THESE days it's wicked to waltz, trendy to tango and pretty hot if you can do the foxtrot. If you're a fan of Strictly Come Dancing and secretly yearn to quickstep across the floor, this could be your big chance. And the great news is – you'll get fit while doing it.
A new dance fitness craze has reached North Devon shores. It's one that's been designed by glamorous Strictly professional dancers Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe, and devised alongside swimming athlete Mark Foster.
One of the first local fitness teachers to snap up teacher training in Strictly FitSteps was Naomi Hulbert from Aspire Dance and Fitness.
"I have always loved watching Strictly Come Dancing on TV," said Naomi, who has a degree in dance theatre from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire Of Music And Dance.
"Being a professional dancer myself, I know how hard it is to find a guy to dance with at ballroom classes, so when I heard about FitSteps, where you can learn all the great moves of Latin and ballroom, without the need for a partner, I thought wow this sounds perfect."
The class is based on actual Strictly-style dance steps but is also designed to be an effective workout.
"FitSteps is a fantastic way of getting fit because it uses every muscle in your body and it will definitely tone you up," said Naomi. "It's a great blend of moves and styles but there's also variety in intensity which works the heart rate."
Dances include the cha cha, waltz, jive and quickstep. Once participants become more confident they are encouraged to try the paso doble, samba, rumba, tango and others.
"The main emphasis, though, is on fun and enjoying the music," added Naomi, who has been competing in high profile dance competitions for more than 10 years.
"So there's no need to panic if you have no dance experience. The class is suitable for any ability and I will make sure everyone leaves with a shimmer and sparkle ."
Naomi assures the routines can be adapted for all ages and abilities. "People should not miss out on this fabulous class and with Strictly fever sweeping the nation.
"What better time to try for yourself and workout like the stars?"
Another local fitness expert who was keen to snap up the training was Wendy Cox.
"I am a huge fan of Strictly and have watched it for years, but to be honest never thought I would ever have anything to do with it as I am not a dancer (except on nights out of course) but I was desperate to get in on the glam action," said Wendy, who is also a Rosemary Conley consultant.
She was absolutely thrilled to meet Strictly stars Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite during her training.
"It was lovely to meet them both but very nerve wracking having to dance in front of them with no dance training," she said.
"Natalie is even more beautiful in person and was very encouraging and supportive.
"Ian was an absolute perfectionist, a very hard task master and even came over and slapped my knee to make it straight and told me 'no aerobics knees here'. It was tough but enjoyable. I am really glad that I have the experience of my Exercise To Music training as well to bring to my classes."
Wendy loves the FitSteps workout because, above all, it's got the feel-good factor.
"The workout in FitSteps is amazing, because it really seems like too much fun to be exercise," added the former Rosemary Conley Regional Slimmer Of The Year. "The class is structured in such a way that the fast dances are followed by slower ones, to allow for the interval effect, which helps to burn fat and use calories more efficiently. The whole body is worked out, including the upper body in the armography."
Rest assured, though, you do not need to be a demon on the dance floor to take part:
"I break down all the steps in an easy to follow way, and once the music is on, they all fit into place."
Strictly FitSteps with Naomi Hulbert is at:
Roundswell Community Centre on Mondays, 5pm and Fridays, 11.30am.
Fremington Parish Hall, on Tuesdays, 5.45pm.
Robins Nest (AFC), Bideford, on Tuesdays, 7.30pm.
St Brannocks Hall, Braunton on Thursdays, 10.30am.
Filleigh Village Hall on Thursdays, 6pm.
St Johns Church Hall, Newport, 10am.
Cost: £5 pay as you go or £16 for four weeks. First class: £2.50. Details: 01271 859009.
Strictly FitSteps with Wendy Cox is at:
East-the-Water School on Mondays, 7.15pm.
Kingsley Hall, Westward Ho!, Tuesdays, 9.30am.
Park Community School, Barnstaple, Tuesdays, 7pm. Details: 01237 424787.
StrictlyFitSteps with Karen Kenshone is at:
The Drama Hall, Braunton School on Wednesdays, 7.15pm. Starts Wednesday, October 16. Details: 01271 863393.