‘Gutted’ salsa dancers rue the end of Chichester Strictly classes

The Vestry
The Vestry

‘GUTTED’ dancers have spoken of their sadness at the sudden cancellation of their salsa classes.

Strictly Come Dancing dance coaches Lemon and Richard Marcel started the hugely-popular Monday night club at the Vestry in 2014.

However, the group was left devastated last week when the pub told them it was no longer ‘viable’ to hold the dance nights.

“Shocked and gutted,” said Mr Marcel when asked for his reaction to the news. “At least we have one more night to say goodbye.”

The group was told on October 26 of the news, with November 2’s dance the farewell evening.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Mr Marcel. “I think we created something that wasn’t here before. It’s brought a touch of culture and music and a touch of glamour to the venue and to the city.”

He added: “Obviously we had the link with Strictly Come Dancing, that was a nice touch to the night.

“We saw lots of people start salsa from the beginning and pushing through to be advanced.”

Charlotte Hughes, 30, came from Tangmere to take part.

“I’ve loved it, it’s brilliant,” she said. “It’s the best night of the week and it’s a shame it’s ending.

“I’m gutted. The closest for me now is Portsmouth so I’m really upset about it.”

“It’s been an amazing night,” said 35-year-old Anthony Hurlock, one of the teachers.

“It’s got a lot of people together. Salsa was always popular in this area but there wasn’t anywhere to dance.”

Sally Keates, 31, from Emsworth, also praised the social aspect of the nights.

“We’ve only had two weeks’ notice,” she said. “We’ve got an amazing teacher who choreographs for Strictly. I can’t believe how privileged we’ve been to have such amazing teachers.”

Nick Marshall, owner of the Vestry, said the pub took the decision not to host the night any more as it wanted to concentrate on serving food that night.

“The decision was made the day they were told,” he said. “The reason is that we’re trying push food more at the site and change the image of the site.”

Mr Marshall took over The Vestry in the summer.

“It was business and it’s always a shame to cancel anything, especially when you’re coming into a new business. We don’t want to upset people,” he said.

“The site had to be altered a lot in terms of moving furniture. It didn’t translate into the sort of sales that basically makes it able to continue.”’

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