A plus-sized dance teacher from Laindon is leading the way to help fuller-figured people get into dance.

Teresa Lawrence, 50, from Gower Chase, is gearing up to launch Strictly Curved, with three new classes in Brentwood and Basildon to begin next month.

After teaching for 22 years and now at a size 24, Teresa has gotten used to being the "biggest girl in the room" - but has never forgotten how it feels to be judged for her weight by other people at dance or fitness classes.

She said: "I have taught in front of 600 people in one go and done so many things as a teacher I never thought possible.

"Through it all I've always had people judging me for my size, no matter what I could do as a dancer - from stares and whispers to outright comments to my face.

"I know how hard it can be to overcome that fear of walking into a class for the first time, and so I wanted to create a really inclusive environment where people of all sizes, ages, and genders could get together and just enjoy dance."

The classes will cover a wide range of dance styles, from modern day pop to Irish and Latin, and aim not just to teach routines but also provide a valuable workout for both body and mind.

Teresa said: "The most important thing is creating a community where people can get out and exercise in a safe environment.

"I've had a lot of interest which is fantastic, but it does go to show that there is clearly an issue with welcoming bigger people into exercise. We are told constantly to get fit and lose weight, but when the environment is so exclusive in some classes it can be even harder to motivate yourself.

"There is nothing like dancing and having fun, and it should be open to everyone who wants to get involved."

The first classes will take place on the week beginning September 3, starting on Monday 3 from 7-8pm at St George's Church in Ongar Road, Brentwood. Another class will be held on Wednesday September 5 from 7-8pm at Saint Stephens Church, Knights Way in Brentwood, and Thursday September 6 at Leigh Chapel North Community Hall in Ballards Walk, Basildon.