Students just having a ball
Modern ballroom dancing has evolved into what is known as dancesport and incorporates the waltz, foxtrot and quickstep, and Latin-American styles such as the samba and paso doble.
'People are attracted by the music, social interaction and many view it as a sport that offers the opportunity to exercise their bodies, develop a good sense of balance and keep themselves youthful,' says Walter Wat Mong-kuen, president of the Hong Kong Ballroom Dancing Council (HKBDC) (www.dance.com.hk).
'The level of interest has steadily increased since we first hosted the Hong Kong International Ballroom Dancing Championships in 1989. Being able to see some of the best ballroom dancers in the world has encouraged a lot more people to get involved.'
The HKBDC offers classes for students at all levels. Beginners' classes run all year round and cost HK$320 per month for four, 90-minute lessons.
'Most people take about three to six months to move up from the beginner level. One way for a person to progress is to join a club and get involved in as often as possible. Line dancing can also be a good way to start for absolute beginners,' Wat says.
The HKBDC provides a list of registered coaches and schools that offer classes at various locations around the city on its website.
One such school is Dance Routine (www.danceroutine.com.hk), which has beginners' classes on a monthly basis at its studio in Kowloon Bay.
Students can enrol in an introductory class that focuses on one of the Latin dances such as the rumba, cha-cha-cha or samba. Students can choose classes of one hour or 90 minutes, costing HK$400 or HK$600 per month.
The Hong Kong Tango Academy (www.tangohk.com) in Wan Chai offers beginners' classes in social dancing that include the cha-cha-cha, rock 'n' roll and Argentine tango. Tuition for this nine-week course is HK$1,280 with an early-bird price of HK$930 if paid a week in advance.
Beginners' courses focusing on the Argentine tango and salsa are also available. The Argentine tango course runs for eight weeks and costs HK$1,120/HK$798 (early bird), while the salsa course runs for six weeks and costs HK$998/HK$798 (early bird).
Walk-in classes on Fridays or Saturdays cost HK$180 for people who would like to try before enrolling in a course. Participants can also purchase a book of 10 tickets for HK$1,400, valid for six months. All classes are taught in Cantonese and English.