Sashay, shimmy and shuffle at Battersea Spanish this Strictly Come Dancing season

Strictly Come Dancing season is officially upon us so grab your fake tan and sparkly stilettos and sashay on down to Battersea Spanish to get into the spirit.

From Ed Balls to Daisy Lowe, this year’s line-up is peppered with singers, actors, Olympians and presenters to make for a sizzling series.

The contenders strutted down the famous staircase last week laden in as much glitter as their outfits could hold, kicking off the contest in true Strictly-style.

Not only is Strictly providing us with must-see weekend television, the show also inspires non-dancers to take to the floor.

Flamenco instructor Carmen Igarza, 39, who teaches at Battersea Spanish in SW11, said: “I think Strictly has made dance more accessible and popular.

“People are now more knowledgeable about the different dance styles and techniques.

“It has also inspired many to take up dance and enjoy and share this beautiful art form.”

The wide-ranging benefits of dancing are also an allure for those thinking of following in the footsteps of the Strictly stars.

Ms Igarza added: “Dancing improves your memory and mental alertness, concentration, coordination, stamina and posture.

“It is a great way of keeping fit as you move so many muscles at once.”

ITV’s resident barrister Judge Rinder has his eyes firmly on the prize.

At the first Strictly live show he made it clear that being on the other side of the judge’s table doesn’t faze him.

He paid tribute to judges Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, calling them ‘brilliant’, while deliberately omitting the notoriously hard-to-please fourth panellist, Craig Revel Horwood.

Asked by presenter Tess Daly if he had forgotten someone, Rinder joked ‘Oh, did I?’ and the studio audience erupted in laughter.

Strictly can also help demystify the dance world and showcase its appeal.

Salsa student at Battersea Spanish, Lucía Campos, 34, said: “Dance for those who haven’t tried it before can seem like this daunting thing only gifted gods can do but shows like Strictly play a fundamental role in getting us on our feet and moving.”

Also joining the Strictly family for the fourteenth series are six new professional dancers: Gorka Marquez, Oksana Platero, Chloe Hewitt, AJ Pritchard, and husband-and-wife duo Katya and Neil Jones.

While Jay McGuiness lifted the Strictly trophy in 2015, Will Young is the bookies’ favourite for the 2016 title.

There is everything to play for as the fifteen couples embark on their Strictly journey in the hope of winning the coveted glitter ball.

Time will tell whose tango will top the leader board and whose waltz will wow the judges.

Battersea Spanish is a Spanish and Latin American school and cultural centre offering language and dance courses.

For more information visit

Image courtesy of BBC Strictly Come Dancing via YouTube, with thanks

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