Bringing Ballroom Dancing To Schools

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Ed Balls, the Children, Schools, and Families Secretary, has welcomed a pilot scheme to bring ballroom and Latin dance into school PE lessons.

The scheme, called Essentially Dance, aims to improve children’s fitness, self-esteem and social skills and is being piloted with 2,500 children aged 5-16 in 29 primary and secondary schools across the country, with funding from The Aldridge Foundation (
Over the next three months, 52 teachers and classroom assistants will receive practical training sessions with professional dance and PE experts supported by a training resource, which includes a step-by-step DVD led by Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing show, a booklet with easy to follow sessions and a CD with suitable music.

Mr Balls said: “From ballroom to ballet, dancing is a fantastic way for children to keep fit and have fun. 

“We want to encourage everyone to take part in physical education and we know that dance is a great way to improve fitness and can attract young people who perhaps do not enjoy competitive sport such as football or netball.  Dance forms part of the PE and sport curriculum and I hope both teachers and children will quickly see the benefits from these pilots. 

“Making physical activity an attractive option for all young people is especially important if we are to tackle obesity and give young people enjoyable and positive activities they can take part in both during and after school.”

The outcomes of the scheme for both teachers and children will be independently evaluated in a report due in May. If successful, there are plans to make the final training resource available to all schools following a launch this summer.


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