda or John a call at 613-372-2313.

Don’t be shy if you’ve never danced. Lynda says that part of the fun is to work with real beginners.

How do we get so lucky in this village? Just when ballroom dancing makes a comeback, a couple of professionals offer to teach us all how to dance. And remember ladies ~ Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire could do, only she did it backwards and in high heels.

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