Medicine Hat Ballroom Dance Club

Ballroom – Latin – Country Dancing

About Us


The  Medicine Hat Ballroom Dance Club


Is a social dance club who’s age bracket is any where 18 and up. We are a fun loving eclectic crowd of Dancers from all over southern Alberta. Our goal is to teach, practice, and learn Ballroom, Latin and Country dancing in a fun, happy and supportive manner. We have almost 10 years of experience as a club and each start of each new season we strive to learn, grow and improve as a club, under the tutelage of our instructors, the direction of the executive board, and with the full participation of the collective attendees.


We are a non-profit Organization, which is currently organized by an ad-hoc board consisting of 6 members: Kari Degethoff, Al Czernick, Norm and Pauline Wilson, and Billy and Ira Hill. No board member has any financial gain from the club, and all board members pay full prices for any classes they take and ticketed events they attend.


All fees collected for lessons and ticketed events are used to pay for the premises we rent, pay our instructors, and maintain our website. They may also be used to obtain / maintain music (hardware and software), purchase decorations and consumables for dances and events, or to sponsor special events.


If you would like to join the board, have ideas for special events, or any other suggestions about club activities you would like to realize, or how we can improve matters, please do not hesitate to contact any of us:


Ira     403-544-5086                          Billy       403-866-5891                                   


Billy anbd Ira

Billy and Ira Hill

Billy and Ira have been married for over twenty years and emigrated to Canada and Medicine Hat in 2001. Billy comes from a military background and  Ira is currently employed as a civil servant. Billy took up Ballroom dancing in 2008 but Ira studied extensively as a girl and young woman while living in Germany. They are both now avid fans of Ballroom and Latin dancing and look forward each year to the start of the new season of dance classes. They are both members of the executive board of the Medicine Hat Ballroom Dance Club since it re-formed from its previous model as a dance school and became the dance club it is now.



Kari 1


Kari Hagen Degethoff


Kari is originally from Norway. She immigrated to Canada in 1990 and spent her first 8 years in B.C. In 1998 she moved to Medicine Hat. Kari used to dance as a teenager in Norway, but didn’t dance for many years after she came to Canada. When she discovered Medicine Hat Ballroom Dance Club in 2010 she immediately signed up for classes . At this time Kari really enjoys dancing Salsa and Jive and is also practicing Argentinian tango. Kari has been on the Board since the club re-formed in 2012.






Our next event will be the Spring Dance!


Saturday April 26, at the Branch. Doors open at 6:30, Dancing till 11 pm! Please see attached Poster.



Spring Dance


Tickets for the Spring Dance can be purchased in advance at the Book Nook, 221 South Railway Street SE, Medicine Hat (preferred method to give us an idea of attendance!). Cash and Cheques are accepted. You can also pay at the door.






The Dances


The Foxtrot (also: “Fox trot”, “foxtrot”, “fox trot”) is a ballroom dance which takes its name from its inventor, the vaudeville actor Harry Fox. According to legend, Fox was unable to find female dancers capable of performing the more difficult two-step. As a result, he added stagger steps (two trots), creating the basic Foxtrot rhythm of slow-slow-quick-quick. The dance was premiered in 1914, quickly catching the eye of the talented husband and wife duo, Vernon and Irene Castle, who lent the dance its signature grace and style. It was later standardized by Arthur Murray, in whose version it began to imitate the positions of American Tango.



A waltz is a ballroom and folk dance in 3/4 (help·info) time, performed primarily in closed position. The peasants of Bavaria, Tyrol, and Styria began dancing a dance called Walzer, a dance for couples, around 1750. At that time, the eighteenth century upper classes continued to dance the munuet. Another dance, the Ländler, an English country dance in 3/4 time spread from the countryside to the suburbs of the city. Nobelmen bored with the minuet began slipping away to the balls of their servants.



The term “swing dance” commonly refers to a group of dances that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, although the earliest of these dance forms predate swing jazz music. The best known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a popular partner dance that originated in Harlem and is still danced today. While the majority of swing dances began in African American communities as vernacular African American dances, a number of forms (Balboa, for example) developed within Anglo-American or other ethnic group communities.



Jive is a dance style in 4/4 time that originated among African-Americans in the early 1940s. It is a lively and uninhibited variation of the Jitterbug, a form of Swing dance. In Ballroom dancing, Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. In competition it is danced at a speed of 44 bars per minute, although in other cases this is reduced to between 32 and 40 bars per minute.



Rumba is a dance organically related to the rumba genre of Afro-Cuban music. Throughout history one may trace several styles of dances called “rumba”. Some dancers considered rumba the most erotic and sensual Latin dance, for its relatively slow rhythm and the hip movement. Rumba is actually the second slowest Latin dance: the spectrum runs bolero, rumba, cha-cha-cha, mambo in order of the speed of the beat.


Cha Cha

The Cha-cha (in Spanish cha-cha-chá) is a Latin American dance of Cuban origin. It corresponds to the Cha-cha-cha music introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrín. In ballroom dancing, it is increasingly popular to call the dance Cha-cha.



is a ballroom dance that branched away from its original Argentine roots by allowing European, American, Hollywood, and competitive influences into the style and execution of the dance.

The present day ballroom tango is divided into two disciplines: American Style and International Style. Both styles are enjoyed as social and competitive dances, but the International version is more globally accepted as a competitive style. Both styles share a closed dance position, but the American style allows its practitioners to separate from closed position to execute open moves, like underarm turns, alternate hand holds, dancing apart, and side-by-side choreography.


American Style Tango

American style tango’s evolutionary path is derived from Argentina to U.S., when it was popularized by silent film star Rudolph Valentino in 1921, who demonstrated a highly stylized form of Argentine tango in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As a result, the Hollywood style steps mixed in with other social dance steps of the times began this branch away from the Argentine style. Meanwhile, the tango was also making its own inroads into Europe.

Following the English standardization of their version of Tango, Arthur Murray, a ballroom dance instructor in the U.S., tried his own hand at standardizing the ballroom dances for instruction in his chain of social dance schools. This looser social style was referred to as American style by the English.



Salsa is a dance form with origins from the Cuban Son (circa 1920s) and Afro-Cuban dance, specifically Afro-Cuban Rumba dance. It is generally associated with the salsa music style, although it may be danced under other types of music with an 8-count rhythm.

In many styles of Salsa dancing, as a dancer changes weight by stepping, the upper body remains level and nearly unaffected by the weight changes. Weight shifts cause the hips to move. Arm and shoulder movements are also incorporated. The Cuban Casino style of Salsa dancing involves significant movement above the waist, with up-and-down shoulder movements and shifting of the ribcage.

The arms are used by the “lead” dancer to communicate or signal the “follower,” either in “open” or “closed” position. The open position requires the two dancers to hold one or both hands, especially for moves that involve turns, putting arms behind the back, or moving around each other, to name a few examples. In the closed position, the leader puts the right hand on the follower’s back, while the follower puts the left hand on the leader’s shoulder.

In the original Latin America form, the forward/backward motion of Salsa is done in diagonal or sideways with the 3-step weight change intact.

In some styles of salsa, such as LA and New York style, the dancers remain in a slot or line (switching places), while in some Latin American styles, such as Cuban style, the dancers circle around each other, sometimes in 3 points. This circular style is inspired by Cuban Son, specifically to the beat of Son Montuno in the 1920s. However, as it is a popular music, it is open to improvisation and thus it is continuously evolving. New modern salsa styles are associated and named to the original geographic areas that developed them. There are often devotees of each of these styles outside of their home territory. Characteristics that may identify a style include: timing, basic steps, foot patterns, body rolls and movements, turns and figures, attitude, dance influences and the way that partners hold each other. The point in a musical bar music where a slightly larger step is taken (the break step) and the direction the step moves can often be used to identify a style.

Incorporating other dance styling techniques into salsa dancing has become very common, for both men and women: shimmies, leg work, arm work, body movement, spins, body isolations, shoulder shimmies, rolls, even hand styling, acrobatics and lifts.

Latin American styles originate from Cuba and surrounding Caribbean islands.


Student Demonstration


Contact Us

If you have any questions, suggestions, or any requests for the club, please fill out the form below and click send.  Your message will go to the Medicine Hat Ballroom Dance Club email account only.


If you prefer to talk to someone in person, please call Ira at 403-544-5086 during business hours.