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Saturday, 20 May, 2000, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Charles dazzles with dance display
Prince Charles dancing
Prince Charles pictured with Carol-Ann Stephenson
Prince Charles has been praised for his "natural rhythm" during his visit to a dance company.

The heir to the throne, who was invited to Edinburgh's DanceBase performing arts centre, took to the boards and dazzled onlookers with his merengue moves.

The impromptu performance won a tribute from teacher Carol-Ann Stephenson, 32, who said the prince had "plenty of potential".

She had persuaded him to try the Caribbean merengue dance, which she described as "passionate and sensual".

General Assembly
Earlier the prince addressed the kirk

As students watched, Ms Stephenson led the prince through the moves at the lottery-funded centre, which is scheduled to be fully open in the summer of next year.

Afterwards she said: "It was a great pleasure to dance with the Prince of Wales. He has natural rhythm.

"I certainly enjoyed our dance, and I think he did as well. The merengue is a very passionate, sensual dance and although he had never tried it before he was picking up the moves very well.

"He has great potential."

Behind the dancers, a skip filled with building site rubbish was visible through a gap in the wall and a giant crane loomed over the centre, in Edinburgh's Grassmarket.

Earlier, the prince attended the first session of the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

'Rattling really bad'

He then visited a drugs counselling centre and met a recovering heroin addict who revealed that he was suffering withdrawal symptoms as they chatted.

Philip Hodgson, 31, was one of a group of addicts telling the prince about their experiences.

Mr Hodgson, a homeless man from Edinburgh, said: "You have got to come down slowly or you start rattling really bad."

The prince asked him about the withdrawal symptoms and Mr Hodgson said: "I'm rattling just now."

The encounter came during a visit to Simpson House, a drugs counselling centre run by the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, which helps addicts and their families.

After meeting the prince, Mr Hodgson said: "He was really down to earth and interested in my problems. I'm trying to give up heroin but I've relapsed twice, hopefully this will be third time lucky."

Other addicts told the Prince about how they had become hooked on drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine.

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