'Strictly Come Dancing's popularity shows no sign of flagging, as the BBC ballroom show draws in 10 million viewers each week and is now onto its eleventh series. That's a lot of sequins, a lot of fake tan and a LOT of left feet. But for some 'Strictly' fans, just watching isn't enough. What if you could bring your own ballroom fantasy to life? There are plenty of dance classes in London catering for those who like a bit of cha cha cha in their lives. If you've got a little sequinned number waiting in the wardrobe, give it an outing here…
A few years ago, inspired by 'Strictly', Jenni Kravitz took herself off to ballroom dancing classes, only to find herself in a roomful of women with no men to dance with. So she came up with a solution: Simply Dancing Partners. It offers ballroom, Latin, salsa and tango lessons where students can dance with professional partners (male and female), instantly making you feel like some sort of minor soap star waltzing round a BBC studio. Compared with other ways of learning, it's certainly a fast-track experience, but the catch is, it's also more expensive. Kravitz runs occasional tea dances at the Waldorf Hilton, where you can show off your moves in the elegant Palm Court (with pro partners on hand).
Simply Dancing Partners, classes held in central London (www.simplydancingpartners.co.uk).
Former 'Strictly' champion Karen Hardy now runs her own studios in Fulham, where she's hoping to bring a bit of showbiz sparkle to your lives. Yes, you, readers. She runs private and group classes for all ages and levels, and is expert at giving dance-phobic blokes the skills and confidence to take to the floor. Every couple of months there are party nights where everyone can glam up and get down.
Karen Hardy Studios, 10 The Boulevard, SW6 2UB (0845 567 1155/www.karenhardystudios.com).
Highbury dance school Studio LaDanza specialises in ballroom and Latin dance, teaching all ages and levels, from those who want to pick up a few steps for social dancing to serious competitors. They also run LGBT ballroom classes to promote same-sex dancing. You can book private lessons too.
An 'elegant and sociable' atmosphere is what they're aiming for at Kensington Dance Studio, which runs ballroom and Latin classes in West and South Kensington. Director Ralf Schiller is co-organiser of The Pink Jukebox, a fortnightly social dance for the LGBT community and friends at Holborn.
Studio LaDanza, 89 Holloway Road, N7 8LT (020 7700 3770/www.studioladanza.co.uk)
There's less razzle-dazzle but still plenty of dancing to be found at the capital's tea dances.
Ragroof Tea Dances: Friendly, quirky gathering for all ages at the lovely Chelsea Theatre. Monthly Saturdays. www.ragroofplayers.co.uk
BAC: Monthly Tuesday afternoon tea dance. www.bac.org.uk
Greenwich Dance: Trip the light fantastic on a Saturday afternoon. www.greenwichdance.org.uk
Royal Opera House: Enjoy a live band and the grandeur of the ROH on Friday afternoons. www.roh.org.uk
Inspiration 2 Dance is a school run by Ukrainian dancer Viktoriya Wilton and a team of pros. They run group and private classes in Latin and ballroom dance, in Kensington and Holland Park, with the motto: 'There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them.'
Inspiration 2 Dance (www.inspiration2dance.com)
A new social dance night that welcomes both ballroom dancers and swing dancers, Black Tie Ballroom Club will be tripping between waltzes, quicksteps and jives set to a live orchestra soundtrack. The club starts with a beginners' lesson to teach some basics. Black tie is the suggested dress code, although anything 'vintage' will do just fine.
Black Tie Ballroom Club, Indian YMCA,
41 Fitzroy Square,London W1T 6AQ
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