London ball

Languishing for strictly? Try London’s first five-star hotel with its own dance studio

“It’s a challenge for smart women, they analyze too much when they just need to relax and trust their partner,” Viktoriya sighed.

As she pulled me into a waltz position, I couldn’t help but analyze if I was over-analyzing. Was I overdoing the tiptoe bending motion because I was overthinking it? If I didn’t assess the situation to some extent – Viktoriya’s average stride length, the slight stiffening of her resolve before she pulled us into a turn – wouldn’t I start making mistakes? In theory, as someone who practices classical ballet four times a week, I should have been in my element. In truth, the control-freakish precision of ballet is a world away from the coordinated friendliness of the dance of the partners. The latter terrifies me.

After doing a few awkward exercises, the rhythm of the Blue Danube whisked me away to an early 20th century ball, or maybe a night out at Buckingham Palace. More comfortable with my steps, I began to soak up the splendor of the room, with its frescoes of angels, its gilded stucco work and its central staircase.

I was at the Dilly Hotel in Piccadilly, London, for a dance class in his Edwardian ballroom. Inspired by the popularity of Strictly Come Dancing, the hotel has launched private and group classes, ranging from classic ballroom to American sweetness.

After a quick crash course in waltz, we spiced things up with a little salsa at Michael Bublé.

“Relax your arms. You’re dancing on a beach with tequila.

This was exactly the psychological trick I needed to get my sultry Latin vibes. After perfecting a few salsa turns and walks, we put them together into a basic routine. I couldn’t help but fantasize that I was on the set of Strictly as we sneaked into an Ed Sheeran mix club.