Video: Strictly Come Dancing star Robin Windsor teaches Cut Above Dance Company ballroom workshop
“Left foot! …Right foot! ...Left foot! ...Right foot!”
Those were the instructions I frantically whispered to my dance partner Catherine Watts as we struggled to keep pace with the samba circle.
Observing our suspect form and rhythm at a ballroom dance workshop last Friday night was Robin Windsor, the former Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer who missed the last series of the celeb ballroom show due to a back injury and was not called back this year.
The 35-year-old, from Ipswich, could still be involved in Strictly specials, however, and will continue to perform around the country.
And he is also sharing his love of dance by teaching it.
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“Dancing in general – whether it is ballroom or contemporary – makes you happy,” he explains.
“When you dance, you forget about everything else that is happening in the world and you just enjoy that moment. Dance takes you into this little world and you can’t describe it until you do it.”
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Robin is leading a series of ballroom dance workshops, run by Cut Above Dance Company, at Langham Community Centre near Colchester.
The four two-hour sessions priced at £90 were sold out. I was invited to one and attended the second workshop, where Robin was teaching the samba and the waltz.
He proved to be an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher who maintained an upbeat atmosphere.
“The sessions have been brilliant and Robin is a great teacher,” said line dancing teacher Lorna Horne, 40, of Dunmow, Essex.
I am a self-confessed awful dancer whose best move is the ‘lawnmower’.
But I felt I actually learnt some recognised moves to an acceptable standard and really enjoyed the evening, as did everyone else.
Robin mirrored the required moves on stage and I thought I reasonably mastered the samba when copying his steps in solo practice.
However, when Catherine and I joined other couples in dancing the samba and moving around the hall in a circle, our footwork comically fell apart. Others also struggled but Robin provided one-to-one tuition.
Catherine said: “I had a lovely evening. Robin was a fantastic teacher and broke down the steps really well. I will have to try out my new Samba moves when I’m next on the dance floor.”
Robin said teaching members of the public how to dance has been “absolutely fantastic”.
The professional dancer said: “I love these beginner classes. Everyone has come here first of all to learn how to dance, and of course they want to meet somebody off the TV and Strictly which is fab, but mainly everybody is here to have a good time and I make sure they have a good time as much as possible.
“I try to make it fun and lively and the response from the first one I did here was absolutely incredible.
“Some people come here and say ‘I’ve got two left feet’ but they leave here saying ‘You know what; maybe I don’t have two left feet’.
“If they say that, I have done my job properly.”
Meanwhile, people can also get taught how to dance by Robin himself at a ‘Ballroom for Beginners’ class at the Ipswich School of Dancing in Bond Street on Sunday, May 31.
There are two classes starting at 7pm and 8.30pm. Tickets cost £22 per person. Visit www.robinwindsor.com for more.