Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas gives Brixton schoolchildren dance lessons

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas surprised Brixton schoolchildren last week with dance lessons in order to improve their well-being as part of an Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) campaign.

Ballas spent the morning at Corpus Christi Primary School in south west London last Friday in an attempt to inspire children to dance.

The strictly judge is a member of the ISTD and is eager to see more lessons available in schools.

The ISTD campaign, Find Your Dance Space, aims to encourage people to find their love of dancing regardless of their age, gender or fitness level.

The BBC star said: “Dance is a wonderful outlet that enables people to connect and express themselves, and I feel passionately that more children should have the opportunity to experience and enjoy it.

“If schools were to bring in a trained teacher to offer safe, structured dance lessons, I think pupils and the school would reap the rewards immediately.”

Ginny Brown, Chief Executive of the ISTD, said: “Schools play a vital role in supporting their pupils’ health and well-being.

“By including dance in their curriculum, they might also help to create the dance stars of tomorrow!” 

Pupil Jimi Powell, 9, said: “I think dance is important because it can express your emotions and release your happiness.

“I’ve loved dancing with Shirley today.”

Ballas partnered with fellow ISTD members, Richard Still and Malcolm Hill, when teaching the students some Cha-Cha-Cha moves.

Co-Headteacher, Jean Connery said: ”We’ve found that dance is a wonderful way to include all children.

“It boosts overall well-being, builds teamwork and friendships, and is just really great fun.

“I would advise any schools thinking about it to speak to a local, qualified dance teacher. The children will absolutely love it.”

The ISTD has provided dance training for over 117 years and provide qualifications for their members.

Today the ISTD has approximately 6,000 members in over 59 countries throughout the world, conducting over 120,000 exams each year.

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