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Back To School: Strictly Ballroom Dancing For Kids

11th September 2015

Back To School: Strictly Ballroom Dancing For Kids
The return of Strictly Come Dancing means one thing, dancing live on TV for thirteen weeks. How good does that sound?

Every year, Strictly Come Dancing causes a surge in popularity for Dance studios and teachers. People are inspired by the performances of their favourite celebrities each week and decide to give it a go for themselves.

However Strictly isn't just about the celebrities, it's also about their partners, the professional dancers. The professional dancers on Strictly vary in age, but what they do have in common is the journeys they've been through to be successful. They are perfect examples that learning to dance as a child has great benefits.

Commitment

Kevin Clifton is one of the professional dancers on this years show and is competing alongside actress Kellie Bright. He'll be hoping to go one step further this year, after finishing runner up in the previous two series alongside Frankie Bridge and Susanna Reid.

Kevin has been dancing since he was a young boy and has had a successful career since then. This is largely down to the encouragement of his parents Keith and Judy. They taught him how to dance as a child, using there knowledge as former World Number 1s.

Under there guidance he became Youth World Number 1, a four time British Latin Champion and won International Open titles in 14 countries across two continents.

His sister Joanne also appeared on last years Strictly Come Dancing. 31 year old Joanne has been dancing for 27 years. She entered her first competition at the age of four and turned professional 12 years later when she moved to Italy and joined Europe's biggest Dance School; Team Diablo. During her dancing career, she has won five British Championships, 3 Italian Championships and was named Professional Ballroom European Champion in 2012.

The Clifton's are a great example of the benefits of starting ballroom dance young, and with a closer look down Strictly's professional lineup, there are a number of other dancers who have also reaped the benefits of starting early.

Irishman Tristan McManus began dancing as young boy and had a successful junior career. He started dancing in his home-town of Bray in Ireland, and from there on went on to compete across Europe, securing titles at Juvenile, Junior and Amateur Level. Since turning professional, he is now entering his third year as a dancer on Strictly, returning after a five year spell on American Dance show 'Dancing With The Stars'.

Other examples from this years professional line-up include Kristina Riahoff, who has competed since she was just seven years old, Pasha Kovalev who began dancing when he was eight and Ola Jordan who was crowned Polish Champion when she was only 17. Anton Du Beke started a little later in life at the age of 14, but has still gone on to have a successful career.

The variation of backgrounds amongst the shows dancers are what make it an amazing competition, but the proof is in the the performances - starting while you are young can lead to success. There's no better time to get your kids signed up to a ballroom dance class than now.

What is Ballroom Dancing?

Ballroom dancing is becoming more popular with children. Whereas tap and ballet were traditionally more popular with kids, thanks to shows like Strictly, more are becoming interested in ballroom. There are a number of variations of ballroom dancing that can be learnt.

Waltz - The most well known of the ballroom dances and often considered the most romantic. The Waltz is a smooth line dance characterised by it's 'rise and fall' action.

Tango - Originating in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Tango is a fast-paced ballroom dance known for being quite abrupt, intense and dramatic.

Foxtrot - The foxtrot is extremely popular and is a smooth style of ballroom. It is a challenging style, with timing of the essence.

Quickstep - Essentially a faster version of the Foxtrot. It's all about quick feet and synchronised stepping.

Jive - Commonly associated with swing music, the Jive is an energetic dance style that involves a lot of kicking and flicking!

Samba - Founded on the streets of Rio De Janiero, the samba is a free-flowing and fast dance style usually seen during carnival celebrations.

When is a good time to start?

Ballroom dancing can be learnt from as young as 2 years old. By the age of 2, children begin to understand basic patterns and rhythms so dancing is not as difficult as you might think, and there are dance classes for toddlers available.

There are an increasing number of Dance Schools and Studios that offer ballroom dance classes for children.

Learning a creative activity like Dance can be very healthy for a child's development. Emotionally it can be a great way for them to express there feelings through their actions and physically it helps to get them active and healthy from a young age.

Even if you're not sure about your child being the next world champion dancer, ballroom is still a great hobby. It is a lot of fun and they can still achieve gradings without competing. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ITSD) examine students who not only want to progress to a career in dance, but also those who just do it for fun. You can read all about the examination process on there website.

When looking for a dance class for your children, there are a number of things to consider. Cost, timing, location and the type of class are all things to think about when dancing lessons. You can find more detailed information on what you need to consider in our article; Back To School: How to find a dance school for kids.

Once you know what to look for, finding a dance class is easy on Dance Near You. Simply use our class finder tool to find classes in your local neighbourhood.
Source: Dance Near You