TEENS will have the chance to strap on their dancing shoes and get ready to rumba in a new social dance program.
Lilydale-based Dancesport Kingdom will launch RAWR, a ballroom and latin dance program for teenagers, with a free first lesson next Monday. Dances taught will include the jive, cha cha, salsa and rumba.
Principal instructor Monica Fincham said the lessons would put new life into the traditional dance styles by using modern music. "The dances lend themselves to today's music. It's equally exciting now as it was for our grandparents."
She said teens did not need dance experience to attend the lessons. "We teach stuff everyone can get. It's learning some simple steps and dancing with your friends. They'll learn pretty quickly. Ninety-nine per cent of the kids love it."
Ms Fincham said participants would be divided into beginner and intermediate groups during the first part of each lesson. "We'll do some dedicated teaching. Then for the second half we'll bring everyone together for a social dance. So we turn the lights off, have a disco ball going and dance the steps learnt to the latest music.
"We use what's called a progressive format, with the boys on the inside circle and the girls on the outside, so everyone is changing partners."
She said ballroom and latin dancing were fun alternatives to regular sports. "It's a great break from school work. We've found that for some teens in school who are not taking part in mainstream sports, such as football or cricket, they pick up dancing and really excel.
"Dancing is great exercise and great for co-ordination."
She said dancing also increased the confidence of shy adolescents. "They can come in quite shy and come through much more confident at the end."
RAWR dance lessons will run from 7.30-9pm on Monday evenings, with a first free lesson on July 23. Subsequent lessons will cost $15 each. Dancesport Kingdom is at 24 Main Street, Lilydale. Details: 97396011 or visit dancesportkingdom.com.au.