Prince Charles And Camilla Ballroom Dance To Jazz In New Zealand (PICTURES)

Cutting A Rug In Christchurch

The Prince of Wales gave a masterclass in ballroom dancing when he took to the floor - without the Duchess of Cornwall.

A fleetfooted Charles impressed the public with his moves as he twirled a female companion around to the sounds of 1940s swing jazz music.

But Camilla was not left out, she also shimmied a few feet from the prince with her own partner.

The royal couple got fully involved with a pop-up dance floor

The royal couple showed their lighter side as they visited Christchurch in New Zealand on Friday to learn how its residents have rebuilt their lives following last year's devastating earthquake.

The dancefloor is a pop-up facility called Dance-O-Mat, created by the charitable trust Gap Filler, which has coin operated lighting and sound courtesy of a washing machine that plays tunes from an mp3 player.

For almost two years the organisation has been finding creative uses for open spaces left following the earthquake that struck Christchurch in September 2010 and the second deadly quake in February 2011 that claimed more than 180 lives.

Camilla was the first to take to the dance floor after she accepted an invitation from Sam Johnson, an undergraduate who was widely praised for organising a student volunteer army to help in the aftermath of the devastating natural disaster.

The Duchess, who is a well-known fan of the BBC's celebrity ballroom dancing show Strictly Come Dancing, held the student activist's right hand with hers and they moved at a gentle pace.

After a few moments Camilla looked over to her husband who was watching from the sidelines and said "Come on darling, you've got to dance too".

But it was Lisa Shannon, 57, a psychology student from Christchurch who seized the moment and asked the heir to the throne if he wanted to cut a rug.

Charles had a quicker turn of pace then his wife and twirled his partner around then grabbed both her hands.

The heir to the throne danced cheek to cheek with Ms Shannon and laughed as they pulled apart then twirled her around again as he showed off his skills.

Ms Shannon was out of breath after the impromptu dance lesson from the Prince and said: "If you don't ask you don't get, I just saw him standing there looking a bit lonely and I thought I'd ask him to dance."

The 57-year-old was impressed by his masterful presence on the dancefloor: "He led and I followed and I don't usually follow, but he was definitely in charge."

The royal couple's twirl on the dancefloor came after they visited a shopping area in Christchurch city centre to see how retailers and independent business forced out of their premises by the earthquake have set up home in renovated cargo ship containers.

The Re:Start project has seen the large metal boxes brightly painted, fitted with doors and windows and stacked up to create temporary retail spaces.

Shoppers mobbed the royals as they walked along Cashel Street meeting retailers in their new homes.

A reminder of the earthquake loomed nearby - a large building being torn down by mechanical equipment.

Survivors of the natural disaster had earlier told the Prince and Duchess their harrowing stories during a reception at Christchurch City Council offices.

The royal couple privately met around 20 people who had been badly injured when buildings collapsed during the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which struck at 12.51pm on February 22, last year.

Widespread damage resulted especially in central Christchurch and its eastern suburbs as the quake's epicentre was close to the middle of the city and buildings had been weakened by the 2010 quake.

More than half the people killed were in the six-storey Canterbury Television Building, which collapsed and caught fire.

Bev Edwards, 54, a nurse from Christchurch, is now a paraplegic in a wheelchair after a cafe roof collapsed on her while she was having lunch with her mother.

Ms Edwards said: "I was in a cafeteria deemed to be safe but the building next door fell sideways onto it and the roof came in.

"I knew I had broken my back and I was eventually carried out on a door used as a stretcher. The lady at a table next to me was killed and my mother sat opposite me and was able to walk out.

"It's incredibly important the Prince came to meet us, we're not people that died we're here, but there hasn't been a lot of recognition for the seriously injured."

Charles and Camilla's visit to Christchurch came on the last day of their Diamond Jubilee tour to mark the Queen's 60-year reign that saw them visit Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Royal Tour of New Zealand - Day Seven

Charles and Camilla in New Zealand

This isn't the first time Charles has had a little boogie. See our slideshow of the Prince dancing through the years.

Royalty - Prince Charles - Holyrood House Garden Party

Prince Charles Dancing


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