Strictly Mania arrives back in the UK this weekend with the launch of season14 of the BBC's Stricly Come Dancing.
But what's with the interest in dance? There are 10 dance schools In Hitchin alone, offering a staggering choice of dance, from Fitsteps through Latin, Ballroom to Russian Ballet.
Not surprisingly with this number of schools, dancers make up the 3rd most popular fintness activity amongst my clients.
So what's the attraction of dance?
According to Jo Summerfield, Principal of one of Hitchin's leading dance schools, JS Dance Academy, there are 6 main benefits:
I've been there and watched: there's no doubt that by the end of a session the dancer's are knackered. It's a good workout.
In whatever form, dance is a good cardio workout. It really burns off the calories and can help to keep you trim.
One of the more interesting side-effects is that dancers tend to get "lost in the music" (which means they keep going for longer than if they were doing a cardio workout at the gym) - it'sa great way to relieve stress.
If your work or daily routine involves a lot of sitting down or keeping the same position, it's easy to lose flexiblity.
If you're the sort of person who get's a niggle in your lower back when your reaching up for something at full stretch, or bending down to pick something up, then dance might be just the thing.
This is the one that I like best. I've blogged incessently about the effects of posture - you can't help but notice that most dancers "carry" themselves in a much more upright and natural way. The big thing there is that it means you're going to age better with less stress on your joints, and much less chance of being hunched over in your autumn years.
Body, legs, arms and head all have to be in synch. Oh, and not just with other parts of your body but with the music And with the other dancers. Even for those of us with 2 left feet, dance can help us to bring it all together.
Because it involves practising the same movements of your trunk (core), legs and arms, those muscles get a good workout. As with a workout at the gym, the more you use the muscles, the more defined they get. Unlike most forms of exercise, dance lets you tone up yet stay supple (see No 2 above).
Unlike doing the same routines at the gym, or the same route on the roads, in dance there's always new music, new moves... and most importantly other people. There will be times when you're angry with yourself (or your teacher), there will be others that you will be really pleased with yourself, and there will be others when you cry with laughter, but most of the time you'll find you just love taking part in something that's fun.
Happy dancing... and bring on Strictly.