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You've seen it on telly – now dance yourself

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

  • Dancing all around: Abbey Clancy will be performing in this year's Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour

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With just two weekends of Strictly Come Dancing left to enjoy on television, anyone worrying about withdrawal symptoms now have the choice to either get up and join in for charity or get out and see the stars live.

Firstly, St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice has announced they are now on the hunt for contestants to join their popular annual Strictly Ballroom live contest with 10 weeks of dance tuition up for grabs. Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2014 has revealed the final four celebrities to join their show. Abbey Clancy, Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden, BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid and Westlife's Nicky Byrne will complete the line-up with England Rugby World Cup winner Ben Cohen, Coronation Street's Natalie Gumede and actor and funny man Mark Benton.

The closest venue for Lincolnshire residents will be Nottingham Arena on February 4-5 and tickets are on sale now. Find out more at www.capitalfmarena.com

But if watching the twists and turns of the ballroom simply isn't enough for you, St Barnabas is offering you the chance to learn two of the dances seen each week on television and then go head-to-head in a live show to raise money for their charity.

Returning for the fourth year St Barnabas Strictly Ballroom is on the hunt for 40 novice dancers from around Lincolnshire (20 female, 20 male) to take part in the fundraising event. Free tuition will take place every Sunday evening for 10 weeks beforehand to give everyone a chance to shine on the dancefloor.

Training will culminate in a grand finale to be held on March 23 at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre in front of a live audience and judges.

Jay Wilkinson, 38, from Lincoln, who raised the glitter ball as champion when the event was held last November, says the entire experience was absolutely fantastic. "I enjoyed it immensely and learned something new – not just about dancing but something about myself. The camaraderie with the other dancers was amazing as well.

"Even the 10 weeks of free dance lessons, just that on its own was amazing. My partner and I did a jive and tango," says Jay, who partnered long-term friend Aggi Doughty for the event. "The dance teachers and everyone involved make all the participates feel so welcome and there are lots of people who haven't danced before who join in.

"I was nervous on the grand finale night, with 450 watching in the live audience, but the atmosphere was really lively.

"It was something I wouldn't normally take part in but it's absolutely fantastic and the camaraderie is just great and it's all for a great local cause."

Jay, who won't be able to take part in the next event but says he will definitely be back to compete in future, concludes: "I'm a bit envious of people doing it in the new year and would like to wish everyone participating all the best – you will have an amazing experience."

Emily Otter, 30, from Lincoln, also participated in 2012 and adds: "I've also always secretly wanted to dance so doing Strictly Ballroom was the perfect opportunity to unleash my inner diva. I loved every minute of the lessons and intend to keeeeeeep dancing."

St Barnabas asks anyone taking part to raise £100 minimum sponsorship over the course of the 10 weeks' dancing tuition. Training commences on January 12 at the Holy Cross Church Hall on Skellingthorpe Road. Entry fee to the contest is £5 and each couple will learn two different dances. Ticket details for the final will be announced at a later date. To enquire contact Becky Otter by calling 01522 559516 or e-mail becky.otter@stbarnabashospice.co.uk Or for further information visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk

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