Strictly Come Dancing star Izabela Hannah brings ballroom to Sutton schools - 15.12.09
Strictly Come Dancing star, Izabela Hannah, led a ballroom extravaganza at a Sutton school yesterday, (14 December).
Fifty-six teenagers from four local secondary schools demonstrated their tango and jive to impress the judges in a knock-out competition run by Sutton Council.
Following 10 weeks of lessons with TV star and professional dancer, Izabela, who partnered world snooker champion Dennis Taylor in series three of Strictly Come Dancing, 28 elaborately costumed couples showed off their new skills in front of a 300-strong audience at St Philomena's High School.
Sixth-form girls from Nonsuch High School were paired up with sixth-form boys from Sutton Grammar School to compete alongside pupils from Greenshaw High School and Overton Grange.
Greenshaw High School pupils Louise Manning and Jack Pappara beat 27 other couples to win the competition. The Mayor of Sutton, Cllr Margaret Court, presented the top couple with a medal, certificate and a subscription to further dance lessons at Iocal dance studios 'Dance Options'.
This is the second year running that the ballroom dance lessons have been offered to pupils to encourage take-up of sports. The project is co-ordinated by the Carshalton School Sports Partnership and the John Fisher School Sports Partnership.
Along with the usual range of team sports and athletics, Sutton pupils are also offered korfball, street dance, judo, yoga and tae-kwon do. The broad range of activities is designed to suit all personalities and abilities and helps ensure that all children complete at least two hours of school sports every week.
Cllr Tony Brett-Young, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning Services at Sutton Council, said: "I am so pleased that the pupils have embraced ballroom dancing classes with such enthusiasm and all come together for this fabulous event.
"Many of the young people had not had the chance to try dancing before and have been surprised by the level of strength and stamina required. It's a great way to keep active, especially in these winter months when many sports are affected by the weather.
"We were thrilled to have Izabela's expertise to inspire and guide our young people as they took part in the competition. Sutton's schools are among the best in the country and this is just one of the many things we do to help encourage pupils to realise their potential."
Professional compere Luke Sampson took Bruce Forsyth's place to host the evening event which also included a charity raffle in aid of the Royal Marsden hospital.
Sutton's junior Strictly Come Dancing 2008 competition winners from John Fisher Boys School and St Philomena's High have both continued their dance classes after gaining an interest in the sport during their school lessons.