Wales

Strictly's Robbie Savage's Wrexham dance lesson

Robbie Savage and Ola Jordan in Strictly Come Dancing 2011
Image caption Viewers complained about one of Robbie Savage's Strictly routines

A dance teacher from Wrexham claims to have taught Strictly Come Dancing's Robbie Savage his first ever steps.

Denise Sides, 57, says the ex-Wales midfielder was a teenager with a "bad boy" reputation when he was first brought to her to improve his footwork.

She hopes some of her tips paid off, as Wrexham-born Savage, 36, and partner Ola Jordan has made it through to the final seven

But, asked whether he can win, she admitted: "No, he hasn't got the feet."

Ms Sides, who runs a dance academy in Rhostyllen, described how Savage had a lesson with her about 20 years ago as a teenage footballer.

"I was told he was called Robbie Savage, and he had been a bit of a bad boy on the pitch and needed something for his foot control.

"He joined us and he was quite good as far as I remember.

"He wasn't in sequins or anything like that, just in his tracksuit.

"I think I danced the waltz with him. I think he did the rumba as well."

Ms Sides said the young Savage only had one lesson, adding: "He was quite shy, quiet, but bright.

"He told me I was very nice, but stricter than his coach.

"He must have been in his late teens.

Image caption Denise Sides has met several of Strictly's stars, including Brian Fortuna and Kristina Rihanoff

"I think he was just starting to make a name for himself, because he was known as a bad boy on the field.

"He did all right with us, he has very good poise.

"He probably doesn't even remember coming. Whatever I did hopefully stuck with him, because he's doing all right."

However, asked if she thought he could win this year's Strictly, she said: "No. He hasn't got the feet.

She added: "I was going to go and see him on Strictly a couple of weeks ago, because we got tickets, but something came up and we couldn't go.

"I have been watching him though. I don't miss Strictly."

Ryan Giggs

After more than 40 years dancing, Ms Sides has competed across the country, and claims to have met several Strictly's stars at competitions before they were famous.

Among other famous names she claims to have taught is former England football captain David Platt. She tutored him on how to dance for his first dance at his wedding.

Savage retired this year after a footballing career which began at Manchester United alongside Wales footballing legend Ryan Giggs.

His clubs included Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City, while he also won 39 caps for Wales.

Last month, 325 viewers complained about his hip-thrusting performance to Michael Jackson's hit Bad, claiming it was too raunchy.

The BBC said his routine emulated Jackson's famous dance moves and "no offence was intended".

Wales has been represented by a trio of celebrities in this year's Strictly.

Gwynedd-based TV astrologer Russell Grant was voted off last week, while One Show presenter Alex Jones, from Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, came top of the leader board with her partner, James Jordan

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