Beating a path to Day of Dance

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Crowds basked in the sunshine as they were treated to free displays of sizzling salsa, tantalising tango, sassy street dance and fiery flamenco.

Performers brought the glitz and glamour of Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and Turkey to Chesterfield during the town’s Day of Dance.

NDET 8-9-12 RKH 39 Direction theatre arts at Chesterfield's day of dance.

NDET 8-9-12 RKH 39 Direction theatre arts at Chesterfield's day of dance.

With the rays beating down on Rykneld Square, the hottest moves were on stage as the dancers shimmied and strutted in passion-fuelled performances.

Burlesque made its debut in Saturday’s spectacle, courtesy of the corset-clad Ga Ga Girls, from the Urban Training Corps in Chesterfield.

The troupe made its first public appearance at the annual celebration, going down a storm with the large crowd.

Leader Angie Preece, 44,of Chesterfield, emerged for the finale stripped to the waist but hiding her modesty with a large white feather fan.

She said: “Burlesque is cheeky but it’s the biggest confidence boost ever. The bigger the performer, the better they look.”

The dance form has done wonders for the morale of troupe member Mandy Wilshaw, 39, of Unstone. She was persuaded to accompany her pal Angela Hinde, 39 to burlesque classes at the fitness training base on Eastside Road. Mandy said: “I’m a size 14-16, have got absolutely no confidence and was terrified about joining, but every week it got a bit easier.

Speaking about the troupe’s public debut, Mandy added: “Our performance went okay apart from my tights splitting which was a bit nerve-wracking.”

Jenny Muhlwa, of Belrobics, gave the town a taster of the bellydancing classes she will be running in Stonegravels and Spinkhill from this week. Tots, teenage boys and mums shimmied along to the beat as Jenny guided them through a mixture of bellydancing and aerobics.

Commenting one the Day of Dance, former salsa student Paul Heaton, 62, of Clay Cross, said :”It is different and it gets people interested. It is good for the fitness level and good exercise.”

Derbyshire Times Facebook friend Owen James said: “It’s fantastic - but why, oh why, couldn’t they have it on stage at the Pomegranate. There are some quiet moments in the rumba - a dance of love set on a summer’s evening and the last thing the performers need is to be on an open stage in baking heat with the clutter of buses going by.”

Bernadette Waintwright, the borough council’s interim town centre and cultural services manager, said: “The tenth Day of Dance was a great success, attracting large crowds throughout the day in Rykneld Square. New forms of dance were introduced this year, particularly fitness dance styles, to encourage people to get active after the Olympics. Of course the sunshine also added to the enjoyment of the day.”

* Photos by Rebecca Havercroft, Domenico Diiorio and Gay Bolton.