Stepping Out: centre, Vicky and Jonny show some of the cast of The Cherry Orchard how the start of Act 3 should start
Project: Transformation WLTG
In the 7 years that I have been teaching people to dance I have been very lucky to meet people from all walks of life wanting to learn for all sorts of reasons and occasions. Some couples for their first dance, some for their first cruise holiday. Many because they just loved watching Strictly. I've taught young children who want to wiggle like their pop idol, teens who want to make a career out of dance, parents who want to spend quality time and the older generation who just want to remember the 'good old days'.
Then, recently, a new challenge was added to the list. I was delighted to receive a phone call from a lovely chap, Paul Winspear, asking for assistance in an upcoming production. Paul is part of the Water Lane Theatre Group who will be taking to the stage to perform Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard this month. Now, what could an am-dram theatre group performing a Russian play want me for? Well, it turns out they were not after me for my acting ability (thank goodness)! Instead, I was to choreograph a couple of pieces for their Russian Waltz scene (dancing? Much more like it!).
So, one Thursday evening myself and partner, Jonny, whizzed over to Water Lane for rehearsals. Before starting, I asked about their previous dance experience and what they had been doing in the particular scene so far - the response? A roar of laughter! So, the Director, John Bell, gave us the floor and we quickly got to work. Teaching the poise, hold and some basic steps we introduced the actors and actresses to this lovely style of dance. Before long, each couple were waltzing around the room without a hint of this being their first ever lesson! I think they were even impressed with themselves! The rehearsals went brilliantly so that evening we left a once-nervous group of people on a fantastic high.
My so-called 'job' really is such a pleasure when I get to work with some amazing people and see the animation on their faces - starting with sheer fear, then high concentration and, finally, the absolute joy and excitement for what they have achieved! "Transformed from a herd of elephants to graceful swans!" was a quote mentioned that evening... Note, they were not my words but John, the directors! Over the following days we received such lovely comments on our rehearsal from the group, "Loved tonight's lesson with @ShakeandShuffle I've never seen such a transformation. It's all in the teaching!" It was so nice to hear what an impact we had made.
Now, the Water Lane Theatre Group really are a lovely bunch and have some fantastic talent. Try and catch them at the Hockerill Anglo-European College this month, if you can. Showing for 3 nights only, you're bound to have a great time!
What a marvellous job I have!
FitSteps - Fitness That's Strictly Fun!
Back in July we launched a new class, FitSteps, and it's proven extremely popular within just the first month. So popular, in fact, that this September...we bring your more! Get ready to Cha Cha, Quickstep and Jive the night away! A fantastic class that is brilliant for keeping healthy, losing weight, toning up & meeting new friends and that's just the start of it!
Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe trained a small number of FitSteps Pioneer Instructors this Summer and Vicky was lucky enough to be one of the first instructors qualified to teach FitSteps. Instantly, Vicky knew this was going to be a hit with new and existing customers alike and couldn't wait until September to start classes. So, starting 3 classes per week just before the Summer holidays, she was overwhelmed with the number of participants coming through the doors for FitSteps - some once, some twice and some even three times per week! Needless to say, the schedule is being updated with another 2 classes in place for September with a strict booking in system. Morning classes will be announced soon!
If you're still not sure what FitSteps is....
FitSteps is the creation of Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe, and Strictly competitor and Olympic swimmer Mark Foster. Taking key steps from our favourite Ballroom and Latin dances and combining them with proven fitness techniques, FitSteps is a really fun, energetic and effective way to stay fit and keep trim that will appeal to everyone, even those who think they can’t dance – a dance fitness programme that is so much fun you don't even realise you're getting fit!
No dancing ability required...just a pair of trainers! Booking is a must!
Go to Class Schedule to see when/where our classes are held.
Let's get FitSteppin' Fantastic!!
Vicky with Ian Waite & Mark Foster
£10 in advance
£15 on the door
£5 Kids 7-16yrs
Contact Vicky on
07729 262318 or
Venue details below
Not sure what FitSteps is?
It is a brand new fitness
class that combines your favourite Ballroom & Latin steps into a fun workout.
Created by Strictly's Natalie Lowe, Ian Waite & former contestant Mark Foster.
FitStepathon in aid of Children in Need
We are holding a 'FitStepathon' raising funds for Children in Need on Friday 15th November. 'What does that involve?!' I hear you ask!
Basically, a FitSteps class that will be suitable for absolutely everybody. Whether you've never danced before and have that well-known 'two left feet syndrome' or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a mover, this will be a fabulous night Quickstepping for charity!
Now, no need to worry.... we will not be dancing for the full 2 hours! There will be goodies, challenges, a raffle...bundles of fun!
We would love to raise as much money as possible for such a fantastic UK charity but we need your help!
No partner or dancing ability required!
So grab your trainers & some friends and come along to Jive, Quickstep and Waltz and help us raise lots of money for BBC Children in Need!
Friday 15th November is right around the corner, so book your tickets NOW!
Friday 15th November
The Boys High, Bishop's Stortford
Tickets: £10 in advance, £15 on the door
£5 Kids 7-16yrs
Let's get FitSteppin' Fantastic!!
University Study Confirms: Powerhoop Reduces Waist Size
- Calorie expenditure during normal use varied from 300 to 420 kcal/hour: higher for inexperienced users and when the hoop was used in the “non-preferred” direction.
- The participants lost on average 1.1 lbs, not reaching statistical significance. However, two of the subjects lost over 6 lbs during the trial.
- Muscle activation was significantly higher with a Powerhoop than with a traditional lightweight hula hoop.
Fitness experts claim that it's impossible to "spot reduce". Powerhoop is proving them wrong.
Powerhooping may be fun, but it's a fitness activity that can be taken seriously. A new study by researchers at Canada’s University of Waterloo Spine Biomechanics Laboratory, one of the world's foremost sports medical research facilities, has now confirmed that regular Powerhooping causes the waist to shrink. The subjects were fourteen mildly overweight women who used a Powerhoop for fifteen minutes per day, five days per week, over a period of six weeks. The researchers collected several types of data, including calories burned, subcutaneous fat measurements, subjects’ body measurements and muscle activation.
On average, participants experienced a significant decrease in waist and hip circumference, and waist‐to‐hip ratio. Average reduction in waist size was 3.35 cm, with three of the fourteen subjects losing between 5 and 7.5 cm around the waist. The hips also shrank, but not as much. (The "hourglass shape" was therefore accentuated.)
Here are the most important findings from the study:
The researchers also made a surprising finding regarding the distribution of fat on the body. On average, the subjects had slightly more subcutaneous fat (under the skin) after the study period, despite the fact that their waists were narrower, their muscles stronger and their bodies lighter. One possible way of interpreting this is that the amount of “belly fat” (visceral fat that is stored deeper in the abdomen) had decreased and redistributed itself, possibly as a result of the powerful “massage” effect from the hoop.
This would be a sensational finding if proven to be true. Visceral fat is difficult to burn, and is linked to coronary disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and other obesity-related diseases. For now, the question will have to stand with a big question mark after it until the researchers have done a follow-up study, for example, using bioelectrical impedance analysis to measure the amount of visceral fat before and after the trial period.
Lastly, Powerhoop was compared with a conventional hula hoop using a technique called electromyography, which calculates the impact of the hoop as percentage of the maximum voluntary contraction. Not surprisingly, the Powerhoop produced higher activity in every muscle compared to the conventional hoop. In the Rectus Abdominus (the main part of “the abs”), muscle activity was up to 70% higher.
Source: “Analysis of physiological and biomechanical variables over a 6 week trial using a Powerhoop together with investigation of mechanisms of hooping.” Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Christmas Dance 2012
It was the first night of December and we knew from the chill that Winter had arrived. Yet that didn't stop us from having a ball at Shake & Shuffle's Christmas Dance 2012. With the hall covered in beautiful festive decorations, the Christmas buzz was well and truly upon us. With our dinner served by the Shake & Shuffle Xmas Elves, we warmed up our tummies ready to burn up the dancefloor!
The floor was full from the very first song, keen Quicksteppers and cheeky Cha Cha Cha chaps kept the dancefloor busy all evening. When feet ached and dancers sat they were able to watch upon other dancers showing off their latest steps.
With some brilliant Ballroom, Latin, Salsa and good, old-fashioned party dancing throughout the evening there was a crazy interruption that had everybody staring - that's BOKWA BABY! Some catchy, upbeat songs had the Bokwa lovers bouncing around the dancefloor - some still in their high heels! We certainly worked up a sweat and after a lovely round of applause it was back to the party.
The dancing continued past midnight when carriages were already turning back into pumpkins. With some lovely comments such as "The best dance we've been to in a LONG time" and "We don't want to leave but our feet just can't take anymore!" the Shake & Shuffle team were thrilled with the success of 2012's Christmas Dance.
Thank you to everybody who joined us. Same time next year, folks!