March 4, 2010
I was aghast to hear that the reorganisation of BBC programming could put all the wonderful dance programmes we have been enjoying on television for several years now at risk. It seems Strictly and the like could be thrown out of the mix in favour of yet more costume drama.
The reason is that Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing On Wheels are all classed as reality TV, and as such, part of the dumbing-down of entertainment the BBC has vowed to fight against. But I think they’re missing a trick here - Strictly actually contains a great deal of very skilled professional dancing, and its huge viewing numbers show the nation loves Ballroom now as much as they did in Victor Sylvestor’s day, and Latin even mkore.
There’s another point here - we hear about the obesity epidemic and the need for exercise to be promoted. What could be a more fun way to keep moving than getting your bod on to the dance floor? It’s no accident I work closely with some of the major gym chains who have recognised that dance needs to be a part of their offering. In fact David Lloyd asked me to start a dancing class for them in Greenford; more such collaborations aimed at combining fun with healthy living are one the way.
But there’s more to these programmes than enjoying the fabulous costumes and upbeat music and encouraging people to keep fit. In showcasing celebrity beginners, Strictly has shown us that with the help of a trained partner - the teaching model I have adopted for Simply Dancing Partners - almost any man or woman can learn to become a highly adept partner after a lifetime of believing they have two left feet.
And Dancing On Wheels has taken that aspirational approach one step further, proving that even if you have lost the use of your legs you can still thrill to the beat from the confinement of your mechanical chair and dance, dance, dance.
I pray I’m just overreacting to a rumour, and that Strictly and its relations will be with us for seasons to come. But if they are truly threatened, I’ll be the first to knock on the door of No. 10 with a signed petition as long as your arm!
If you agree with my thoughts on retraining Strictly, plese comment on my blog and I will send our collective thoughts to the BBC.