A DANCE instructor hopes more boys will be inspired to take on the art of dancing by watching her students at a gala.

Alexandra Hughes, founder of the Alexandra School of Performing Arts, thinks too few boys participate and wants to address the gender imbalance at the upcoming Redbridge Dance Gala.

Ms Hughes set up the Woodford Green school 18 years ago and has taken teams to the gala for more than a decade.

The gala involves people of all ages from across the borough, from young children to middle-aged dancers, and takes place at the Kenneth Moore Theatre in Ilford on Saturday, March 10.

Now, the 39-year-old dance instructor wants her charges to show off what they’ve learned to draw a different kind of dancer.

She says: “It’s such a good event for young people. The gala is a way of representing dance to the community by the community.

“If boys see other boys on stage they will think yeah, I can do that. It’s so nice to see boys dancing.

"I hope boys of all ages take an interest. I suppose it’s different now because more of them are into hip-hop but there are still not enough doing it.

“I hope the dancers enjoy being in a professional theatre and the audience supports the theatre and encourages dancing.”

The dance instructor trains teams especially for the performance and will take four specially crafted routines to this year’s gala.

The 39-year-old spoke with pride at the prospect of seeing her dancers perform the routines.

Ms Hughes said: “We create our own elaborate, bigger routines for the gala and perform them just for that.

“It’s really rewarding watching my students perform. Going to the gala gives them the chance to be in a proper theatre on a big stage. They absolutely love it and work all year round for it.

“When they do it they feel successful. To know that you have played a part in them feeling like that is really good.”

The dance instructor urged people to attend and see how varied the art can be.

Ms Hughes said: “It’s a really good show for people to see dance because it’s so varied. Some people might be put off the ballet or tap dancing if they are not in to that style.

“This is so different. The variety of dancing means anyone can go. It’s for all ages.”

Ms Hughes has a long history with the gala, as she herself performed when she was a child learning to dance.