Fordney Foundation Goes International

Photo Source: Wikimedia

It’s official, the Fordney Foundation is now international! That’s right, we are happy to report that we are sponsoring our first international competition and it’s happening this month! Canada is the first country to join our series. We are excited to report that through our association with Brigitt Mayer, the Fordney Foundation is now sponsoring the Can-Am DanceSport Gala’s Junior and Youth divisions and we are proud to welcome Can-Am to our growing competition roster.

The Can-Am DanceSport Gala will take place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 19 – 22, 2018. We know it’s short notice, but if you can attend, here is the information:


Organizers: John Karakis, Brigitt Mayer, Ann Harding-Trafford and Lisa Mclachan


You may recall, in a past blog I posted, Brigitt Mayer, is an amazing person and has accomplished so much in the world of ballroom dance. To add to her already incredible resume, Brigitt is one of the organizers of the Can-Am DanceSport Gala in Canada. We wanted to welcome Brigitt and Can-Am to the Fordney Foundation organization. We were lucky to catch up with Brigitt to do this short interview with her, as she is very busy getting ready for Can-Am.

Freddie Brock: Brigitt, I call you a “dance advocate” because you have brought so much talent, hard work and passion to ballroom dance. With all that you do, how did you find the time to be one of the organizers of Can-Am? (I encourage our readers to read the blog I did on Brigitt in March 2018. You will read about many of Brigitt’s outstanding and on-going accomplishments in ballroom dance, too numerous to mention here).

Brigitt Mayer: Well, this is an interesting story in itself… first (in 1996, I think) I’ve danced in this competition with my partner Brian Torner. Ann Harding, one of the organizers was Brian‘s coach, since he started as a Junior, and of course we wanted to dance in her competition. This is how I met John Karakis; the other organizer, and my ‘now’ husband.

In 2004, Ann and John lost the venue for the event (it was turned into a condominium place) and they searched a few years for a new fitting place. In 2011, they brought it back to the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel at the Toronto waterfront. It was then that Ann asked me to join the organizing team.

FB: In 2000, you received the Can-Am DanceSport Special Achievement Award in Toronto for your contribution to ballroom dancing. Please tell us about this and what it means to you?

BM: Can-Am was actually one of the first events in North America to give out an award! Brian and I got it for our achievements representing Canada and becoming 2nd in the World Latin Showdance Championships (to name one). It is not only given to Canadians, but also to Americans. Sam Sodano got it, John Kimmins, got it, Wendy Johnson received it and many more. It was quite an honour for Brian and I.

FB: Can-AM is a world-class ballroom dance competition, what would you like to say to our up and coming ballroom dancers to inspire them to travel to Toronto, Canada for this comp?

Photo Source: Wikimedia

BM: Although, of course, now I am co-organizing it – I have danced at Can-Am! The organizers always take great care in picking a fantastic judging panel. I think for a competitor, it is really important to be judged by the best adjudicators that you can find out there. Again, important for the competitors; we have a really great dance floor that we bring in all the way from the States. It’s actually the same floor that is used by Sam Sodano for Ohio Star Ball. And then, of course, Toronto, in the summer, is a fabulous destination. The city has so much to offer and we are right at the waterfront in the heart of the city; absolutely gorgeous!

FB: Of all of your accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

BM: I’m not sure how to answer this. Yes, I’ve done a lot of things within Ballroom dancing; competed, I’m coaching couples, wrote a book, now work on the Board of Directors of all our Canadian associations, Archivist of the WDC, co-organize a competition – all of what I do is because I love the the work I do. I never feel ‘I’m proud of this and proud of that’ – I don’t work that way, I just do what I love.

FB: Can you tell us why you chose to partner with our foundation?

BM: Can-Am has always been part of the World DanceSport series and now that we found out that there is also a series for the youth, we thought ‘what a fabulous idea let’s join’! It is obviously very important that we all support our children and youth, they are our future. So to present them with platforms to improve and to show their abilities in front of a great judging panel is important and the additional funds they can earn help a lot too!

Photo Source: Google

FB: You are obviously a talented and successful person who has accomplished a lot of different things in the dance world. Can you talk to people out there who know they want to work in the dancesport/ballroom world, in other ways, other than to be a dancer? What would you say to him or her to inspire them to seek out a career?

BM: That is an interesting question. It seems to be the logical conclusion for a lot of dancers, that after your competitive career, you become a coach and adjudicator. That’s how we all start and then it depends really on your personality and your individual personal situation. For me, at the time of retirement, with a newborn baby and a husband in the dance business, working late hours, it was necessary to find a way of staying in the business and taking care of our child. I had to reinvent myself . That’s when I started research into my book Ballroom Icons. There’s really much more in this field that can be explored as a career after competing.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into Brigitt’s world. We wish to congratulate Brigitt Mayer for all that she has achieved and also for allowing Fordney Foundation to be a part of Can-Am DanceSport Gala. We look forward to many years of working with you!

Thought Of The Week:

Create, Inspire, Impact



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website