Mandi founded Bees’ Knees Dance in 1999 on the principle that anyone can dance. She retired from the school at the end of June, 2014, but is proud to have been a part of such an important piece of the Toronto Lindy Hop community and is happy to see the school continue on under new management.
Mandi didn’t start dancing until shortly before her 20th birthday. From a traditional ‘trained’ or ‘disciplined’ dance perspective, that might be considered quite old. Unlike many of the little girls she grew up with, she never had the chance to take dance lessons as a child. But learning as an adult helped to shape her view of what dancing should be; inclusive, not exclusive.
Dancing is such a source of joy, creativity and physical expression. It’s important that everyone feels welcomed and encouraged to try it. That is the core of why Bees’ Knees Dance exists: to make dancing accessible to anyone and everyone. It is never too late to take your first steps… or your second, or third!
Believe it or not, lack of dance experience can actually be an advantage! How so? As beginner adults we can appreciate and really savour the deeper value of dancing;
- The positive and uplifting feeling we have at the end of a dance class;
- The diverse and wonderful people we interact with during the lessons;
- Experiencing how our fields of motion and confidence grow;
- How our stamina and overall fitness levels improve as we progress.
It’s wonderful that many people have the chance to learn from childhood but as amateur adults we don’t take for granted all of the positive ways in which dancing impacts our lives. Since Mandi was already a young adult when she began dancing, she can clearly remember her life before dancing. It was like a palette of grey compared to life after she caught the dance bug – full colour! It’s crystal clear to her that she was very fortunate to stumble on something so special and that lucky feeling has only grown these past 10+ years of teaching. It’s a tremendous source of pleasure for her to witness her students experiencing that same sense of vibrancy.
Dance classes with Bees’ Knees Dance are innovative, relaxed, and infectious, providing individual attention to each student and appealing to beginner and experienced dancers alike.
Mandi and the Bees’ Knees team are committed to creating opportunities for beginner adults to learn to dance. They create an environment that is unintimidating, patient, and comfortable. Their job is to help nurture each person’s potential. Everyone has potential! Anyone can – and should – dance.
Bees’ Knees instructors are passionate and patient. They are talented dancers but even more importantly they are dedicated to the art of teaching. It’s all about making it fun, welcoming and inspiring for the students.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A TERRIFIC TEACHER:
- Someone who loves their role; they teach because they love to and not for some other ulterior motive
- A person with a great deal of patience who knows that little steps i learning go a long way
- Someone who knows their students well and makes them feel at ease
- They provide a non-threatening, welcoming environment that works to nurture each student’s full potential
- They understand their students and know how to motivate and inspire them
- While teaching they are also constantly learning from their students
Director, Head Dance Instructor
Mandi Gould has been a swing dance instructor since 1999 and has been passionate about Lindy Hop since she first lay eyes on the dance in 1998. She is passionate about dancing and especially about giving absolute beginner adults an opportunity to take their first steps.
Mandi had the privilege of assisting legendary Swing Dance Ambassador, Frankie Manning, with workshops in 2002, 2006 and 2008 which proved to be a life-changing experience. Following Frankie’s example, she has since dedicated herself to spreading the spirit of Lindy Hop as a joyful, inclusive and welcoming dance. Mandi feels strongly that there is no such thing as two left feet, that it’s never too late to learn, and that Lindy Hop is a dance for real people from all walks of life. In addition to her Directorship of Bees’ Knees Dance, Mandi Gould is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Frankie Manning Foundation and the Overall Producer for Frankie 100, the Frankie Manning Centennial and World Lindy Hop Day Festival in New York City, May 2014.
Mandi’s dance instruction has taken her across Canada and around the world, in the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, China, and South Korea. In 2002 she directed her swing missionary efforts in Saint Petersburg and Moscow where the helped to push the Russian Lindy Hop communities forward. In 2003 she managed two North American tours for the Harlem Hotshots on the West Coast and in the North East. From 2002 to 2004 she assisted as an administrator for the Herräng Dance Camp, was Herräng’s original DJ Coordinator, and organized the Swing Bus in 2004.
Her passion for original swinging jazz is closely tied to her dancing and teaching. Her artistic mandate is to study and promote the culture of the swing era including classic jazz music, history and vintage jazz dances. Though her primary focus is Lindy Hop as a social swing dance, she is also dedicated to performance Lindy Hop, Charleston, Black Bottom and Classic Jazz Dances. Lindy Hop is an integral part of who Mandi is and she is positive that carrying on Frankie Manning’s legacy will continue to be a part of her own life’s work.