While some famous faces are getting to grips with their steps on Strictly Come Dancing, one Swaffham woman is proving that you’re never too old to step into the ballroom.
That’s because Joan Holland has just added another dancing medal to her collection, at the grand age of 93.
Her latest triumph last month saw her achieve a silver medal in an Argentine tango examination by the International Dance Teachers Association, in which she was highly commended, with her partner Xavier Navarre.
And, having overcome a shoulder injury to win that medal, she is now hoping to go for gold in a further exam next spring. Although she danced socially in her youth, and during the Second World War, it was only in 2007 that she began to dance competitively.
She said: “Tango wasn’t really something that I’d danced before. It’s given me a great sense of achievement, especially as I broke my shoulder last year and didn’t think that I’d be able to do it.”
However, Mr Navarre, who now runs a weekly community dance school at the Sacred Heart School, suggested taking up the tango as a way of aiding her recovery.
He explained: “Joan took a ballroom bronze with me back in 2012 but she wasn’t physically able to go any further.
“Argentine tango is ideal as the range of speeds and rhythmic variations means that we can create a dance together that fits with her current levels of mobility.”
Mr Navarre now teaches a range of dancing styles, including ballroom, latin, tango and swing, at his Monday evening classes. And, having danced and taught all over the world, he said: “I moved to Swaffham to retire, but dancing’s a bit like golf, it’s addictive, except you get to practice in the warm and dry.”