THE Strictly influence is persuading children as young as two to try out ballroom dancing.
Hartlepool dance school owner Carol Hammond said the BBC television programme has persuaded more people to prove they are twinkle toed.
Carol, whose dance studio is based in Dalton Street, said the show had proved ballroom dancing can have many advantages.
“Children who are introduced to ballroom dancing at an early age, some as young as two years, have an advantage which will remain with them for their entire lives.
“Lack of self discipline can be a disastrous handicap during a child’s life. Ballroom dancing for children is brilliant for self discipline because it is an activity which comes naturally to little ones,” she added.
The one downside is that some people still think there is a stigma attached to boys who dance, said Carol.
“Hopefully Strictly Come Dancing will help this. Along with the physical aspects, the child is also learning social skills,” she added.
And there is an added advantage, said Carol. She said the modern world of electronic games means some children “find themselves inexperienced in person-to-person situations of everyday life”.
She said dancing includes social skills such as how to interact with both adults and other children.
In another Strictly link, Carol is launching classes based on the dance and fitness programme Fitsteps.
Sessions begin on Tuesday, January 7, and are based on a programme started by Strictly Come Dancing dance stars Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite, and world champion swimmer Mark Foster, a former Strictly contestant.
They have combined dances with fitness techniques and Carol has become an accredited Fitsteps instructor.