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   Inside Out - East Midlands: Monday November 6, 2006
Ballroom dancers
Ballroom blitz - dancers at the Regency Ballroom

Strictly Ballroom

The nation's passion for ballroom dancing mania has hit new heights hot on the heels of successful television programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing.

In the past year the demand for dance classes has rocketed.

At the Harwood School of Dance based in the Regency Ballroom in Sutton in Ashfield, they have had to put on extra classes throughout the week for dancers of all ages.

Inside Out followed the Harwood Family to one of the biggest ballroom competitions of the year at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Two generations of the same family competed against some of the best talent in the county.

The former presenter of Come Dancing Angela Rippon says:

"I'm not surprised by the huge number of people taking up the sport…

"What people love about it is the fact that it's ageless and timeless".

Best foot forward

If you fancy strutting your stuff in an amateur arena, we've got a few tips on making an impression plus some slick dance moves.

Ballroom dancing

Major dance styles:

Waltz - routed in a Provencal dance set to folk music called The Volta in France in the 16th Century. Much rotation and a slight swaying action.

Tango - an emotionally charged Argentinian dance with lots of clipped and staccato movements.

Foxtrot - originated by actor Harry Fox in America during a New York show in 1914. Lots of elegant lines and trotting steps.

Quickstep - a light and breezy dance with Charleston influences. Very fast paced with a lot of work on the balls of the feet.

Rumba - a sensual, stylised Latin dance. Similar to the Cha Cha but danced to a different rhythm. Lots of hip action and spot turns.

Samba - the famous dance of the Rio Carnival. Lots of bounce action, wiggly bums and rhythmical movement.

Paso Doble - Latin American dance based on the Spanish bullfight, it is very dramatic with sharp movements and artistic hand lines. Contains elements of Flamenco.

Cha Cha - Cuban dance like the Rumba but with extra beats. A "cheeky" dance with very synchronised movements and not much touching.

FeetGetting started couldn't be easier - there are many opportunities to get involved in ballroom dancing classes in the East Midlands.

FeetClasses are listed on the BBC Strictly Dancing website.

FeetLook the part - get a decent pair of dancing shoes, but don't expect to rumba before you can walk!

FeetPerfect your posture and poise - looking the part is crucial.

FeetStart with a basic dance pattern, perhaps a waltz with simple footwork and steps.

FeetIt's important to learn the direction of movement on a dance floor. If in a crowd, always move counter-clockwise.

FeetIf you're nervous about people watching you, stay closer to the middle of the dance floor especially if you want to move around at a slower pace.

FeetProper footwork is the key to good style.

FeetTake definite steps, carry your weight on more on the ball of your foot than on your heel, and take steps originating from the hip.

Ballroom dancing takes time so don't expect to perfect those Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers moves without years of practice.

And finally enjoy yourself - the new ballroom dancing is great fun!

Ready to Rumba...

The main Rumba steps are the 'forward basic' and the 'back basic' - practice the following moves:

Forward basic - three steps (one step forward, replace, side).

Back basic - three steps (one step backward, replace, side).

Hip twists - inject some Rumba rhythm.

Spot turns - a turn on the spot taking three steps to either the left or to the right

Forward or backward walks - these walks are employed to assist couples to move around the dance floor. A good hip action is required.

Fan position - The girl moves to the man's left side at arms length and at 90 degrees to him.

Rumba rhythms from the BBC Strictly Come Dancing team

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Buying precious time…

Keith McFadzien
The hidden epidemic - Keith McFadzien Jones' brave journey

Mesothelioma has been called the hidden epidemic.

It's a cancer caused by breathing in asbestos dust and mainly affects the lining of the lung.

The symptoms can take decades to show themselves.

Inside Out in the East Midlands spent nine months following the emotional story of Keith McFadzien Jones from Lincoln as he volunteered for a treatment that could extend the lives of hundreds of people suffering from the same disease.

Keith had pioneering surgery at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester to remove a lung and the cancer that was surrounding it.

The operation held out the hope of extending his life by two years, possibly longer.

The mesothelioma was a terrible legacy of Keith's first job - making asbestos fire doors as young apprentice joiner.

As we filmed, Keith started legal action for compensation.

But Keith's cancer had spread too far.

Despite the best efforts of the medical team, his health deteriorated rapidly.

Keith died at the age of 51, wanting the documentary to be shown to highlight the plight of the growing number of mesothelioma sufferers in the UK.

Chilling statistics

The figures are chilling.

In 1968, there were 153 deaths from mesothelioma.

When the epidemic peaks around 2015, it's predicted there'll be nearly 2,450.

Innovative surgery sadly failed to save Keith's life

Most victims are people who were exposed to asbestos dust at work years ago - but who were never warned of the dangers.

A total ban on asbestos use in the UK was introduced in the late 1990s.

The surgery at the Glenfield has extended the lives of others and the procedure is now undergoing a full clinical trial.

The hospital also has an information centre.

More information

For further information contact:

The National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre, Hospital Management Offices, Glenfield Hospital, Groby Road, Leicester, LE3 9QP.

Helpline: 0800 169 2409

The centre provides up-to-date information on mesothelioma and supports the development of specialist nursing practice and research.

Queries to the helpline can be referred to a specialist mesothelioma nurse.

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Online gambling

Casino c/o PA Images
Compulsive - gambling can become addictive. PA Images

Three years ago 30-year-old Paul T from Kettering had a life changing experience.

He received a DVD in the post from an online bookmakers.

The disc was promoting its online casino.

Paul was intrigued and was soon hooked, spending hours at his computer every day.

One day in particular sticks out in Paul's mind:

"I was playing blackjack and poker. I won a bit and then started losing. In just an hour I lost nearly £20,000.

"When I realised I'd lost, I just sat at the screen. A rushing feeling came to my head. I couldn't believe I'd just lost that. I didn't know what to do.

"The next day I woke up and thought it was all a dream, but I checked and it wasn't. I felt sick and I couldn't eat all day…"

Paul soon found himself £100,000 in debt, and he was forced to re-mortgage his house.

But instead of using the money to pay off his debts, he went back to the computer and gambled it all away again.

Finally Paul faced up to his problem.

He went to the Consumer Credit Counselling Service and they helped him get his finances back in order.

A hard lesson

Today Paul T has paid off most of his debts and says he's learnt his lesson.

Roulette wheel c/o PA Images
Booming business - gambling is a big money game. Image: PA

Paul says, "I'll never gamble again. I've learnt that no matter how stable in life you are, you can still get drawn into online gambling.

"When I finally pay off my debts, I'm going to have a glass of champagne and look back on the lowest point of my life and say to myself I got out of there…"

It's estimated that within the next four years gambling operators in the UK will generate revenue of more than £600 million a year.

Industry figures from last year suggest that around 14 million Europeans visited online gambling sites every month, a 45 per cent increase on the previous year.

Help at hand

If you have a problem with gambling, there are places you can go to for help:

Gam Care - offers a confidential service for anyone who has gambling problems, and also offers help to relations and friends.

National phone line 0845 6000133.

Gamblers Anonymous - a support group for people with gambling problems. Helpline 0207 3843040.

Consumer Credit Counselling - free confidential advice and support.

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