Jan and Gordon McLean have been putting the dance moves on each other for more than 15 years.
Traditional dancing is very much alive in their Aberfoyle Park home, where they have built a ballroom for practising.
The couple has been learning at Arthur Murray Dance Studio since the 1990’s, when Mrs Mclean, now 55, persuaded her husband, 52, to attend lessons.
The pastime is now a mutual love. The couple not only dance two to three times a week at Arthur Murray’s but also regularly attend socials and gala balls where they can show off their moves.
“When we married we didn’t know how to dance; it was just something I wanted us to do together,” Mrs Mclean says.
“It’s fun, it’s good exercise, and you can enjoy it and meet people. “It’s a shared interest for both of us now and it’s also very relaxing. Also, it gives you a confidence in social situations.”
Arthur Murray Dance Studios franchisee Tara Johnston says the number of students at her school is on the rise.
Her studio offers an “all-round experience”, teaching more than 20 different styles, including tango, waltz and foxtrot.
“We’ve got around 60 regular students who come to us each week and then we have the wedding department – that obviously fluctuates but we probably teach 150 wedding couple a year to dance for their big day,” Ms Johnston says.
Dance fans of the good old days would once flock to Adelaide hot spots such as the Palais Royal, on North Tce – which operated from 1921 – 1966 – and The Floating Palais de Danse, in the 1920’s.
Ms Johnston says traditional dancing is growing in popularity due, in part, to recent TV shows and films.
“ Today, people are a bit unsure but then as soon as they’re here they love it because it is such a great social outlet,” she says.
“I think it’s becoming cooler and the costumes are a big part of that.
“Obviously the TV shows like Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance drive people to want to learn. I think through Dancing With The Stars they see it is possible because they’re seeing someone who has no dance knowledge and the journey that they go on and then it’s more relatable.
“Seeing it in a lot of movies makes it acceptable as well, like Dirty Dancing and Take the Lead; seeing the dance scenes in these films, it makes people get excited.”
Ms Johnston says exercise and social confidence are among the many benefits that come with learning to dance.
“I think the great thing for me, like so many other people, is we have so much stress in our lives, life just takes over and it is hard break that,” she says.
“They (the students) will come in and say they’ve had a bad day and by the time they leave they’re smiling and happy.
“They’re so grateful for coming in. It just changes their feeling and attitude for the day.”
Ms Johnston says her school sees a lot of older students with time available to pursue a new hobby.
“Our demographic would fall between 30 (years) and I think our oldest student is 80 at the moment,” she says. “ We tend to be a place for when people’s children have grown up and they’re looking to rekindle something within their relationship. “They’re looking to find themselves again and find how to relate to one another again through dance. For us, it’s lovely to be a part of that.”
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