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News about Britain

Ballroom dancing

BBC Breakfast News presenter Natasha Kaplinsky and professional dancer Brendan Cole in the dance competition 'Strictly Come Dancing'

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Ballroom dancing in the UK used to be seen as something rather unfashionable that old people might do. For the past five years though, the popularity of ballroom dancing has soared thanks to a reality TV show. 'Strictly Come Dancing' is one of the BBC's big TV shows. Millions of people tune in every Saturday night to watch the show which airs from September right up to Christmas.

In the show a number of professional ballroom dancers each partner up with a celebrity. Every week they have to learn a different ballroom dance and perform it live on TV on the Saturday night. Four judges, all of whom have a background in professional dance, give the celebrities scores and comments about their dances. It's then up to the public to call in and vote for their favourite couple. The two least favourite then have to dance again and the judges decide who stays in the competition and who leaves.

The show demonstrates how glamorous ballroom dancing is. The celebrities get to wear colourful dresses and sequined suits to dance in, and it looks like a lot of fun. The TV programme also shows what good exercise it can be to ballroom dance and what hard work is involved in learning the dances and performing them properly.

Dance schools around the country have seen a boost in the numbers of people wanting to learn how to dance. And it's not only older people who're interested. Lots of children and young people in their 20s are keen to learn.

The format for the show has been copied in lots of countries around the world. In America, the show is called 'Dancing with the Stars'.

So you can forget your usual exercise - why not learn a foxtrot, a tango or a jive or for the less energetic, a waltz perhaps. It's the trendy thing to do!

 

Vocabulary

unfashionable
not modern or popular

soared
grown a lot

tune in
switch on their TV sets and select a particular channel

airs
is broadcast

partner up
dance together as a pair

live
as it happens, not recorded

judges
people who decide which person, or in this case pair, wins a competition

scores
the number of points someone gets in a game, test or competition

up to
if something is up to you, you have the right and power to do or decide it

glamorous
attractive in a special or exciting way

sequined
with a small shiny metal or plastic disc sewn onto them for decoration

a boost
a sharp and significant growth

keen
willing, wanting

format
here, the way and style in which parts of a TV programme are put together

foxtrot
a type of formal ballroom dance that combines short quick steps with longer ones

tango
an energetic dance of South American origin for two people

jive
a fast dance which was very popular with young people in the 1940s and 1950s

waltz
a formal dance in which two people holding each other move around a large room, turning as they go and repeating a movement of three steps

trendy
modern, influenced by recent fashions


 
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