As Strictly Come Dancing kicks off its 15th Season, people are being inspired to take up ballroom dancing. It's not just the dancing; it's the glitz, ruffles and splits that dazzle and inspire. It's all part of dancing - dressing up, looking good and FEELING good.
Strictly employs professional costume designers who aim to leave viewers in awe, and this year is no exception. Designer, Vicky Gill, is giving it her all - topping last years glamorous Hollywood, Latino and Theatre costumes that looked amazing, whilst allowing the dancers performing lots of movement.
Dressing up helps to break down barriers, presenting a new look and a new you. It's all part of the fun of learning to ballroom dance.
When you learn to dance, you learn to express yourself both in movement and how you look. Dance is is not just about the movement, but also about drama and expression.
Do I need a glitzy ballroom outfit to learn Ballroom dancing?
The simple answer is 'no'. On Strictly you can see the contestants learning their steps and routines in casual clothing: sports tops and baggy pants. Some are clearly out of shape, so need to stay cool as they will sweat a lot. Don't forget they are under time pressure, so will practise their routines until they perfect them, at least as best as they can.
A beginners ballroom dancing class will last about an hour. Women can wear any practical sporting attire: a leotard, t-shirt or sweatshirt and leggings. Men usually wear a t-shirt or a casual top and pants that are flexible at the knee.
Some dance schools are more formal than others, but unless they say that there is a dress code, casual attire should be fine. If you go straight to a class from work take some loose fitting clothing to change into.
What shoes should I wear?
People dance in all kinds of footwear. A good school will have a professionally installed dance floor, so high heels are definitely a no-no. The dancers on Strictly wear professional dancing shoes, don't be fooled into thinking that these are everyday shoes. You will see that whilst training, the performers wear soft shoes or dance trainers.
You can dance in trainers or normal shoes. Avoid wearing shoes with a tall heel, as they will be unstable and could cause you to loose your balance and potentially injure yourself.
Top Tip: Take a range of flat-heeled shoes or trainers with you to your first session, or ask the teacher before attending a class. Some schools will have strict restrictions on footwear, especially if they have a specialist dance floor.
Once you're in the swing of things, you may want to buy proper dancing shoes. These can be bought for anywhere from £30 up to £100. If you fancy a bit of razzle dazzle, then you can expect to pay more.
Dancing is fun. It's social, entertaining and you get to meet a variety of new people; from doctors, taxi drivers, sales men and women, mums and dads, to students. Its a great way to re-energise your life.
The bottom line is you don't need the razzle before you can dazzle!
Find a Ballroom Dancing class on Dance Near You
There are lots of classes to choose from all over the country in major cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol, to small towns and even village halls. Get inspired and learn ballroom dancing today.