BUSINESS chiefs took to the dance floor this weekend for Winchester’s answer to Strictly Come Dancing.

In a jam-packed competition run by Winchester City Council, dance troops from across the district were challenged with teaching some of the city’s VIPs how to sashay like the stars.

The Step Up! initiative came to a climax on Sunday (May 11) with a glitzy grand finale at the Guildhall, which was packed to the rafters with over 250 audience members.

Special guest performer Falah Hassan kept the audience entertained – known as Poppin’ Ron, he was a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent and even gave Winchester Mayor Ernie Jeffs an impromptu street dance lesson.

University of Winchester’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Joy Carter, braved the big stage opting for a rock ‘n’ roll number with Platform School of Dance.

Chief executive of Marwell Zoo, James Cretney, danced the Argentine Tango with NuTango, David Gibbons from Denplan went for West Coast Swing with Silvia from Salsa y Sol, and Jane Fish, managing director of the Ministry of Fish, paired up with Integr8 for a street dance performance.

Winchester City Council apprentices Jade Moses and Chandler Divers showcased an Irish dance with Roynon Dance.

But it was Eloisa Broadbent and Kat Goodchild from the Carroll Centre in Stanmore who dazzled the crowd with their up-beat hip-hop routine with The Firefly Theatre School and were crowned the winners.

Eloisa and Kat said: “We are still buzzing and extremely happy to bring the trophy to the Carroll Centre. We hope that our effort and enthusiasm will inspire children, youth and adults in the community to take up dance as a healthy and fun lifestyle.”

Director of Firefly Theatre School, Jessica Waters-Leavins, said she was thrilled with their win. “It was just fantastic to be involved and it was such a beautiful evening where everyone showcased their work. Winning was a bonus for us.”

The competitors were judged by Katie Francis from Blue Apple Theatre, Mayor Ernie Jeffs, Poppin’ Ron, Sally Stanyard, a local dance school owner and Cathy Seago, a dance lecturer at the University.

The competition has seen flash mobs in the city centre, and was designed to encourage people of all ages to get off the sofa and into their dancing shoes to get fit.

Assistant director of economy and communities at Winchester City Council, Eloise Appleby, said: “Our glitzy evening at the Guildhall put dance in the spotlight in Winchester by delivering a fun and fabulous version of a popular TV dance contest. Now the Step Up! Winchester challenge is for local people of all ages to take up dance and become healthier in the process.”

Students from the University and Sally Stanyard’s Dance School also showcased different levels of dance, from beginner classes to degree-level choreography, and Poppin’ Ron alongside Intergr8’s Josh Hoffman left jaws dropping with a display of spinning and floor work.