Ballroom boom at The London Academy Of Dance
Londoners are flocking to The London Academy of Dance in their thousands – inspired by hit TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
Business is booming at the Canary Wharf dance school as fans of the series leave their armchairs and take to the dance floor.
To keep up with a 50% increase in business Principal Greg Gillespie has taken on three extra dance teachers and added four extra classes in the foxtrot and Rumba.
As the BBC series reaches its climax in the run up to Christmas the dance school is bracing itself for a record breaking month with a total of seven professional dance teachers leading 40 classes running over seven days a week.
Principal Greg, a former national ballroom dancing champion, said: “This time every year we experience a huge spike in business which we call the ‘Strictly effect’.
“Viewers watch at home and see celebrities who’ve never danced a step before master ballroom dancing, and they think if they can do it - then so can I.
“Ballroom dancing has become a really cool thing that millions of people across Britain have got passionate about. It’s now very sex, drugs and roll to be able to cha, cha, cha and foxtrot.”
The ballroom boom has helped Greg’s business grow from a one man band operation set up in 2005 to an expanding business with more than 1,000 students on the books.
During 2016 The London Academy of Dance has plans to open a second dance school in the capital.
Because of The London Academy of Dance’s location in the heart of the Docklands many of its students live or work in the City and use dance as way to de-stress from a demanding job.
Greg said: “Dancing is pure escapism and people feel empowered when they dance. We have lots of students who dance to switch off from their stressful careers.
“There can’t be many dance schools like us where you’ve got City bankers, on six and seven figure salaries, working their day off doing the cha, cha, cha.”
Every autumn for the last decade staff at The London Academy of Dance have braced themselves for an influx of students when the new series of Strictly Come Dancing begins – and viewers get bitten by the ballroom bug.
Month by month as the show progresses staff handle ever increasing numbers of telephone and email enquiries with a 100% increase in the number of visitors to the dance school’s website.
In January hundreds of students sign up to dance classes to fulfil New Year resolutions and work their way up from lessons for beginners to advanced classes.
Greg said: “Once our students start learning to dance with us it becomes infectious. Then everyone at home, among their circle of friends and in the office knows about it because they won’t stop talking about it!
“’Strictly’ has made ballroom dancing en vogue and fashionable – and that’s great for our business.”