Have you ever dreamed of dancing under the full moon — with your dog?
Whether you prefer the tango or line dancing, Judy Gamet, founder and owner of Dogs Can Dance, can make your dog-dancing dream come to life.
Gamet is offering a six-week, beginner’s level, canine freestyle dance class in Nevada City, starting Monday.
The six-week evening course will give participants and their dogs a solid foundation in the commands and vocabulary needed to choreograph and perform canine dance routines to music.
Six weeks is enough time for entry level students to learn the basics and start having fun with canine dance, outside the classroom on their own, Gamet said.
“Each dog is a unique being,” Gamet said. “Each has a voice that I translate into movement.”
The canine dances choreographed and taught by Gamet are intended to accentuate the natural movement and breeding of the dog.
Dance movements include a variety of turns, weaving and jumping to music chosen to match the dogs’ gait and energy level.
“I work within their capabilities,” Gamet said of her canine dancers.
Gamet likens canine dance to a symphony.
“I’m the conductor of the orchestra,” she said.
Gamet started her business after wanting to mesh her professional background in dance instruction with her love of her canine family members.
“I wanted the two worlds together,” she said.
Gamet’s business, Dogs Can Dance, a California Limited Liability Company, was established in 2011.
She holds a degree in dance education and became involved in canine dance for her Rottweiler, Bella.
Bella suffered from severe hip dysplasia and was overweight. Going for long walks was painful, so getting the level of exercise needed for a large dog was difficult.
“Bella proves just how beneficial dance for dogs can be,” Gamet wrote on her website.
After participating in canine dance, and adopting a healthier diet, Bella lost 20 pounds and gained a level of endurance and muscle tone that would have been impossible otherwise, Gamet said.
Through canine dance, Bella was able to achieve a level of health that enabled her to assist her owner in teaching the art of canine dance.
“She is my partner,” Gamet said.
Peggy Welder a Nevada City resident hosting the Dogs Can Dance class that begins Monday, said she first became acquainted with canine dance through dog dance videos she viewed online.
“Sometimes hilarious, sometimes beautiful,” she said.
Welder, a border collie enthusiast, recommends YouTube video, “Pepper Dancing to Achy Breaky Heart,” a dance routine choreographed to the Billy Ray Cyrus hit that topped country music charts in the early ‘90s.
Welder, who wasn’t previously aware of canine dancing, said she appreciated how different canine freestyle dance was from traditional dog obedience or agility classes.
“I searched for local trainers,” Welder said.
Gamet, based out of Vacaville, was the canine dance professional in closest proximity to Nevada County. Welder contacted Gamet about conducting a class in Nevada County, and offered to host the six-week course at her home.
While the recreational activity has gained popularity due to its online exposure, it is not without controversy.
The Kennel Club in the U.K. has banned canine dance moves that are unnatural, dangerous or considered degrading, according to the 2013 edition of the Kennel Club’s General Regulations for Heelwork to Music Competitions handbook.
Dogs participating in the Dogs Can Dance class will not be asked to do things which could be detrimental to their health.
“No dogs on their back legs,” Gamet said, “it can cause knee dislocation.”
Dances are meant to be fun and safe for dog and handler.
Dogs Can Dance is an opportunity for dogs and their owners to have fun while getting an excellent workout, Gamet said. Canine dance is also a perfect exercise option for older dogs, or dogs, like Gamet’s own dog, Bella, who suffer from physical disabilities.
The six-week course begins Monday in Nevada City, and costs $120 for full participation, or $60 to audit the class. Friendly dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages are welcome to participate, however class sizes are limited to seven or eight individuals with their dogs. There is extra room for people who would like to audit the course only.
Parties interested in the upcoming class, or those who want more information can contact Judy Gamet at 707-449-1715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.dogscandance.com for more information on canine dance.
Jessica Snapp is a freelance writer in Nevada City.