Passion and Performace: Dance for the Modern Woman


Passion and Performance is a local Victoria dance studio run by UVic student and lifelong dance aficionado Rachel Paish. It’s a work of the heart, combining her passions for dance, sexual expression, and empowerment. The studio offers¬†both competitive and recreational dance classes in several traditional and cutting-edge dance styles such as belly, ballet, tap and pop and Passion Classes, which are a combination of exotic dance and fitness classes.

Here Aleris tries out their Chair Dance program.


Hello, sexy.

Yes, I mean you! Obviously.

Don’t believe me? You should try a dance class at Passion and Performance. It might be just what you need to boost your swagger and make you feel as sexy as I know you are. Owner Rachel Paish and her fellow instructors have designed a whole range of programs and drop-in classes designed to do just that. And last week – lucky gal that I am – I got to try one out.

I was invited to sit in on one of Rachel’s Chair Dancing classes. The Level 1 class is a six-week program, and when I joined them last Wednesday they were actually about halfway through. I was okay to jump in, though, as Rachel had a short, fun, independent routine planned for the evening rather than a continuation of something that I’d missed.

I arrived at the studio a bit early, and got to watch the last few minutes of her Level 2 class. As a result, my first lesson about chair dancing was this: you can’t really take your eyes off a woman who is chair dancing.


Soon, the rest of the Level 1 class arrived and it was our turn to get our dance on. First we warmed up with some arm and ab exercises, using the chair as much as possible. As someone totally new to chair dancing, this really helped me get used to vigorously interacting with a piece of furniture I usually just sit on to read a book quietly, check my email, or watch Game of Thrones.

After warming up, we took a quick break to drink some water before we got our groove (and grind) on. Then Rachel chose some AC/DC for our sexy summer soundtrack and began walking us through some steps.

Over the next hour we gradually built up a series of bangin’ dance moves, until we had a choregraphed routine almost two minutes long. We gyrated, tossed our hair, worked the chair, shook our butts as much as we could, popped our hips and chests and tried to start small fires with smouldering expressions that said, “oh no you di-in’t!” and, “oh yes you can.”

By the end of it the room was nearly bursting with sexiness.

For our final number the class was split into two groups. While one group performed the routine, the other group cheered and cat-called. Then we switched. With the noisy support of half the class, it sure was a blast. Who knew that doing a naughty dance with – and in front of – a bunch of women you just met could be so comfortable and uplifting?

I hadn’t known before I tried it, but now I’m convinced. Because you know what? Sexual expression is important, dammit, and it’s good for you. And being able to do it in a way that improves your health and self-image, while bringing you together with new people in a supportive atmosphere? Amazing.

Not exactly “good, clean fun,” though. No, I think I’d call it “wicked, awesome fun.”

I’ll be going back soon to try the one called Tie Up and Tease. Wicked, indeed.

So what do you think, you sexy mama, you? Are you going to go too?

(Passion and Performance also offers recreational and competitive classes in new and traditional dance styles, as well as private lessons, workshops, wedding choreography, and special event packages.)