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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
TV show boosts ballroom dancing
Christopher Parker and partner Hanna Karttunen
Christopher Parker and partner Hanna Karttunen: viewer favourites
Think of ballroom dancing and sequinned dresses, fake tans and big hairstyles spring to mind.

But the pastime is now seeing a revival in fortunes, according to dance schools in south Wales.

The boost in the numbers of wannabe ballroom dancers is being put down to the BBC One series, Strictly Come Dancing.

Anne Watkins who runs Dance World in Newport said that more people than ever before were taking to the dance floor - and put the reason down to the popularity of the show.

"It has had an absolutely amazing effect," she said.

"More children than ever are coming here to learn and when I ask them why they want to learn they all say its because they have seen the programme.

"But it's not just the children, we have had lots of adults too from those in their 20s right to the over 50s.

"And we have had a lot of calls from people who used to dance who want to have a go again.

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole are in the final two

"The programme is wonderful and has really boosted the interest in dancing," she said.

Harry Marks, who runs the Harry and Sybil Dance School in Cardiff, has also received a lot of interest since the show began last month.

"The telephone has been ringing a lot more than usual with people interested in learning to dance and I can only think that it is the television show which has done that," he said.

"I think it appeals to people because it is something that couples can do together.

"And all of the dance pupils are talking about the show when they come in for lessons.

"It has certainly boosted people's interest in learning to dance," he said.

Strictly Come Dancing began with eight celebrities who were paired up with professional dancers who put them through their paces for a live Saturday night dance.

Lesley Garrett and Anton du Beke
Lesley Garrett and Anton du Beke made it to the last three

Currently only two celebrities remain in the competition, BBC Breakfast presenter Natasha Kaplinsky and Eastenders actor Christopher Parker, and they will battle it out to be champions during the next show.

Frank Edwards, who runs the Edwards School of Dance also in Cardiff said that his telephone has been ringing more than ever.

"People seem to have been reminded what it is like to dance with the television show," he said.

"We have had lots of telephone calls from people saying that they used to dance and would like to have a go again.

"We are busier now than we have been in a long time and there does seem to be a lot more interest in ballroom dancing now.

"Everyone in the school is watching the show and talking about it when they come in and there are about 15 of our pupils going up to watch the show next week," he added.

The final episodes of Strictly Come Dancing will be screened on BBC One on Saturday at 1900 BST and 2045 BST.

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