Sunday, November 30, 2008

“Strictly Come Dancing” - make way for PA!

-Zelia Mullins-

Prince Albert definitely does not lack in talent especially when it comes to Michael Upton, a former Arthur Murray dance instructor and professional dancer. Michael’s rise to fame was as a professional ice skater in “Holiday on Ice” in New York and he modestly remarks that he just started dancing as a sideline.

He danced as an amateur for the Royal Dance Teachers Association (RDTA) for three years and then for a further six years as a professional dance specialist for which he received a Gold Star Diploma. Michael’s dancing skills include the sensual Latin American and elegant Ballroom dances which have made TV’s series “Strictly Come Dancing” so popular.

After numerous requests from locals who wanted to learn how to dance, Michael decided to shake the dust and cobwebs from his dancing shoes and come out of “retirement”. In mid-July this year he started group tuition for young and old alike. Michael is assisted by his partner Tim Rowson, who is responsible for the dance music.

Thus far students have been taught the basic steps for the Swing or Jive, the Rumba, the Mambo, the Tango, the Foxtrot, the Waltz and the Cha Cha. Michael even added the Viennese Waltz and the Polka to their repertoire for the recent Oktoberfest held in Prince Albert.

Social dance evenings are organised on a regular basis so that the students can practise the dances learnt over the last few months. It also gives them the opportunity of dancing with other partners thus gaining confidence.

The PA Dance Club held its first social dance on Friday, 7 November and “a ball” was had by all. Each family provided a plate of snacks and brought along their own drinks, then it was down to serious dancing late into the night.

Dance lessons continue every Tuesday evening at 19h15 in the Hoërskool Zwartberg hall and anyone interested in joining should contact Michael on tel. 023 541-1872. Private tuition is also available.

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he
(Chorus from “Lord of the Dance)

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