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A few steps to ballroom bliss
Published 17/02/14

Do you suffer from back pain? Do you have poor posture? Are you pregnant, and need to strengthen your core and back muscles to help you through your pregnancy and delivery? Have you just had a baby, and want to regain your shape and fitness, to cope with the physical demands of motherhood?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you should take up Pilates.

Pilates is a form of exercise which co-ordinates the working of muscles with breathing. It strengthens the core, postural muscles of the body, tones the whole body and stabilises the muscles of the trunk - making it ideal for the prevention of back problems - due to its consistent success rate in solving such problems Pilates is highly recommended by doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors.

Christine Brook herself took up Pilates on the recommendation of her physiotherapist, to counter her back problems, nine years ago she qualified as an instructor with the internationally renowned Body Control Pilates Association.

Chris runs daytime and evening matwork classes for up to 12 people in the Sonning Common area and is available to run private classes for up to three clients.

Chris also runs tailored antenatal and postnatal classes for a maximum of 6 ladies per class. Antenatal classes can be joined at any time during pregnancy. New mums can join postnatal classes, and bring baby too!

If you are interested in attending Chris’s classes please contact her on 0118 9242515 or email chris@time4pilates.co.uk or on the web at www.time4pilates.co.uk

FIVE weeks ago I embarked on a seven-week course to learn the basics of ballroom and Latin dancing with Richard Miles School of Dance at Henley Town Hall. Like many others I have watched Strictly Come Dancing over the years and become a bit of an armchair critic. Heel leads, rise and fall — how hard could it be?

After week one, I realised that actually it is quite difficult as there are many factors to think about all at the same time.

Five weeks on, five basic dances under our belts and I am loving it. Challenging yes, but rewarding most definitely.

We have learned a basic slow rhythm, which is based on a fox trot, the Waltz, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha and Quick Step.

The class is mixed in experience. Some quite clearly have done ballroom before and others, like myself, had zero experience. Richard is patient and clear in his instruction, breaking down all the steps, demonstrating them with his team of helpers and coaching those who are finding it more difficult. He has even got the men turning — a major achievement for any dance teacher!

Each week we recap the dances we have learned so far and add a bit more or learn a new dance. By the end of the course we will have learned seven dances, adding the Tango and Jive to those we already have under our belts.

Ballroom dancing is not easy and I now have a new admiration for the celebrities on Strictly. There is so much to think about — which foot to go off on, which direction, posture, not treading on your partner’s toes... and don’t get me started on natural and reverse turns, which I think I might have finally mastered.

This seven week course was a trial for Richard Miles School of Dance, but has proved so popular that it will continue.

Those in the current class will continue with an improvers’ class from the beginning of March, on Mondays from 7.30pm to 8.30pm and a new beginners’ class will start from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. For more details contact Richard Miles on 07888 840942.

As for me, I am enjoying learning how to be a ballroom and Latin dancer — and in true Brucie and Tess style I am planning to “Keeeeeep dancing!”

Published 17/02/14

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