10 July 2015

Jazz dancing, Latin rhythms, Bollywood, Tap and Tango… One of the things that make the Health & Wellbeing services at the YMCA so unique is the sheer amount of dance classes on our timetable. 

Every week, YMCA LSW is offering over 35 dance classes across our centres in Kingston (Hawker), Surbiton and Wimbledon. We’ve got something for everyone and we cater to all levels and abilities.

Mentoring young dance students

At YMCA Surbiton, dance instructors Debby Tomlinson, Meryl Moreth and Georgina Luxford are running the show.

Georgina first came to YMCA Hawker eight years ago on work placement and has been teaching dance at the YMCA ever since. She was taken in as an apprentice and mentored by Debbie.

Today she is her business partner.

Debbie has basically mentored through my whole dance education,” Georgina says.

And now I get to do the same thing for our young dancers”.

This is such a great job. I get so much out of it. It’s amazing seeing our students go from knowing nothing about dance to joining prestigious dance schools or dancing in the West End”.

Many come to us as toddlers aged 4,” says Georgina, “and they are still here as teenagers”.

In her classes, the focus is on having fun, learning the choreography and practising new routines for upcoming performances and showcases. Last summer, all the dance classes at YMCA Surbiton and YMCA Hawker joined forces for a big dance show at Kingston Grammar School, with three sold out performances.

A new show is in the pipeline and will hopefully take place later in the year.

Baby ballet for children with lots of energy to burn

This term, Georgina is teaching baby ballet for toddlers, street and hip hop for young people and jazz dancing for adults.

When I meet her on a Thursday afternoon at YMCA Surbiton, she has just finished the baby ballet class for the Under 4s.

She recommends dancing to all children. “It’s just really good for your health. It is exercise, but it’s also fun and it gives you a break from everything else that goes on in your life. When you’re dancing, you’re not thinking about anything else. Also, the children make friends for life”.

Georgina claims that “baby ballet is suitable for all young girls and boys with lots of energy to burn and who love to dance”.

Starting early is not a requirement for moving on to any of our classes, however we find that the ones who do baby ballet first are just a little bit more used to the discipline in the classes and to holding their posture,” Georgina says.

Exercising without realising

On Monday and Thursday evenings, Georgina teaches jazz dancing for adults at YMCA Surbiton.

I just don’t think many health clubs and fitness centres can match our offer when it comes to dance classes.  We do so many and there’s one for every level,” Georgina says.

“I’d recommend jazz dancing or just any dance class to anyone who wants to get fit whilst having fun – you won’t even realise you’re exercising! But dance really is one of the best forms of exercise there is: you work the whole body”.

Also, I have to say the people that come to the jazz dancing classes are so lovely. They often meet for teas and coffees both before and after the class and they are very friendly and open, and they are always really welcoming to new starters.”

Georgina says anyone can join the jazz dancing classes, and you need not have danced before. All you need is persistence and a willingness to learn.

With dance, the general rule is really that the more often you come, the better you get and the more fun you have. Unfortunately it’s never going to be the same if you just show up every now and then”.

Try our classes

Fancy trying jazz dancing? Classes run at YMCA Hawker every Monday 10.00am and at YMCA Surbiton Mondays 7.30pm, Tuesdays 11.30am and Thursdays 7.30pm. Free for members, but you can also pay as you go.

We also have a great offer on until the end of August – try the gym for 30 days for only £35, with no joining fee!

During term time, we run ballet classes for children at YMCA Surbiton and YMCA Hawker.

Download the timetable for children’s dance classes at YMCA Surbiton. To book your child’s place for the upcoming term, contact juliecocker@ymcaspg.org
Download the timetable for children’s dance classes at YMCA Hawker. To book your child’s place for the upcoming term, contact cathrynthompson@ymcaspg.org


10 July 2015