Strictly necessary: a new ballroom to meet demand

Embargoed to 2000 Saturday December 3''For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only.''BBC handout photo of Jason Donovan (right) dancing during dress rehearsals for the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday December 2, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.

Embargoed to 2000 Saturday December 3''For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only.''BBC handout photo of Jason Donovan (right) dancing during dress rehearsals for the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday December 2, 2012. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: Guy Levy/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.

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A SHEFFIELD dance centre is looking to add another ballroom to help keep up with demand, especially from younger enthusiasts, on the coat-tails of Strictly Come Dancing.

Numbers of adults have more than doubled and children more than trebled at Drapers Dance Centre in High Street, Beighton, largely as a result of the blockbuster BBC TV series.

Now owners Hayley and Scott Draper are planning a third ballroom.

“Considering the economic climate, the dance centre is doing well,” said Hayley. “There has been a steady increase in numbers because of Strictly.”

The programme “has given people who have been meaning to do it for ages a little kick to start a class”, she said.

The centre was established 35 years ago by Raymond and Carol Draper and was taken over seven years ago by their son, Scott, and his wife, Hayley.

Scott is a former world and European professional finalist and Hayley was UK youth champion and an international and world youth finalist.

During the day, the Beighton premises tend to be used for competitive coaching and toddlers’ classes but it is in the evening that the highest demand is being seen among people primarily wanting to enjoy themselves after work.

“Since the start of Strictly on the TV we’ve seen numbers more than double in adults and more than treble in kids,” said Hayley. “Ballroom and Latin have become more popular but so has other forms of dance like street and freestyle plus dance exercise like Zumba.

“Strictly has also reduced our average age range for adults, with more couples in their 20s to 40s joining, whereas before 50s to 70s was the norm for what was seen as a fairly old-fashioned social pastime.”

Zumba, the latin-inspired fitness programme, is proving popular with dancers who see it as a way of keeping in shape and, in general, Strictly has helped to get across the message that dance can be a way of losing weight.

Men have been especially impressed, said Hayley. “They think it is alright to go along with their wife. There is less stigma.”

She added: “The feedback we are getting is that couples want to learn something together. They have run out of things to do that are non-competitive, such as going to the pub or the cinema.

“They want to do something together and to socialise with other people. Some of them want to take the dancing little bit further but most say it is for an enjoyable evening out.”

A planning application has been made to the council for a single-storey extension at the centre and extra car parking.

Architects say: “Due to increased patronage and membership of the dance centre, the owners now seek to increase the capacity with the construction of an additional dance hall and toilet facilities.”