Memories of our Strictly Oxford stars as BBC hit show returns

Strictly Come Dancing launches on Friday with 15 celebrity contestants taking to the dance floor.

And glued to the series, which was postponed following the death of the Queen, will be superfan Yolanda Colucci, creator of Strictly Oxford.

Following the format of the hit BBC show, it gives locals the opportunity to learn how to dance for free in just seven weeks, before performing at the live show at the Christian Life Center on Cowley Road.

Each couple has to learn a Latin and ballroom routine and competes in front of a panel of judges and a packed crowd.

The event, which last took place in April, raised thousands for the charity Something to Look Forward, supporting cancer patients and their families and carers.

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Yolanda said: “I am a massive fan of Strictly, but that wasn’t my starting point. The event ran in 2017 and I was a contestant then and had such an amazing time that I then went on to become a dance teacher with Step by Step Dance School in Witney after taking part.

“I wanted to bring all the glitz and excitement back to Oxford, and give people the opportunity to have the experience I did. As well as making a huge amount of money for a wonderful charity.”

She said: “In 2017 I was looking for a new focus, something I could do for myself that was different and fun when I was lucky enough to come across an advert for Strictly Oxford.

“I had always loved dance but was never a performer – the thought of dancing in front of people scared the life out of me. But I decided to challenge myself and signed up anyway.

“I had the most fun, made some amazing friends and although still haven’t gotten over my fear of performing I had the best time and wish I could do it all over again.”

Both Oxford Children’s Hospital and Vale House care home, in Sandford-on-Thames, have benefited from the funds raised.

Founder of Step by Step dance school Andrzej Mialkowski said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see the show. It’s just incredible to see people being so supportive. Family members come out and bring banners – it’s great.”

However, despite the shows being sold out, there is generally a lack of men entering.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Mialkowski said: “We are desperate for men. They always hesitate but then absolutely love it when they take part.

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“It’s dancing, but it’s also raising money for charity and a good way to exercise.”

This year Duncan Enright, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Travel & Development Strategy and deputy leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, took to the floor.

Previous winners include Dan Bond, head of performance and analysis at Oxford United.

If after seeing Strictly you feel like taking part in Strictly Oxford in May 2023, contact [email protected]

Something To Look Forward is at somethingtolookforwardto.org.uk

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