DANCERS across Huddersfield are proving that the ballroom is not just for celebrities.
Groups of residents from retirement homes and social organisations are packing out halls in Kirklees thanks to a council- run scheme.
Since its launch just over a year ago, Shall We Dance? now has a long waiting list for its tea dance celebrations.
And a further 52 people have been trained in how to lead dance sessions.
It shows the popularity of dance, as emphasised by the success of the TV series Strictly Come Dancing.
Founder of the scheme, physical development activities officer, Kelly Brown, said: “Shall We Dance? is a learning project for adult and older people.
“We run three classes weekly and we will be holding a fourth one in the new year.
“Along with teaching people how to dance, we train people in how to lead dance sessions and equip them with the skills to provide a sustainable community based activity
“Leaders are able to take independent teach classes or most commonly they lead classes within an organisation such as the Alzheimer’s Society and dementia services.
“We hold classes in a range of different places including at the Galpharm Stadium, Colne Valley Leisure Centre and the Phoenix Squash and Fitness Club in Honley.
“And the classes are for anybody who wants to come along.
“Tea dances are held throughout the year and they have grown in popularity.
“This time last year we had around 60 dancers but at the Christmas Tea Dance at Dewsbury Town Hall this year we had 170 and 55 on the waiting list.
“More and more people have been in contact and want to get involved.”
Activities co-ordinator for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, Carly Webster, was one of the first to take part in the training scheme and now leads sessions in retirement homes across Kirklees.
She said: “The dancing has just been a new lease of life for myself and the people that go to the dances.
“Dancing is a great way of getting people healthy and active and it is something that most of the people I work with used to do.
“So now they are up on their feet doing basic dances like the Cha Cha, Quick Step and the Waltz.
“Different sessions have then been held across different retirement living homes.
“As people get frailer they think they are unable to dance like they used to.
“But now they have found that just taking part in a gentle waltz is easy and their confidence has really grown.
“The dances are very sociable and the residents don’t just get excited about socialising with one another; they socialise with residents from different homes.
“These celebratory events will get them through Christmas; they really look forward to them.
“Dancing has become very fashionable again and the residents know that they don’t necessarily have to conquer the Quick Step, they can simply enjoy just getting active.”
There are currently 19 retirement homes run by Kirklees neighbourhood housing and since being trained, Carly has helped get 70 residents involved in dancing.
Another tea dance will be held at Dewsbury Town Hall on February 15, those who are interested in attending are asked to contact the box office of any town hall in Kirklees.
For more information about classes contact Kelly on 234 092 or firstname.lastname@example.org