Video: A touch of ballroom and latin
PUBLISHED: 18:18 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:18 26 October 2009
ACCORDING to Tom Pena anyone can learn to dance. Even if you have two left feet it is possible to trip the light fantastic if you persevere and don t get downhearted. Tom, who teaches for And123 Dance School in WGC and Hatfield, said: You know it s true.
ACCORDING to Tom Pena anyone can learn to dance.
Even if you have two left feet it is possible to trip the light fantastic if you persevere and don't get downhearted.
Tom, who teaches for And123 Dance School in WGC and Hatfield, said: "You know it's true. You only have to watch Strictly Come Dancing to see that even people who start off badly can learn to shine. For example, the rugby guy Matt Dawson."
Speaking of rugby one of the raw recruits in Tom's Friday night ballroom and latin class at the Gosling Stadium is ex scrum-half Philippa Johnson who used to play for Hitchin Womens rugby club.
So what made Philippa, 43, of Watton Road, Knebworth turn to dancing?
Philippa, who currently works at The Lytton Arms in Knebworth, has had an interesting career ranging from acting as a stunt woman and teaching sailing.
A bit of a self-confessed tomboy she nevertheless has a deeply feminine side which loves the glitter and gloss of the dance costumes featured on SCD.
She was apparently so inspired by the programme - especially by this year's homegrown champ Alesha Dixon from WGC - that she decided to join the scrum of would-be dancers.
After her first cha cha lesson, her verdict was: "Great. I really enjoyed it and I shall definitely come again. I loved the rhythm of it. Its not so strange that I should love rugby and dance because everything has its own rhythm."
As regards the music, Tom has responsibility for choosing it and he said, contrary to expectation, ballroom is definitely not about old fashioned tunes.
The music he picks for his taught routines is every bit as modern as the stuff you hear on SCD.
And as for the old-fashioned view that many men hold on dancing, this has been largely dispelled by the sporting heroes featured on SCD.
And Tom himself is a martial arts instructor with a matchless six-pack and superior strength.
Assistant dance teacher Aliceson Pollard said: "I hate the gym. To me keeping fit doing something I love is a much better idea. This is sociable. You might not be the best dancer in the world but it gets you out doing something active, having fun and meeting people.
"We've had quite a few romances during the time I've been coming dancing. Lots of the married couples who come actually met dancing."
A typical case in point are Sandra Baker and Dave Fairhurst of Handside Close, WGC who met going dancing 10 years ago.
That was jiving but they moved onto salsa then Argentine Tango and now ballroom at the Gosling which brings their dance days up to about three or four a week.
Sandra, a slim and supple reflexologist and aromatherapist, said: "It's something we can share although we both have our own hobbies and interests. We have made friends dancing and we are both active, fit people who prefer a night out doing something rather than sitting in a pub or going to the cinema although we do that too."
Dave, who retired early from the oil business and does voluntary work three days a week, said: "It's nice that we can get up and dance if we go to a party.
"Sometimes men ask me questions about the dancing and I think more of them would like to have a go but they're scared. If only they realised the people are warm and friendly and helpful.
"No-one is out to put you down or make you look silly."
Sandra said: "The other helpful thing about this dance school is that they video the lessons so you can mug up on the moves later in the privacy of your own home. The web site is excellent and easy to use showing you where the lessons are every night of the week."
Ballroom and Latin classes started in March at The Gosling Stadium in WGC on a Friday night from 8.15pm onwards.
And123 also hold classes in Argentine Tango on Sunday afternoons from 2.30pm onwards at the Next Generation Club in Hatfield.