SPARKLING Esther Rantzen has prompted a renaissance on the dance floor following her success in TV's Strictly Come Dancing.

She may have been voted off the show but she has won plaudits aplenty for her nifty footwork - and the weight she lost in the process.

Esther, who lives in the New Forest, has revealed she lost three inches from her waist during training for the show - and she now plans to stay in shape with regular dance sessions.

Dance schools in Southampton are reporting a surge in interest following the success of the dancing show.

Christine Diment of the Diment Macdonald Dance Centre in Portswood said dancing is a great way to keep fit and more people than ever were choosing to cha-cha and tango.

"It's a brilliant way to exercise and to unwind. When people come along to classes they have to concentrate on what they are doing and they forget about all the worries of the day," she said.

As well as getting in shape, dancing is a great way to meet new friends too, said Christine.

"If you go to the gym it's not the same as dancing - there is a whole social side to it as well that people really enjoy," she said.

But Linda Bellinger, who is principal dancer with her husband Robert at the Leigh Dance Club in Eastleigh, said new recruits shouldn't be fooled into thinking they would lose pounds instantly.

"Esther has been dancing at the same level as people who take part in competitions - it's not the same as turning up for a few classes.

"When you dance competitively it does alter your shape. I know because when I gave up competing I put on two stones," she said.

Esther's dance partner on the telly Anton De Beke will be coming to Southampton at the end of the month.

The reigning British ballroom champion and his partner Erin Boag will be at Southampton Guildhall on November 28 for a Strictly Come Dancing-style competition.

The IDTA Classic Championships will also feature an invitation inter-school/university team match. The competitions will be judged by

top world professional adjudicators including Len Goodman also of Strictly Come Dancing fame.

Tickets are available from the Diment Macdonald Dance Centre, 10 Spring Crescent, Portswood, Southampton or by calling 023 8055 4192.


1. Quickstep

2. Jive

3. Samba

4. Salsa

5. Cha-cha

6. Waltz

7. Foxtrot

8. Tango

9. Street dance

10. Rumba