Dance schools expect to see an increase in the number of middle-aged men signing up for classes after Bill Bailey’s shattering success Strictly.
The comedian, 55, was named the winner of the show on Saturday, triumphing over contestants who were over half his age.
On Monday, Bailey said he hopes his example will inspire men. “I think a lot of guys from my vintage feel awkward on the dance floor,” he said in an interview on ITV’s Lorraine presented by fellow competitor Ranvir Singh.
“We’re always aware of that term ‘daddy dancers’ and it makes people a little nervous and, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be that guy hanging out at the end of the night.’ Hopefully this success will mean more men my age will consider taking a dance class, or maybe just getting in shape, or whatever.
Dance schools have said they have already seen an effect and expect it to accelerate when they are allowed to reopen properly.
Damiano Soldati, of the Dance Lab in south London, said he had noticed that more people Bailey’s age were signing up for beginner classes “and they all talk about Strictly.” His partner Laura Fox said it was great to see Bailey not only win, but deserve to win.
“In a dance competition we have age categories, so you could never make an 18-year-old dance against a 55-year-old. His step is fast… there is no one in our classes who does it as well as him. He really has a talent and the good thing about Bill is that he shows that you don’t have to be a specific type of person to do ballroom and Latin. You may like heavy metal, but you still like to waltz.
Wiecke Eringa, CEO and Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance, said: “It’s just fantastic, isn’t it, that someone who doesn’t look like a dancer can win, to have an older man just showing joy. Hope this means daddy’s dance will be a thing of the past.
Ballroom dancing was more than glitter and glitter, she says. “I hope this inspires men to give it a try because it’s so good for your health and your relationships and it’s so much fun.”
She said Bailey confused expectations regarding seniors and that “this is something that we are overwhelmingly into as an organization. What is beautiful? What is sexy? It can be more than what the general public would like you to believe. “
Tracie Gooch, of Tracie’s Latin Club in Southampton, said: “I think it will definitely inspire the men and I think we will see it more in January. There were already older women buying online dance lessons for their husbands for Christmas. “I’m sure there are people out there who have bought and searched for dance lessons online because of Bill Bailey.”
She said everyone she knew was supportive of Bailey after her “phenomenal” quick step in week two. The younger contestants, Hrvy and Maisie Smith, were stronger dancers – but Bailey captured “the imagination and the heart,” she said.
All dance schools have had a roller coaster year opening with reduced numbers and then closed offering Zoom classes and pre-registrations. “Who knows what the new year will bring, but now we’re up for anything,” Gooch said.