Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Monday, 22 June 2009 16:19 UK

Quick step to 'better behaviour'

Lillia Kopylova and Darren Bennett with children from the scheme
Strictly Come Dancing stars helped devise the programme

Ballroom and Latin dancing classes can improve pupils' behaviour as well as their fitness, research suggests.

Dancing the cha-cha-cha, quick step or waltz in PE also helps shy children gain self-esteem and less sporty pupils get involved, the report said.

The study of 2,500 children on the Essentially Dance scheme in England said it had the potential to make a "huge impact on children's learning".

It was created partly by dancers from BBC TV's Strictly Come Dancing show.

One of them, Darren Bennett, said: "It has always been our dream that every young person should have the opportunity to learn Ballroom and Latin American dancing and finally this is being realised through Essentially Dance.

"It is exciting to see how successful it has become and we are looking forward to seeing the long term results."


Roehampton University's Dr Jeanne Keay, who conducted the research, said the response to the programme in the 29 primary and secondary schools involved was overwhelmingly positive.

He said communication and co-operation improved between boys and girls, who worked together as dance partners.

And that behaviour had improved because of the "disciplined and structured nature of ballroom and Latin dance".

The research also found that the programme has the potential to positively affect social interaction within families and in local communities.

At one school where behaviour in PE had previously been poor, the teacher praised the scheme saying: "These boys, they usually can't get out of school fast enough and now they're giving up their free time to do this."

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