Couple seeks to bring French food and dance to Greeley
May 21, 2017
Jeffrey Olivas teaches dance through the Greeley Recreation Center at the Greeley Senior Center, 1010 6th St, on Mondays. Country line dancing classes begin at 5 p.m. Ballroom dancing classes begin at 6 p.m.
Olivas teaches ballroom and country line dancing at the Windsor Recreation Center on Tuesdays.
Yannick Garreau teaches cooking classes twice a month at the Windsor Recreation Center. His next class takes place 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
For more information on classes available at or through the Greeley Recreation center, call (970) 350-9400 or go to http://www.greeleygov.com/activities/recreation.
For more information on cooking classes available at the Windsor Recreation center, call (970) 674-3500 or go to http://www.windsorgov.com/189/Community-Recreation-Center.
When Jeffrey Olivas and Yannick Garreau moved to Greeley in 2016, they were surprised to find there weren't many places to dance. Country line dancing was huge in France. They could find a place to dance every night of the week. They figured a city like Greeley, known for its cowboy culture, would have more places to go.
When Olivas couldn't find a good place to dance, he decided to create a space for it himself.
Olivas started dancing when he was a kid and went on to study dance in New York. He danced professionally on Broadway, at Disney World and at Lake Tahoe before he met Garreau and the two moved to France, Garreau's home country.
Dancing was a town affair in France, Olivas said. They used rooms in town hall to teach classes. It got the whole community involved. He misses that. The two moved to Greeley after 15 years in France because Olivas has family in town, and he wanted to spend more time with them.
Olivas now teaches dance at Greeley Senior Activity Center, 1010 6th St, every Monday. He teaches country line dancing at 5 p.m. and ballroom dancing at 6 p.m. He also teaches on Tuesdays at the Windsor Recreation Center, 250 11th St. He plans to start teaching salsa in the fall.
"It's a passion we want to share," Olivas said. "It's a way to bring people out to socialize in a laid-back atmosphere, and they can learn how to dance."
Garreau has been dancing for nearly two decades, as well, he said. That's how he and Olivas met. But his passion is food. He teaches French cooking classes at the Windsor Recreation Center twice a month. He hopes to start teaching in Greeley soon, too.
He was trained in the art of traditional French cuisine in France and wants to share that part of his home with folks in Greeley. Sometimes it can be tricky for Garreau to find all the ingredients he needs for those traditional recipes, but he scours grocery stores until he finds what he's looking for.
Beyond the food, he hopes people who take his classes learn to slow down and appreciate how everything tastes.
"We're trying to bring real traditional recipes that French people would cook at home," Olivas said.
Eventually, the two hope to open a restaurant with a dance floor. It would combine their two favorite things and allow them to share their love of France with the community.
"We want to show people what it's really like," Olivas said.
— Kelly Ragan writes features and covers health for The Greeley Tribune. Have a tip? Want to share your story? Call (970) 392-4424, email email@example.com or connect on Twitter @kelly_raygun.