Ballroom dancing is set to become the latest craze in classrooms across Britain, as part of an effort to harness the success of the television show Strictly Come Dancing to combat childhood obesity.
In the recently launched scheme, schoolchildren in both primary and secondary schools will take part in Strictly Come Dancing-style sessions in school hours. The scheme, which will be piloted in 26 schools across the country, aims at improving youngsters’ health and self-esteem as they learn a range of dance styles.
If it proves successful, it will be offered to all UK schools from this summer and slotted into the national curriculum as part of the PE syllabus. Two teachers at each participating school will themselves be given lessons in ballroom dancing techniques so they can lead the sessions.
The youngsters will then be put through their paces as they attempt the cha-cha-cha, waltz, jive, salsa and quick step – and other styles of ballroom and Latin dancing.
Academic experts who evaluated that project found that engaging young people in the discipline of ballroom dance gave students who struggled academically an outlet of expression that boosted their self-esteem, confidence and improved classroom behaviour.
The introduction of the scheme in primary and secondary schools follows an exhortation from the Health Secretary Alan Johnson for adults to consider taking dance classes as a means to improve their health and fitness and crack down on obesity.
The UK project will be evaluated by researchers at Roehampton University. Some of the schools involved in the pilot scheme have already been putting pupils through their paces.
Gotta Ballroom is your guide to dancing the waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz.