Today is DNA Day, the day that commemorates the discovery of DNA by James Crick and Francis Watson. DNA defines who we are as people and we have a hunch (albeit a non-scientific one) that us Strictly fans have super Glittery DNA.
My Daughter Bella loves Strictly and dancing. At her age, I was a very shy and quiet 6 year old who would have been filled with dread at the prospect of performing in front of an audience. Strictly has inspired her to take up dancing and has helped her become a confident performer. Over the weekend I was lucky enough to watch her perform in a Flamenco showcase after her class, with her grandma (my mum.) Something my mum said to me, whilst we were watching her perform got me thinking, she told me “she definitely gets the dancing gene from her great-grandma!”
My grandma loved dancing. She even met my grandad at a dancing class. I’ve always loved watching dancing, but have never been that great a dancer (my husband always needs steel capped boots when I dance with him!) Bella obviously gets her love of dancing and her ability to dance from somewhere. So, is dancing “strictly” in our genes?
Strictly Come Dancing showcases some of the best professional dancers in the world, two of whom happen to be siblings (Kevin and Joanne Clifton.) Their parents, Keith and Judy Clifton were World Champion Latin American Dancers, so it is possible that they got the dancing bug from watching their parents dance. Practice makes perfect, but it could also be said that they inherited the dance ability from their parents.
A study by Professor Richard Ebstein at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem last year showed that dancers showed certain unique genetic and personality characteristics. In fact, professional dancers have a genetic advantage over the rest of us when it comes to dancing ability. According to the study, “dancers are born to dance. They have an genetically enhanced need and ability to communicate with others and a spiritual side to their natures which enable them not only to feel the music but also to communicate that feeling to others via dance.” So it looks like dancing may well be in our genes.
When I think about key moments growing up, I remember my mum taking me to my very first ballet class at the age of 4. She wanted me to learn to dance, as she did my sisters. I was mesmerised by the pretty pink outfits and tried to look graceful, but in all honesty I had the grace of a baby hippopotamus. I gave up when I was 11 but my younger sister who was also taken to ballet lessons, loved it and still dances to this day for fun. Mum wanted us to enjoy dancing, which we both do, and wanted to us to learn a skill, which we both did (one somewhat more than the other.)
For the first couple of years of her life, Bella was oblivious to Strictly Come Dancing, but one evening, decided to join mummy and daddy on the sofa to watch the show. Within a few minutes, she was enchanted by a magical world filled with sequins, pretty dresses, and dancing. She told me “I like this. Can I dance like them too?” I quickly got her enrolled into a ballet class and over the last 2 and a bit years, have watched her grow in confidence, make friends and learn a skill. She has become a beautiful ballerina and loves dancing. I love watching her and as a parent, it is the best feeling ever seeing your child doing something they love. Although I may not be the most graceful dancer, and Bella certainly didn’t get her dancing ability from me, I think I have nurtured and helped her grow into a dancer.
When we watch Strictly Come Dancing, you see people who have never learnt to dance turn into brilliant dancers. Some have natural rhythm and some manage to succeed through sheer grit and perseverance. Over the years we have seen many contestants who have surprised us, take for instance Lisa Riley. Who can forget Craig Revel Horwood declaring “darling, you can dance!”after her Cha Cha Cha in week 1? It was easy to see that she loved dancing and had a brilliant rapport with Robin Windsor. She also have natural rhythm which helped her in her Strictly journey. Also, cast your mind back to 2005 when Darren Gough lifted the Strictly Come Dancing trophy. He grew from being described as “Stompy” by Craig Revel Horwood in week 1, to being crowned King of the Ballroom. Yes, he was being taught by one of the best teachers in the world, but his victory would not have been achieved had he not put the hours of training in.
Dancing ability may well be in our genes, but it also can be a case of nurture rather than nature. Practice really does make perfect, but also having a passion can take you as far as you want to go. What do you think? Is dancing in our genes or do you think upbringing has a lot to do with it? Let us know by commenting below. We look forward to hearing from you.