Friday, 5 May 2023, 13:04
Until fairly recently, ballroom dancing was considered as something from the past, something our parents engaged in before the invention of pop music and the disco. However, this popular style of dancing was given a new breath of life and acquired a new army of fans with British television shows like Strictly Come Dancing.
Ballroom dance may refer, at its widest definition, to almost any recreational dance with a partner, so understanding and learning the routines of the two main categories, Standard and Latin, can be daunting exercise for those who have never set foot on a dance floor.
However, those living on the Costa del Sol who want to take up this sociable pastime, and those who simply want to refresh their ballroom skills, now have the perfect opportunity to put on their dancing shoes.
For many years the U3A in Fuengirola has been providing activities and social opportunities for residents and visitors, and the association has restarted its popular weekly ballroom classes. The classes are run by Wendy Lowe and her husband, David, who moved to Fuengirola from Nottingham in 2021, and discovered the U3A last September. The couple joined the group to take advantage of the dance class, as during the pandemic, there had been no close-contact classes available, and they were "soon roped in" to run the group.
"We joined the U3A to refresh our ballroom skills after missing out during the coronavirus. The very brave lady who started the class had little experience of dance, so we were persuaded to take over seeing as we have been dancing for some years," Wendy told SUR in English.
Wendy began taking dance seriously in the UK almost 20 years ago after her daughter had been persuaded by a friend to take up salsa in 2005.
"I wanted to do salsa and asked if I could go also. My daughter dropped out and I went instead. I loved it. It gave me new confidence as well as increasing my coordination and fitness levels. I'd been dancing for about two years when David started the classes. He was frightened to ask me to dance at first in case he trod on my toes, but he has been dancing ever since," she explained.
The couple married one year later and they continued to dance: along with salsa, they began experimenting with ceroc classes (modern jive), ballroom and sequence dancing.
Wendy claims that the classes she teaches at the U3A "improves coordination and cooperation with your partner", and she points out that dancing "can make you feel closer if you work together".
"Dancing to nice music takes you to a place where there is no room for your worries. It also stimulates the brain cells as you coordinate movements. Above all else, it's not strictly serious and we have lots of fun participating," Wendy declared.
The weekly classes consist mostly of beginners, along with a few experienced couples, and Wendy teaches basic and simple routines in order to encourage those who are not confident to get on the dance floor and have a go. The classes include a variety of different styles, such as waltz, social foxtrot, cha cha, rumba and saunter together, although future classes will venture into Argentine tango and bossa nova.
The class numbers vary a lot as the group attracts visitors from countries like the UK, France and Holland who participate while on holiday, but on average, the classes consist of around 15 people. The group is not expecting to present any shows, but Wendy is planning to start an afternoon tea dance, during which, her pupils will be able to show off their newly acquired dancing skills.
"Our classes are held at the Manila Bar each Wednesday between 5pm and 6.30pm. We teach simple dance routines to beginners to get them on the dance floor, and many are often delighted with themselves when they discover that they can dance. Hopefully we also provide something interesting for our more experienced dancers, who also often help the beginners. New dancers are always welcome, although it's useful if ladies can bring along a partner," Wendy concludes.
Although the ballroom classes are free, participants must join the U3A Costa del Sol, which costs ten euros per term.
Those interested in joining the group should contact Wendy by email: email@example.com, or see www.u3acostadelsol.wixsite.com/fuengirola
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