Sarah Goodman, manager in corporate tax at Grant Thornton in Leeds, on her passion for Latin American and ballroom dancing.
I’ve loved dancing ever since I was young and with the rise in popularity of programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, I was itching to get my dancing shoes back on.
I’ve always danced from an early age and remember staying up with my mum to watch Come Dancing with Angela Ripon when I was younger. Over recent years I’ve dabbled with a few classes, such as salsa nights, but I hadn’t done anything seriously.
I then came into contact with the Edmonds Dance Centre in Burley, Leeds, and started taking a private lesson every week with my dance teacher, Nicola Edmonds. Since then things have really taken off and dancing has moved from a hobby to an obsession!
The studio teaches lots of styles of dance. I mainly do Latin and ballroom dancing including the foxtrot, waltz and cha cha cha, but I’ve also spent some time learning Argentine tango. My fix is now four lessons a week, plus practice sessions on a Sunday – a total of six hours a week!
I take exams twice a year and also compete regularly with my dance partner Kris Winterburn, a full-time dance student who I met through the school. We attend the regional UKA Latin and ballroom dance competitions, competing in Sheffield, Whitby and Manchester. We’ve had a pretty successful year so far, having reached the final in each ballroom event, taking second place in Sheffield dancing the tango and fifth place in the Latin final in Manchester.
The year culminates in a huge national competition in Blackpool in October when hundreds of dancers descend on the Winter Gardens.
I absolutely love everything about ballroom dancing – its fuddy-duddy image is long gone and it’s now been re-invented as ‘dancesport’, a glamorous hobby that also has the advantage of keeping you fit. The best thing about it is the social element, you meet new people who share your passion for dancing.
I also have to admit to adoring the glitzy outfits. Most of my costumes are made by my friend and training partner, Andrew Clarke. I currently have three costumes and Andrew is in the process of making my fourth – one for each of the dances I have competed in so far, waltz, rumba and samba, plus the next on my list, the tango. I love them all – I like to have a different one for each dance to reflect their individual style and character. The fact my friend makes them means I can have an input into their design – the main requirement being that each one sparkles more than the last!
The glitter, sequins and fake tan are the perfect antidote to a day in the office, providing pure escapism! Show me a sparkling glitterball and I am away – maybe even one day I can follow in the footsteps of my namesake, Len Goodman, and appear on Strictly!