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Jason Donovan and Kristina Rihanoff
Rory Bremner and Erin Boag
Lulu and Brendan Cole
Edwina Currie and Vincent Simone
Aliona Vilani and McFly drummer, Harry Judd,
Artem Chigvintsev and Australian actress,
James Jordan and The One Show presenter,
Ola Jordan and footballer, Robbie Savage,
Katya Virshilas and TV presenter, Dan Lobb,
Anton Du Beke and TV personality, Nancy Dell'Olio,
Pasha Kovalev and Waterloo Road star, Chelsee Healey,
Robin Windsor and Soap royalty, Anita Dobson,
Strictly Series 9 - 14 Professionals and Celebrities announced 10-09-2011
How 'Strictly Come Dancing' launched a keep-fit dance trend
By Helen McCormack
Saturday, 11 December 2004 Source: The Independent Online
The words "ballroom dancing" once brought to mind an image of old ladies shimmying around a draughty church hall in each other's arms, no eligible bachelor in sight.
But watching celebrities dance, with varying success, on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing has sparked a resurgence in what is described by its followers as "partner dancing".
There will be plenty of unlikely fans among the estimated eight million electing to stay in tonight to watch the final and find out whether it will be the comedian Julian Clary, the EastEnders actress Gill Halfpenny or the athlete Denise Lewis who will waltz, jive or jitterbug to ballroom glory.
Previously seen, at best, as kitsch, or at worst fusty, the genre's image was arguably not helped by Terry Wogan's original Come Dancing of the Seventies and Eighties. But its 21st-century reincarnation is helping to revive dance schools.
Aspiring Fred and Gingers are turning up in increasing numbers at schools across the country, indicating a positive revolution in how people think about ballroom and Latin dancing. "The amount of people coming through our doors has trebled as a result of the programme," says Pat Lait, 59, who has been running the Lait Dance Club from an Ipswich church hall with her husband, Tom, 74, for the past 30 years.
"We're getting a lot more younger people, particularly young couples, although you still get the few women on their own, and men, for that matter."
For Mrs Lait, who together with her husband performed three times on Come Dancing in the Seventies, the revival is overdue. "Dancing has everything - it's an art, it's a healthy activity and it's so social. I'm delighted it's seeing such a comeback - not before time."
The emerging trend marks a move away from decades of solitary dancing in clubs and discos that began in the Seventies, according to Vernon Kemp, who runs the Central London School of Dance.
"Not just one but two generations have danced alone, doing their own thing. It's taken people a long time to realise the vast majority of the population don't know what their own thing is, and it does no harm to follow a few pre-ordained steps.
"Rather than think why people stopped dancing together, we should be amazed that they ever started dancing alone - it's so much more fun together. The BBC has been very clever in a way. It's tapped in to something that is so old that it has gone from being stale to cool."
Simon Selmeon, who runs the London Swing Dance Society, has noticed enthusiasm for partner dancing has spilt out from what is featured on the BBC into his area - swing music. "We have had a lot of people in who say, 'We want to dance like Fred and Ginger - like in Strictly Come Dancing'.
"The programme has broadened out the type of people who would give swing a try. Our type has always attracted a slightly younger crowd than ballroom dancing, but we are getting more and more students in."
The British Dance Council, the governing body for ballroom and Latin dancing, said it had been inundated with requests following the second series. "The phone hasn't stopped ringing," said the company secretary, Margaret Harris. "It's drawing in all sorts of people who wouldn't necessarily get to find out about it, from teenagers to old people. It's been quite inspirational."
Reasons to GO Dancing
One of the great things about Dancing. Are the bonuses that come with it. Like the Social
In an atmosphere where feeling you are put at ease by the Dance Teacher. Where you are able to put any work worries and stresses of the day behind you.