Strictly star to wow Old London Road as part of Kingston's Christmas Lights Switch On
By whitelc | Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 14:25
Former Strictly Come Dancing star Izabela Rai will be adding some glitz and glamour to the Kingston Christmas Lights Switch On events in Old London Road next month.
The ballroom, Latin American and salsa specialist teaches classes at Kingston Working Men's Club in Old London Road every Thursday and will be bringing her dance classes on to the street for all to get involved in during the festivities on Thursday, November 14.
The lights switch on, organised by Kingstonfirst, will see events take place throughout the town centre and Old London Road will be playing a bigger part than ever before.
As well as Izabela's star turn, there will also be reindeers for children to pet, a Santa's grotto, a craft & food market and circus acts performing.
Izabela, who lives in Richmond, has been running classes in Kingston for four years and was the Amateur Ballroom Polish Champion in 2002 and winner of the US Championships in the same year.
At the lights switch on, pupils from her school will be demonstrating a number of dance styles from 5.30pm and then Izabela herself will take over as she hosts classes open to everyone.
"This is the first time I have been involved and I think it will be nice," she said.
"We do ballroom, Latin American and salsa so there will be cha-chas, jives, pasodobles and tangos among the dances.
"There will be a group dance as well and then I am hosting some classes after so people can come along and join in.
"I have been teaching in Kingston for four years now and I really like the venue. There is a really big dance studio, they have a bar and we have nice crowds coming to it."
Izabela will be recognisable to fans of Strictly Come Dancing from her appearance in the third series in 2005, dancing alongside snooker star Dennis Taylor and making it through five weeks of competition.
She still watches the show and has her favourites for this year's crown.
"I really enjoyed the show, it was a good experience to be asked to do it and to meet the likes of Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly," she added.
"I am still watching it and this year I have a soft spot for Rachel Riley as I taught her her wedding dance last year– which had a bit of waltz in it.
"I like Natalie Gumede too, she is really good."
Festivities in Old London Road will start from 11am with a crafts and food market that will last all day. There will be live reindeers down the street, music and performances from 3pm to 6pm and Santa's Grotto open from 3.30pm to 5pm.
Ross Morgan, chief executive of Kingstonfirst, said: "We are delighted to have Old London Road included to this scale in this year's festivities and we think it will be a splendid addition to the overall occasion.
"Children will be able to enjoy the reindeers and Santa's Grotta, while Izabela and her school of dancers will provide an amazing spectacle for everyone."