A DANCE group from Poole are celebrating continued success after member figures have reached more than 200 people.

The Infectious Academy, who practise at The Kaf, on Turlin Road, have members ranging from age four to 54, practising street dance as a way of bringing people together and learning new skills.

Whilst it used to be mostly Turlin Moor residents coming along when it started back in 2001, now people travel from across Poole to take part.

As Sally Hicks, Outreach Worker of the academy says, this is not your normal dance school.

She said: “We’re in between this parade of five shops, which are the only ones on the Turlin Moor estate and it’s like this urban scene, where the kids are all hanging around outside.

“I like to think that we’re just this little ball of light coming out of it.

“It is a safe place for people to go, whether the kids are having problems with their parents, or at school, they can come here and be part of Infectious.”

Sally first met Nikila Newman, who started up and runs Infectious, in 2008, after they got chatting one day at St Mary’s Church, in Poole.

“Back then, we had around 70 dancers, with one 70-year-old lady, and lots of mums having a go alongside their kids. Nikila’s always wants to encourage people to take part. It’s like a family.

“We went to Africa earlier this year, in partnership with St Mary’s Church, and it was great, because the kids from local schools and Infectious were making friends with people from different cultures and communities, and helping others.”

As a result of growing numbers, the group have also created Infectious Sound, where members can play musical instruments, and sing together.

Merve Akcam, 20, is a member of Infectious and also a young leader who teaches classes to other keen dancers.

She said: “I joined Infectious back in 2009, as most of my friends went there, and I can say that it was the best choice that I ever made.

She added: “For me, it’s about seeing people as they grow in confidence. The dream is that one day we have our own Infectious dance space.”

For more information, go to Infectiousacademy.org or call Sally on 07850 369215.