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A Dance Down Memory Lane

Poole’s older dancing community are gearing up for their fourth annual Grand New Year’s Tea Dance at Lighthouse on 26 January.

A team of staff and volunteers will be transforming the concert hall into a dancehall for the afternoon as a seven-piece dance band warm up for three hours of swinging sounds, including waltzes, tango, jive and jazz.

Regular tea dances were set up at Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts, to encourage older residents to keep fit and active, while enjoying high quality live music. These events have proved hugely popular with experienced dancers and novices alike, and tickets frequently sell out.

Cllr Judy Butt, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Public Engagement and Participation, Borough of Poole, said: "The success of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing means that social dancing is hugely popular at the moment and a marvellous way to keep fit and warm this winter. Borough of Poole is committed to encouraging residents to keep fit and active, and the Grand Tea Dance presents an opportunity to enjoy high quality live music and keep physically and socially active at the same time."

This year dancers will get an hour extra dancing time as the event will run for three hours instead of the usual two. With refreshments included in the ticket price and some great raffle prizes, this should all help the party go with a swing.

Brenda Lomas has been volunteering at the tea dances since they began in 2009. She is kept busy chatting to customers and dancing with anyone who is without a dance partner. She said: "I love talking to people, especially those who live on their own. Sometimes they tell me they haven’t danced for 10 or 15 years, and they take a trip down memory lane. I like to put a smile on their faces and to see them have a few laughs with new friends too. I get a great joy from it."

The New Year’s Grand Tea Dance will take place on Thursday 26 January 2012 between 2–5pm. Tickets cost just £8.50 and are available from Lighthouse on 0844 406 8666 or from the Lighthouse website. Advance booking is essential.

Tea Dances at Lighthouse are organised by Borough of Poole’s Arts Development Unit, in association with Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Education and Community Department.

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