PUBLISHED: 16:49 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:50 20 February 2013
Norfolk dance floors are filling with men and women learning how to step out in style.
Keep dancing! With TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing inspiring even the most flat-footed, across Norfolk dance floors are filling with men and women learning how to step out in style, as Gay Webster discovers.
Remember when ballroom dancing was something that younger generations would sneer at? No more today, thanks to the huge popularity of television series like Strictly Come Dancing, knowing how to waltz across the floor with aplomb or foxtrot with finesse are skills most of us would love to master.
Although those dinner dances may only come round a couple of times a year, the thought of dazzling on the dance floor is making an increasing number of us turn to lessons to learn the moves for everything from a rumba to a mambo.
And if all that feels a little too formal, there is the growing band of alternative dance classes, with as wide a range as Egyptian dancing and line dancing!
It seems that the Strictly Come Dancing effect has never been so strong as it is now in Norfolk, where classes are booming in all disciplines of dance. Couples keen on polishing their steps, individuals looking for a sociable way to exercise and make friends, and long-term dance fans are all making the most of the new dance fever.
And expect it to step up a pace next month when those Strictly darlings James and Ola Jordan shimmy their way to Norfolk for a stunning dance extravaganza. The husband and wife celebrity duo promises to deliver scintillating performances when they take to the dance floor at Barnham Broom Hotel, near Norwich, on March 26.
Managing director Noel Byrne comments: James and Ola combine great talent and athleticism on the dance floor with a gracefulness and passion that is mesmerising to watch.
Specialising in Latin American Dancing, the award winning couple who were ranked in the top 12 at the 2006 International Professional Latin American Championships, are to host an exclusive afternoon dance master class for 10 couples followed by a gala dinner and cabaret performance in the evening.
Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancings professionals Brian Fortuna and Kristina Rihanoff are visiting Cromer Pavilion Theatre on March 22 and 23 with their new show that is sure to be a hit with all dance fans it includes demonstrations, a question and answer session and workshops with audience participation.
For more details of the event at Barnham Broom Hotel, call 01603 759393. Tickets cost 120 single or 180 per couple for the dance master class and 95 per person for the dinner dance. For tickets for the Cromer Pavilion shows, call the box office on 01263 512495.
Bedecked with jewels and tassels, a group of women in North Walsham gets to show off the more extrovert side to their personalities every week.
I suppose this is all part of the extra confidence that Egyptian dance can bring, says Jane Barrett, who runs classes in the town.
Jane took over the classes in 2004 after taking part as a student.
Egyptian dance was something I had never heard of before. I went along out of curiosity, and was instantly hooked.
Women from 18 to 80 and of all shapes and sizes are welcome at the classes, and Jane finds they join for many reasons.
They may have seen belly-dancing on holiday perhaps, and would like to have a go. They may think of it as a way of getting or keeping, fit. Someone may have told them that it is really good fun or they may just like the idea of being part of a group and making new friends, says Jane.
There are all sorts of reasons for joining and all of them realistic. Egyptian (belly-dancing) dance is indeed a wonderful way of both getting and keeping fit, and it also tremendous fun.
Want to give it a go? Call Jane on 01692 409930 or visit www.northnorfolkbellydance.
Originally the chosen dance of cowboy hat-wearing country and western fans, line dancing has since become more mainstream, with chart-topping pop tunes among the tracks for the routines.
And its beauty is that you can learn modern, ballroom, jazz or Latin routines without the need for a partner.
Line dancing choreography also gives dancers the chance to cotton on to the moves, with a sequence repeated throughout the dance.
Its ideal for people who love learning to dance but havent got a willing partner, says Patsy Webster, who has been running classes in the area for many years. Its also ideal for all ages, shapes and sizes, and is a great way to socialise and meet new people.
She comments that the old days of dances only being choreographed to country music are long gone, though it is still incorporated into the classes. Theres much more scope now to find tracks to please a wider range of people, from the very young to very old, including waltzes, rock and pop.
Sara Colman, who runs classes along with Patsy, adds that it is a great way to keep fit and mobile too, particularly for older people as the moves are low impact and do not put stress on joints.
Staying mobile as you get older is so important, she says. And if you can have fun at the same time, then that has to be a bonus.
Find out more about Patsys classes in Hoveton and Stalham on 01692 407232 and Saras in the North Walsham area on 01263 720534.
Salsa in Norwich is a great way to have fun, socialise and keep fit whether you have a dance partner or not says Nad Naqvi, who started running classes more than two years ago when he was made redundant.
I had loved Salsa for 10 years, so when I was made redundant and wanted to stay in Norwich, I decided to make a career of it, he explains.
Hes happy that shows like Strictly Come Dancing are bringing dance to a wider audience, particularly as it helps boost numbers when the show is on. Salsa is fun, sociable, keeps you active and the music is fantastic, he says.
Classes range from the traditional dance style with a partner to the most aerobic form of salsa, developed by the Columbians, which is more like a fitness routine, targeting the abdomen.
Were concentrating on fast and snazzy footwork that you can also take to your local club and show your mates whats what, says Nad.
And even if you do come along with a partner, theres the chance to meet new people, he adds: We change dancing partners during the evening, so everyone gets to dance with everyone else.
As well as in Norwich,there are classes in Diss and currently at Neatishead, near Wroxham.
Adults who join the modern theatre classes which include street dancing at Anglia Academy in Norwich, can soon find themselves taking part in performances.
Dancer and choreographer Mark Hudson, who has recently moved his studio into a converted church in Elm Hill, says even those who are not keen to appear on stage are soon swayed, donning skimpy outfits to take part in shows and other performances, including the Lord Mayors Procession.
The main reason people do classes is for enjoyment, says Mark. But there is also the social side, which helps builds confidence, and its great for keeping fit.
The classes have been very popular. Shows like Strictly have led to a big resurge in dance classes as they are seen by a prime-time audience. Its also encouraged men to join the classes after seeing cricket and rugby stars taking part, he adds.
It has also meant new ballroom and Latin classes starting at the beginning of the year because of the increased demand.
Mark has been involved in dance for 24 years and with Anglia Academy for 21 of those. He was originally dragged along to dance classes by his sister, but soon became hooked, particularly on musical theatre.
He finds a lot of his students used to dance in their youth and have decided to take it up again after being encouraged by what they have seen on TV. Its even led to a new career for a couple of those, who decided they loved it so much second time around they wanted to train to be teachers.
Contact Anglia Academy on
01603 625079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org