Helping Kickstart #LoveToDance post-lockdown

Planning House has stepped in to help after we found out Chris’ local dance and fitness group, led by ex-professional dancer Lisa Wright, was struggling to continue as numbers have dwindled following lockdown.

Chris, Director of Planning House, has enjoyed taking part in the “Latin Fitness Group”, which meets weekly at the Easington Welfare Hall. So when Lisa, who organises the group, told her that they would be unable to continue unless numbers picked up, Chris stepped in to cover the cost of the Hall.

Lisa, who has danced since the age of 6 and was the professional dance partner of Kevin Clifton from Strictly Come Dancing, is over the moon with the donation: “It is great, because it means I can keep the group going a bit longer until hopefully numbers pick back up again.

“At the moment we have 6-7 regulars, but to cover the cost of the Hall and my petrol to and from the venue, we need a few more. Chris’ donation gives me a bit of time, which I am grateful for because I love doing the group.

“It’s not just about learning to dance. I’ve really struggled with my mental health over the years and dancing gives me a boost, it makes me feel good. I hope it can help other people too – and it’s a great way to get fit!”

Lisa left her home in Easington and moved to London to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer the day she left school. She has competed in tournaments all over the world, coming 7th in the World Championships in Moscow at the age of just 15, and more recently was Kevin Clifton’s last professional dance partner before he joined the Strictly Come Dancing team.

Since having children, Lisa has stepped back as a professional dancer and now works at Barclays Bank so that she can focus on being a mum. But she set the Latino Fitness Group up a couple of years ago to keep her love of dancing alive, and really enjoys teaching other people to dance: “You don’t need to know how to dance to come along. It’s all about having a bit of fun and learning a few moves.

“Dancing is great for your mental health. The last year has been so hard for everyone with lockdown, I think lots of people would benefit from coming along and having a bit of fun. We have a few regulars, but most people come as and when they can, usually around work and family commitments”.

Chris is pleased that her donation will help the group until things pick up a bit: “I have really enjoyed the dance group. It is such a fun thing to do – I come away feeling energised and I have met some great people that I didn’t know before.

“There were quite a few people supporting the group before lockdown, so when I found out that Lisa was thinking of closing the group because of numbers since it has started back up, I felt compelled to help out and see if things pick up. Fingers crossed they do, because I know there are lots of people out there who would really benefit from a fun group like this”.

Chris has covered the cost of the Hall for a full year and has agreed with Lisa that a percentage of the profits will go to mental health charity ‘Spare 10 for Ben’ if numbers pick up.

The group takes place at Easington Welfare Hall, between 6-7pm, every Thursday night and costs £5 per person. To book, call or text Lisa on 07557962661.