© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Fevah: The dance class changing peoples attitudes

Delphine Herbert

Fevah’s modern jive dance classes are more than just dancing. They have changed people’s lives

Grab your shoes, grab a partner and get your dance moves on. 

Matt and Deb Robinson have been running dance classes in Christchurch for 13 years. Fevah has been around for only one and a half years but is proving popular.

With 40 to 100 people attending each class during the week, the dance classes have been a success.

While most dancers are regulars, Matt encourages new people to come along and enjoy the class.

“They are open for everyone. There’s this conception that people think that they have to be able to dance. They say, I can’t dance and I say that’s the whole point. 

“Anyone can give this a go and get pleasure out of it. There is no test, you don’t have to perform in front of people. It’s there so you can participate and enjoy it.”

Fevah dance member Shari Walker says the dance style is easy to learn.

“There’s no specific footwork patterns so it makes it one less thing to learn when you are learning to dance because there is so much involved with it."

“Matt and Deb really emphasize on making it a very welcoming environment for people to come into it.”

Janine Burnes has been dancing for seven years and says it has changed her as a person.

“It has made me very feminine, I was quite a tomboy. I never used to wear pink, I never used to wear sparkles and now I wear pink sparkles and I am in touch with my feminine side."

“I totally and utterly absorb myself in the music.”

Burnes says dancing is good for the body, good for the soul and it’s good for the heart.

“It’s almost like a type of meditation.”

She says the Fevah classes have helped with her chronic loneliness.

“These guys are like family to me and they have filled that very large gap and I am so grateful.”