Swing to fun and fitness

EMMA LEE The latest series of the celebrity gameshow Strictly Come Dancing revealed cricketer Darren Gough’s secret talent for tango. And the popular BBC programme has also encouraged viewers to give it a (t)whirl themselves.Ceroc is billed as a funky fusion of salsa and swing dancing .You don’t need to have any dance experience – there’s no complicated steps, it’s sociable, and you burn up calories to boot. EMMA LEE checked out a class in Norwich.

EMMA LEE

The latest series of the celebrity gameshow Strictly Come Dancing revealed cricketer Darren Gough's secret talent for tango.

And the popular BBC programme has also encouraged viewers to give it a (t)whirl themselves.

But what if you fancy having a go and are a bit worried you'll end up tripping over your two left feet?


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Ceroc could be the answer. Billed as a funky fusion of salsa and swing dancing, you don't need to have any dance experience - there's no complicated steps, it's sociable, and you burn up calories to boot.

In a standard Ceroc night you can register up to 13,000 paces on a pedometre - the daily target recommended by health experts is 10,000.

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There are about 500,000 members in Britain and some 50,000 of them attend classes every month.

Speaking to people in the beginners' class I went to at Earlham High School in Norwich, the words “hooked” and “addictive” cropped up quite regularly.

One woman, who was relatively new to Ceroc having been going with a friend for a few weeks, said: “It's good because it's easy to get in to, even if you're not a natural dancer.”

“I used to play squash,” one man told me. “But now I get all my exercise from coming to Ceroc.”

The session was led by mother-of-two Nettie Durbin, from Coltishall.

She and her husband are both instructors and one stays at home on babysitting duty while the other is out teaching.

“I'm not a professional dancer at all,” she says - although seeing her demonstrating the moves you'd never tell.

“I started doing Ceroc dancing 14 years ago and got hooked. After a few years I was approached and asked if I would consider becoming an instructor. I went to London and did my training.

“It's a good way to keep fit and you can dance to any style of music, right back to the '20s and '30s. It does incorporate a lot of dance styles, and when people have more experience they put their own interpretation on it.

“It's a partner dance, basically a modern jive. It's quite addictive really. There's no really fancy footwork. People pick it up after doing it for a while. And all age groups come and do it,” she says.

That was definitely true at Earlham High School - at a guess the ages of the people taking part ranged from teens to pensioners.

The moves - which at the session I was at were the arm jive push spin, the yo yo and the shoulder drop - look complicated when Nettie, wearing a Britney Spears-style headset microphone, demonstrates them up on stage.

But she breaks them down into bitesize pieces, and most people seem to get the hang of it in no time. And in each class there are a number of 'taxi' dancers, experienced Ceroc dancers, who are there to help out beginners.

“There are around 500 Ceroc moves,” Nettie says. “But there's no way anyone could ever know them all.”

Although it's a partner dance, you don't have to take one along to join in - many people go with friends or on their own.

There are more than 140 Ceroc nights established in Britain and there are franchises in Australia, Dubai, Italy, Spain and France too.

On average you'll find about 100 people at beginners' class and because you change partners every two minutes on average, you're likely to dance with 20 different people in each beginners' class. As well as the physical health benefits, exercise is also a good way of releasing stress.

And making new friends and expanding your social circle can be a confidence and self-esteem booster.

“People shouldn't be scared about coming along,” Nettie says. “We work as a team and it's great fun.”

> Ceroc classes are held in Norwich at Earlham High School on Mondays, Pinebanks Sports and Leisure Centre in Yarmouth Road on Tuesdays and the John Innes Social Club, Colney Lane, on Wednesdays. Classes start at 7.30pm. A six-week course of Ceroc taster sessions is being held at the Waveney House Hotel, Beccles, on Fridays from 7.30pm-10.30pm until end of February. Regular classes are expected to start at the hotel on Monday evenings from March 6.

There's no need to book or bring a partner - just turn up on your own or with friends.

t For more information contact 01362 690171 or visit www.cerocanglia.co.uk.

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