A MUCH loved local dance teacher has celebrated 25 years in the profession, with a personalised gift from her students.

Tracie Gooch has taught Latin-style dance at Tracie’s Latin Club (TLC) for 25 years.

Currently based in St Barnabas Church Hall on Lodge Road, her students showed their appreciation by commissioning a custom-made mosaic plaque, made by prolific local artist Will Rosie a.k.a Mr Mosaic.

Tracie described the gift as “wonderful,” adding that her enjoyment in the role has come from seeing people improve as dancers.

She said: “Over the years it has been the most thrilling experience to see people have so much fun and go from zero to hero on the dance floor.

“In many ways it has been even more rewarding to see people blossom in other ways, such as gaining an inner confidence, make lots of new friends and generally help with mental wellbeing.”

Tracie started out teaching weekly Salsa class in Southampton in 1996, since then her practice has grown into classes of multiple forms of Latin dance every night of the week.

Styles include Argentine Tango, Ballroom, Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba, taught by a small team of ‘passionate’ instructors.

‘Passionate’ was how student of 5 years, Rosele Vogel, 42, described the teachers at TLC.

A student of the school for five years, She said: “[The instructors] have lot of passion for dance.

“They’re caring and they respect your boundaries - they look after you.”

The schools is noted for the inclusivity of teaching female dancers to lead and male dancers to follow, which isn’t always the case in traditional dance schools.

On her reasoning for dancing for five years, Ms Vogel said: “[The classes are] my ‘happy place’.”

“When you get onto a dance floor you forget about your worries and your troubles and you just concentrate on the music and your partner.”

TLC classes have moved online during lockdown, with “in person” classes planned to start from May 17, in accordance with government restrictions.

For more information visit www.tracieslatinclub.co.uk.