Ballroom dancing

Karen Hardy teaches new generation of dance stars

With children back at school and the popularity of Strictly Come Dancing, children’s dance lessons have become a popular after school activity. Karen Hardy, a former Strictly winner, shares her experience for parents of budding ballroom stars.

Karen Hardy with husband Conrad

“It is so exciting to hear children coming into our studios saying typically… I want to learn to dance like the professionals on Strictly Come Dancing,” says Karen, who offers children’s dance lessons and Strictly Kidz Birthday Parties at Karen Hardy Studios in south-west London.

Karen adds, “Children are a pure joy to teach and typically much easier to teach than adults as they just want to get on and have some fun. Adults tend to over-analyse or self-criticise.”

Dance lessons are a disciplined activity that requires concentration and Karen’s lessons are taught by instructors who know how to teach not only the dance steps but also how to maintain the often wandering attention of a child’s mind.

Karen says, “The pure delight in their eyes when they are able to do a Cha Cha Cha or a Waltz is simply wonderful.

“We often see that there is no one typical style favoured by the children. They tend to get more excited dancing to great current hits such as Lady Gaga. We teach them some simple and achievable dance steps that have them jumping with delight.”

Karen Hardy Studios

Despite maintaining an international career as a dance instructor (Karen recently spent time sharing her skills in China), and devoting time to Strictly Come Dancing television appearances, Karen recently won a local business award. Karen Hardy Studios was voted Hammersmith and Fulham’s Favourite Business at the 2012 H&F Brilliant Business Awards.

Balancing a celebrity career with running a full-time business and being a mum is a challenge that Karen relishes.

“Balancing the role of being a dance studio director and a Strictly Come Dancing presenter has its challenges, I have to be honest. Not only that but I’m a mum on top of it all as well! However, it is made easier by there being one major factor through them both – a responsibility to ensure the highest quality of knowledge and wisdom in the relation of dancing matters is shared with all parties. It’s tough but someone’s got to do it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Strictly Kidz Birthday Parties at Karen Hardy Studios

Karen has created a memorable party experience for kids who want to become Strictly stars for a day. In an exclusive party room, partygoers are given an hour and fifteen minutes’ dancing and awards session, with refreshments available throughout. Then there are fun and games, eats and birthday cake.

From learning the basic steps of a cha cha cha to show their friends at school on Monday, to watching the crowning moment on the big screen when Karen took the Strictly Come Dancing title with her celebrity partner Mark Ramprakash, to even the parents being able to sit back and enjoy a glass of champagne and nibbles whilst they see their children unwind and have nothing more than a great deal of fun.

Karen adds, “They also have a chance to have a group picture with my winning Strictly Come Dancing authentic trophy and take a personally signed picture by me away with them. But most importantly I know they also now have the foundation dance steps of a life skill they can use for years to come.”