Dancing has never been so popular. A whole host of television shows dedicated to dance have encouraged many of us to take to the floor and trip the light fantastic. Gayle McBain looks at why dancing with a partner has become fashionable once again..

YET another reality dance show ends and the winners, Darrien and Hollie, have helped to bring getting to grips with a dance partner back into fashion.

The Strictly Dance Fever show, hosted by Graham Norton, attracted a huge television audience, signalling a resurgence in ballroom popularity.

It followed hot on the heels of the Strictly Come Dancing show in which a bunch of celebrities showed off their moves.

A whole host of television dancing shows have even inspired newly weds to perform their very own routine to wow their guests at the wedding reception.

They are turning to First Dance UK for help and a personalised dance to prevent the embarrassing shuffle around the floor many newly-weds are forced to endure.

After around five hours of lessons at a cost of £250 the happy couple will be able to twirl around the dancefloor with confidence.

Lessons take place at home and couples pick their favourite song and a choreographer devises a routine for them.

Many couples pick romantic ballads including Andy Williams' "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" or "It had to be You" by Harry Connick Junior, while others have chosen the far more unusual "Murder on the Dance Floor" by Sophie Ellis Bextor, "You Never Can Tell" from the film Pulp Fiction and even the theme tune to Coronation Street for a couple who met while working on the programme.

Rebecca Story, who lives in Heaton, is a full-time freelance choreographer working for First Dance UK.

She believes the large number of dance programmes on television have prompted the sudden keen interest in dance and given young couples the incentive to learn to dance for their wedding celebrations.

"Dancing has become really huge," she said. "I think a lot of it is down to the television shows. People are crazy about dancing now.

"There are so many first dances couples can choose and they are all individual."

Rebecca, who is married to 30-year-old teacher, Christopher, said it was often the grooms who needed more tuition than the brides. "The bride can often dance but it's the groom who struggles. I can help him make that first dance more comfortable," she added.

Some couples want a simple dance, while others want a show-stopping routine.

"Each couple is different," she said.

Fifty years ago it would have been unheard of for couples to need a lesson in dance for their wedding day.

In the first half of the 20th century ballroom dancing was the preferred way to enjoy a Saturday night out and a perfect way for couples to meet.

Towns and cities across the country were alive with the big band sound.

In the Fifties and Sixties couples flocked to the Bolton Palais De Danse to dance the night away with a sedate waltz, fox-trot or a more energetic jive.

Slowly but surely discotheques took over and dancing with partners was largely resigned to the scrap-heap until now.

Ballroom dancing and the more extravagant free-style dancing with a partner is back and ready to strut its stuff once again.

It is thanks, largely, to the hugely popular Strictly Come Dancing show, featured weekly on the BBC and the more informal dances of the BBC's Dance Fever showcasing everything from salsa to swing, lambada to lindy hop.

Viewers have tuned in, in their millions, to the glittering extravaganzas.

The costumes were vibrant, the passion exciting and the dance steps beguiling.

People all over Bolton have been keen to emulate the dancing they have seen on the television and have been flocking to local dance schools to learn the moves.

Mike Sandham and his wife Marie run Sandham's Dance Studio in Peel Street, Farnworth and have been inundated with telephone calls about their ballroom dancing classes since the programmes were first aired on television.

"We have always done quite well with ballroom dancing but the last 12 months, since Strictly Come Dancing has been on the television, we've seen a definite increase in numbers," he said.

"What happens now is people tend to ring us up and we are getting a lot of people coming back to ballroom dancing. They've done it in the past and want to do it again."

Mike and Marie were finalists in the European Ballroom and Latin American Championships and have danced together all over the world.

Teresa Croasdale, who is the proprietor of A Touch of Class Dance Studio in Little Lever said she had been delighted by the increase in popularity of ballroom dancing.

"It has definitely become much more popular since the Strictly Come Dancing show started. It has always been popular with the children but quite a lot more adults are now coming to classes.

"A couple of years ago we felt ballroom dancing was dying as a business but not now," she said. Teresa, who has been dancing 44 years, said cricketer Darren Gough winning Strictly Come Dancing was a real boost to the Sunday and Wednesday evening adult classes.

"I think seeing Darren Gough win will have helped the men realise they can do it. The men are usually more reluctant, when it comes to dancing," she said.

Teresa's dancers range in age from just three to 85 and all have one thing in common a desire to learn how to dance. Teresa also runs classes in Latin, line-dancing, freestyle and salsa, which are the dances seen on TV in the Strictly Dance Fever competition.

Dawn Dawson, who runs the Miss Dawn Dawson dancing school in Great Moor Street, Bolton, said her speciality was ballet, singing and drama but she would consider starting ballroom lessons.

"If I could find the right teacher I would consider it. After all the interest, following the television show, I really wish I did teach ballroom. We do have salsa lessons which are very popular," she said.

Visit www.firstdanceuk.co.uk or ring 0845 055 0729 for more details.