Strictly Come Chatteris: Dance school says new leisure centre is ‘the perfect venue’- Fenlander special

11:42 02 December 2012

Stepping out: one of the dance classes at Chatteris Leisure last Saturday

Stepping out: one of the dance classes at Chatteris Leisure last Saturday

Archant

FIFTY would-be stars of the dance floor are now learning how to master the increasingly popular art of ballroom dancing at Chatteris Leisure each week.

They perform every Saturday morning under the expert eyes of Elaine and Andy Allgood, who run the Allgood School of Dancing.

The school, which is based in Chatteris, has booked the centre’s dance suite on Saturday mornings for the next two years because they say it’s “the perfect place for us”.

Previously it has used various venues, including Cromwell Community College, the King Edward Centre, Doddington Village Hall and St Wendreda’s in March.

Andy Allgood said: “We decided to come to Chatteris Leisure because it has got everything we need – it’s a new purpose-built venue with a sprung floor, full air conditioning, a proper sound system and mirrors. It’s ideal.”

The school runs three sessions in ballroom and Latin American dance on Saturday mornings – one for 3-10-year-olds (9.30-10.30am) and a second for improvers (10.30am-12 noon), followed by private lessons. The young pupils come from as far afield as Spalding, Ely and Bishop’s Stortford.

The Allgoods were trained by Strictly Come Dancing stars Erin Boag and Anton du Beke. They are still in regular contact with them.

“Basically, we’re getting Fenland on the map for ballroom dancing,” said Mr Allgood, who has danced for the UK and appeared on the BBC’s original Come Dancing programme with Eric Morley.

Chatteris Leisure is flourishing after the grand opening last month by Louis Smith, the Olympic medal-winning gymnast now winning many plaudits for his performances in the current series of Strictly, despite some criticism from the judges last Saturday.

Councillor Pop Jolley, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder responsible for leisure, said: “We’re absolutely delighted by how popular Chatteris Leisure has become in the short time it has been open. It’s great that it’s proving ideal for this local business and we hope it’ll help them go from strength to strength.

“We always knew there was a real need for these kinds of facilities in Chatteris and all the hard work we’ve done with the town council and others to set it up is now paying off. The centre is making a real difference to the quality of life of people not just in Chatteris but in the surrounding area as well.”

The £1.25 million centre has been created as a joint project between Fenland District Council, Chatteris Town Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

For details on membership at Chatteris Leisure and to book a tour of the centre, call FDC’s leisure team on 01354 622399.

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