Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dancing steps up pupils' fitness

Pupils dancing
Pupils will be taking part in dance lessons at school

Dancing is taking centre stage in a government scheme to help get schoolchildren fit.

About 2,500 children in 29 schools are expected to take part in the pilot programme of lessons.

The schools involved are in Darwen, Lancashire, Salford, Rotherham in Yorkshire, Bromley in South London and Falmer near Brighton.

BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova helped to develop the scheme.

Tackle obesity

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools, and Families, said dancing was a fantastic way for children to keep fit.

He said he hoped the scheme would encourage children who do not like competitive sports.

"Dance forms part of the PE and sport curriculum and I hope both teachers and children will quickly see the benefits from these pilots," Mr Balls said.

"Making physical activity an attractive option for all young people is especially important if we are to tackle obesity and give young people enjoyable and positive activities they can take part in both during and after school."

Darren Bennett said the participation of sports stars like Darren Gough, Mark Ramprakash and Matt Dawson in Strictly Come Dancing made "boys see ballroom and Latin dance in a whole new light".

"If their sporting heroes can do it, then so can they," he said.


Schools in England are incorporating ballroom dancing into the curriculum

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