Tag Archives: dance

Hip Hop at Urban Beat Dance


Located in the heart of downtown, it’s a small dance studio that shares the building with another dance studio. Urban Beat is on the second floor – don’t get confused!

You can sign up for hip hop lessons (usually 7 classes, 1 hour long each) online, but you can’t pay over the internet. In fact, it’s only cash only! It comes to $92 with tax, and no receipt either! Not sure what’s happening on the business side of things there, but that’s not my business I guess.

It’s kind of disorganized. You come up the stairs to the second floor. There are no signs or directions for new students. I remember that I was confused the first time I had went (which was over 6 years ago). Although, back then, I remember them setting up a table so you could sign in and pay. This time, it was pay and sign up as you went through the door.

It had been years since I took dance lessons, due to school, work and health reasons. I had been wanting to come back, but it just didn’t work out till now.

The first half of the class is exercise. Stretching and building up strength. I had been worried that I would be so out of shape or wouldn’t be able to follow due to health issues, but was surprised that although I had some trouble following, it seemed I was in much better shape than those who looked like they were in their late teens to early twenties.

The great thing about hip hop classes at Urban Beat is that they teach 2 classes per week. Once you register/pay for one, you can go to the other one for no additional cost. No other dance studio does this! I use to do this to get more practice and a good workout. Tuesday classes are 6:30-7:30pm, while the Thursday one is from 6pm-7pm. Unfortunately, I’m not able to make the Thurs one since I wont make it in time from work…

The instructors are great. Super friendly and energetic. Very patient so don’t hesitate to ask questions! The studio is a bit run down, but for the price and quality of lessons, it’s a great deal.

Powell Street Festival 2013

Every year, Vancouver celebrates the Japanese culture with the Powell St. Festival where one can enjoy performances, food and traditions. It’s apparently the largest Japanese Canadian festival in Canada and the longest running community celebration in Vancouver.

It usually runs on the last weekend of July, around the same time as the Celebration of Lights.

Ever since I started volunteering at the festival in 2006, not much has changed. It’s still at the Oppenheimer Park, a location which I wished they would change. There has been many talks to do so, but so far, it has never been relocated since I’ve been there. Unfortunately, the festival is disturbed by homeless people, and every year, we get some that harass us at the food booth. There hasn’t been any physical violence – thank God. But there has been some verbal abuse. It’s a bit of a concern, especially taking young kids where some of them are bothersome.

But onto the good stuff. The festival has expanded a bit with more booths and a second small stage that usually showcases urban dance, street performances, and taiko. I haven’t seen a dramatic increase in prices over the years, but it can be pricey. But just keep in mind that all the proceeds will go for a good cause. It keeps the community active with events and brings people together.


The Japanese Meetup Group from Meetup.com was there too! :D


To start off, we had the $10 combo that came with grilled salmon, genmai (brown rice), spam sushi and a can of soda. The salmon was nicely grilled and salted. I liked that it came with healthy genmai…I didn’t try the spam sushi…it looked odd, and not really appetizing, though I’ve heard that it’s pretty good…my friend who ate the spam sushi told me that spam is no longer being produced anymore. Not sure if that’s true?


$10 combo



Ice shaving $5

Every year, it’s been pretty good weather. We’ve sometimes had days where it’s a bit chilly or drizzle, but never pouring rain…as much as I can remember. With another hot day, and the sun blazing down on us, we sat in the shady area of the grass. I got myself a $5 shaved ice with fruit punch syrup and strawberry ice cream.

Don’t miss the Omikoshi, the sumo wrestling where spectators can compete, some modern electronic bands, taiko drumming, martial arts demonstrations, and lots more.

There are also many booths that sells Japanese crafts and artifacts. Tents like Tonarigumi has items that were donated, and are on sale. Other booths are run by local artists, many in which portions of their sales goes to the communities that are involved in the festival. Very cool!

Entertaining:      Cost for Food:

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