News: Strictly Westminster

Tuesday 24 February 2015 by Mark Doerfel

Baroness Gloria Hooper, Robin Windsor, Frank Doran, Jenny Thomas, Angela Watkinson, Caroline Miller, Director of Dance UK. Photo: Bettina Strenske

Around a hundred people attended the launch of Dance UK’s Dance Manifesto 2015 yesterday (Monday 23 February), the first time there’s been a social dance class in the Houses of Parliament. Held in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, and hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Dance Group, guests included the Minister for Culture, the Hon Ed Vaizey MP.

Politicians took part in a Lindy Hop jive class taught by Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Robin Windsor and Jenny Thomas, Charleston choreographer for the BBC One show. Among the politicians strutting their stuff were: Rt Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman MP (Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Dance Group); Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture; Peter Aldous MP, Sir David Amess MP, Andrew Bingham MP, Baroness Tessa Blackstone, David Burrowes MP, Frank Doran MP, Richard Harrington MP, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Baroness Gloria Hooper, Liz McInnes MP, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Angela Watkinson MP.

Sir Gerald Kaufman welcomed guests to the afternoon session. “Dance is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It has made my life more enjoyable and rewarding than it otherwise would have been. Dance is marvellous educationally, emotionally and for health and wellbeing. We are here to celebrate and promote the true essence of dance.”

Following the class Robin Windsor said “See – you’ve all been smiling ear to ear for 45 minutes. Dance is the perfect way to inject some real positive energy into all of our lives. I fully support getting everyone dancing, including politicians!”

“It was really great to see so many politicians expressing an interest in dance and recognising its benefits for the whole UK,” said Caroline Miller, Director of Dance UK. “I sincerely hope that with the launch of the Dance Manifesto 2015, others will join them and find out more about dance in their local area.”

In the run up to the general election, the newly published Dance Manifesto asks politicians to:

  • Ensure dance is an integral part of every young person’s education with the same status as music, maths and English.
  • Recognise and act to harness the proven health and wellbeing benefits of dance to communities.
  • Champion dance as a great UK art form – we are home to world class dancers, choreographers, dance companies and theatres

Download the Dance Manifesto:

Photos: Bettina Strenske

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