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01 December 2023

Dubai get ready to dance

By Bindu Rai


It is time to put on your dancing shoes and shake a hip or two, as Dubai raises the curtain on its very own version of BBC’s hit show, Strictly Come Dancing.


Organised by Transguard Group, Dubai Can Dance will offer 10 couples the chance to compete in front of celebrity judges and win a host of prizes, and the title of being the city’s most celebrated amateur dancers.


Mark Povey, General Manager Marketing and Events for Transguard Group, says: “The whole idea behind this contest is to primarily have fun, but participants really need to commit to the cause. Couples will have to undergo 10 weeks of training before the final competition, which will be held in May at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai.”


For a participation fee of Dh15,000, couples will undergo training three times a week (including two one-on-one sessions per week) with trained instructors.


But the fee will also make them beneficiaries of several other perks that come with the competition. These benefits include their very own made-to-order costumes, hair and make-up artists performing their magic on the final day, a separate table for their friends and family to cheer them on, and special air time on local radio and television channels.

Anyone who is over 21 years of age can grab a partner and get grooving in this competition, but the deadline to participate ends on February 17, and the final couples will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.


“There are some ground rules that need to be followed to participate,” explains Povey. “This competition is for novices only. So couples should strictly have no prior professional dance training and should not have participated in any other professional dance competition.

Once this criteria has been met, couples will be interviewed by the dance instructors from Step By Step, who will also be choreographing the whole event. And only then will the final cut be made.”


During the 10-week training period, dancers will be schooled in the 10 disciplines of ballroom dancing of which one will be performed by each couple during the grand finale. The audience will also get to see all 10 couples on the dance floor in a freestyle dance form fused with some salsa moves to get a better idea of which couple has that extra swing in their step to make it the top spot.


“The audience will also be allowed to participate, as each table at the event will be equipped with an electronic voting meter, which will allow them to choose their favourite dancers,” says Povey. “The three judges will then cast in their final vote to elect the best couple.”


Povey, who admits his own dance floor moves are limited, says the company’s research indicated that people in Dubai are interested in exploring dance culture.


He says: “People want to sign up for dance lessons, but due to lack of appropriate schools and studios, many are unable fulfil this desire.


“Our previous event, The White Collar Boxing, was aimed at targeting a specific group within the community, but with Dubai Can Dance, we are opening the floor to one and all, who share a passion for dancing.”


A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to charity, and each participating couple will be guaranteed a trophy that can be proudly placed on their mantle to remind them of their swinging days in Dubai.


Dubai Can Dance Entries close on February 17. To participate,

e-mail mark.povey@transguardgroup.net or call: 050 625 7359



Popular TV dance shows


Strictly Come Dancing on BBC. Celebrities and professional dancers team up for this ballroom dance contest


Dancing With the Stars on ABC. This People’s Choice Award winning reality show follows the same format as Strictly.


So You Think You Can Dance on Fox. Similar to American Idol, US-wide auditions are held to discover the big star.

Nach Baliye on Star Plus. With its third season just wrapped up, this show gets celebrity couples to compete.


Jhalak Dikhla Ja on Sony TV. A spin-off of Strictly. The winners perform at Global Village this month.


World Bellydancing Championship on LBC. Dancers from all over the world show off their belly moves.