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BBC Radio 5 live investigates why men are often reluctant to dance

27 Nov 2017

BBC Radio 5’s Sarah Brett and Nihal Arthanayake. (C) BBC. Image: Roscoe & Rutter

With Strictly Come Dancing once again attracting millions of viewers, BBC Radio 5 live Afternoon Edition has discovered that men are often still reluctant to take to a dance floor. In a YouGov poll of 1,000 British men, more than three quarters said they rarely or never danced.

More than 100 men cited their fear of being the centre of attention, getting made fun of or being judged as the reasons they don’t dance. 34% of the men questioned said that feeling embarrassed would stop them from dancing around others.

Out of the men who do dance, 75% said they had previously danced at weddings. Some men said they had to have a drink in order to get them onto the dance floor.

Afternoon Edition will broadcast live from the historic Blackpool Tower Ballroom on Monday 27 November as it explores why men are reluctant to put on their dancing shoes, and also tries to help some reluctant dancers discover their twinkle toes. Dance psychologist Peter Lovatt will be teaching a class of novices how to strut their stuff, while Olympic medal-winning taekwondo athlete Lutalo Muhammad, who won last year’s Strictly Children in Need, will be talking about his love of dance.

Presenters Nihal Arthanayake and Sarah Brett will be learning some new moves, as well as leading a live audience in a debate about how we can encourage more men to dance, and how to make them feel less self-conscious when they do throw some shapes.

Strictly Come Dancing contestants and professional dancers will also offer insight into how they got into dance and how it makes them feel. Strictly’s first disabled contestant, Jonnie Peacock, says that “nobody over-thinks [dancing] more than yourself.”

“You’ll feel like everyone is staring at you and everyone is going to remember your horrible hips for years when really they’re probably going to see it for five minutes… Most people don’t regret what they did, most people regret what they didn’t.”

Speaking about why he got into dancing, Anton du Beke said: “I remember the first time I walked into a dance hall. I thought to myself, this is marvellous; it’s a room full of girls. I was only 13 or 14 at the time and you know you have peculiar things going on when you’re 13 or 14, it’s an internal chemistry thing, I’ve never really understood it. I still don’t.

“They say the hips don’t lie and it’s true. The girls do like a man who can dance… if you’re a bit sort of lascivious they don’t like that, if you’re a bit too close, don’t like that, bit too sweaty, don’t like that. Just be nice and dance well, girls will talk about you in the powder room.”

Afternoon Edition live from Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Monday 27 November from 1pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Join in the conversation using #daretodance.