IT was Voltaire who said: “Let us read and dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.”
And – being based at Blackpool’s Central Library – the council’s new dance development officer, Sarah Hall would no doubt agree.
The 24-year-old, who has been dancing herself silly since she was three, wants to bring dance to everyone in the local community – regardless of age, ability, fitness level.
She believes it has the power to boost the health and well-being of everybody, as well as bringing people together.
Sarah, who graduated with a first-class honours degree in dance from Leeds University, before training as a teacher, said: “I want to get people dancing who have never danced before. And for those who already dance, I’m hoping my work could help give them a different outlook about dance.
“Dancing has so many benefits – it gives people chance to be creative and has a whole host of health benefits.
“There are all the obvious benefits associated with exercise, but also benefits such as improving coordination and allowing people to be creative.
“It gives people chance to express themselves.
“It’s great for giving people confidence. It’s a really social activity too.
“We are going to be holding regular tea dances at the library to focus on that social side.
“I wanted people to have something to look forward to, something which might challenge them and provide an interest – a lot of people are those who were involved in dance in Blackpool years ago.
“It helps get the body and brain active.
“I hope to bring dance to people who wouldn’t necessarily want to go to a formal tap dancing class, or learn set routines.
“I feel really strongly about bringing dance, particularly creative dance – where there is no right or wrong – to the general community.”
Sarah studied ballet from the age of three, before becoming a member of Lancaster-based dance youth company Ludus, and then working for the business and as a freelance dance artist.
Her plans for dance in the community include a Big Dance 2012 event, a street dance day, creating new community dance groups and an inter-generational dance project across the whole of the Fylde coast.
Sarah, whose post is jointly funded by Blackpool Council, Wyre Council, Lancashire County Council and the Arts Council, with initial funding from Fylde, said: “You don’t need to be a certain size, age or gender to be able to dance. I’m really passionate about getting people dancing.
“When you dance, it gives you the chance to experience something different, to think and feel in a completely different way.
“For me as a dancer, I sometimes still get stressed even in the studio when I am trying to put together choreography, but really dance is a great way to forget all the stresses of everyday life.
“You can get a great sense of achievement from just learning a sequence of steps, and it really is good fun.
“And Blackpool has such a great history, such a long tradition of dance, show business and performance.”
For more details about dance in the area, log onto fyldecoastdance.wordpress.com, or email email@example.com.