ARMY of SASS (AOS) is a heels dance performance and training program in Canada and the USA for dancers of all levels – from beginner, to professional. It is a chance to gain confidence and physical strength while working on improving dance skills in the sassy heels style. With three different class levels (Privates, Corporals and Lieutenants), there is an appropriate match for everyone’s skill set.
They have 20 plus locations/licensees in Canada currently for the upcoming season, and they’re now expanding in the USA as well.
Carla Catherwood is the CEO and Founder of Army of Sass. While living in Vancouver 11 years ago she was spending the night with some dance friends and a fellow teacher from LA. They were having fun dancing the night away when there was a shootout between two gangs and Carla was grazed with a bullet.
Unfortunately, Carla’s friend from LA was one of the innocent victims of this horrific event, and Carla knew she had to do something to help.
Fast forward to one year after the incident, she joined forces with the entire entertainment community of Vancouver to put together a fundraiser to honour her friend and assist with his recovery process and costs. Carla gathered 10 of her girlfriends and performed a burlesque-inspired piece for the fundraiser. Vancouver had never seen anything like this performance, so she decided to keep with it. From there, Carla established a dance crew called “Burlesque Beauties” – however, as time went on she wanted to perform less and dance more.
The day before she moved from Vancouver to Toronto in 2010 she was in a car accident and was injured, making performing a challenge. At the age of 29 rolling on 30, she knew it was time to throw in the ‘performing towel’ and go full speed ahead with producing, choreography, and teaching.
There she was, alone in a new city and all it took was a phone call from her mother to remind her of the cabaret shows she was doing in Vancouver. From there the light bulb went off, her mother suggested a program for her students to have them be a part of the show – and from there Army of Sass was created.
Carla’s mission with AOS is to educate, create and pay it forward to the dance community. That’s why she also offers a licensing program with a free education portion that provides business training for licensees where they receive a “business in a box” they can later take back home and run successfully in their hometown. Carla is consistently working to provide new content, cutting edge programming for the students and AOS productions.
In addition to all of this, Carla also pays it forward by working with organizations like Soul Dancers, to provide opportunities to dancers that wouldn't otherwise be given the opportunity to learn and grow in the dance world.
Soul Dancers is now working with Carla and the AOS movement through their fundraising initiative for ‘No Good Dancer left Behind’ (#NGDLB) 2017 fundraising campaign. These fundraisers are held by many AOS locations across Canada.
We have partnered with Army of Sass to help raise funds for Sebastian Burbano Sabogal and Yuli Jiménez – two amazing souls from Medellin, Columbia, who work tirelessly for Soul Dancers to help underprivileged children through the gift of dance, English lessons, art lessons, and so much more. Born and raised within the infamous “Pablo Escobar” region, these individuals have completely immersed their lives in dance when they barely had the means to do so.
This national fundraising initiative will help bring them from Colombia to Canada to further their education at a national dance teacher conference in July. Having never travelled outside their own country, this opportunity will be life changing. It will also provide them with boundary-breaking educational experiences to take back to their communities to help inspire the children they work with that truly need it.
Funds raised will pay for visa applications, flights, hotels and the national dance conference.
To learn more about this campaign, or to donate, please visit: http://armyofsass.com/nogooddancerleftbehind/