Who we are
Boogie Dance Company was founded by Andrea Mercer and Lara Oulahen. Andrea was looking for a recreational and hip dance program for her kids and herself, so jokingly suggested to her friend Lara (former professional dance as Raptors dancer/choreographer) that they should start one. And in that moment, Boogie Dance Company was born. What started as a few extra curricular classes for kids has grown into a school dance program and adult dance fit program. Andrea and Lara have danced with thousands of kids and hundreds of adults and are extremely passionate about giving people an outlet with dance and encouraging people to use dance as a positive way to keep active.
Boogie Dance Company is geared towards children and adults who want to learn to dance in a more relaxed, less traditional dance environment. Why should people have to give up dance or not be able to participate just because their lifestyle changes (hello, parenthood) or can't commit or want to be part of a competitive dance program? Physicial limitations or special needs dancers welcome. The Boogie program is fresh, hip, fun, diverse and inclusive. While having fun, dancers will develop dance technique, confidence, creativity, teamwork skills and leadership qualities. Students won't be tested or ever have to compete within this program. There may be a show/performance opportunity at the end of each year for those children who want to participate or for schools who request it (we have done a few flash mob type performances for schools or celebrations). Maybe the Boogie program will equip dancers with the confidence and skills to try out for <insert future Beyoncé here>'s music video one day (just sayin' ;)) or maybe it will just be a healthy way to have fun while developing a love of dance and getting some physical activity with a mental health boost.
Andrea and Lara are also passionate about mental health and anti bullying and use the Boogie Dance community to promote a strong growth mindset within every participant. These themes are weaved seamlessly into the dance instruction to help people with their mental health, while also learning to dance.
L A R A O U L A H E N
Lara is an energetic, fun-loving, extremely creative and talented mom of three. This program marries her infectious, high energy personality with her extensive dance skills. Seriously, this mama has swagger (is that still a thing? Well, point is, Lara can dance.) It doesn't hurt that she has years of traditional dance experience and a serious passion for dance. You may recognize her moves from being a dancer/choreographer/MC with the Raptors Dance Pack a *few* years ago. When she's not chasing her kids around and taking them on adventures around the world, she's looking for outlets for her many creative ideas and dance experience. You'll love her the minute you meet her. She can't wait to show you or your kids her moves! Lara's teaching style is fun and hip. She teaches dancers to express themselves through music and movement while also helping them to feel comfortable and build confidence within our Boogie Community.
A N D R E A M E R C E R
Andrea is a fun loving busy mom of two, voice/writer behind the Modern Mommy Collective and founder of eco-conscious former children's clothing business LittleSaturdayMarket.com. You'll find her taxi-ing/chasing around her two kids, usually with her music cranked a bit louder than it should be, making new friends everywhere she goes. Andrea was looking for a more hip + relaxed dance environment for her kids and herself. When nothing existed the only option was to create one. After talking to Lara about it casually on and off over the years, they decided it was finally time to bring their plans to life. Andrea grew up in the traditional dance environment but wasn't a fan of the competitive component. She danced on and off through university and loved it. When she moved out of the city and started a family, her dancing came to a screeching halt. But she thought, why should it? Andrea now has a full disco in her basement and strongly believes that dance/music is an game changing outlet for people in terms of creativity and physical movement. She is passionate about ensuring her children find ways to stay active, feel a sense of community, work as part of a team and socialize in positive ways with others, while also having fun in their extra curricular activities. She is confident that Boogie Dance Co. will meet all of these important needs. Andrea looks forward to meeting you and boogie-ing with you.