As the celebrities prepare to make their first appearance on the floor this weekend, our writers talk favourite dances.
Close proximity. Intense and passionate embraces. A little jeopardy (those ladies’ stilettos get dangerously close to the blokes’ ballroom blitzes, don’t you think?). The Argentine tango is definitely the one I’d like to dance with Daniel Craig to. Every time I’ve seen it performed at theatres and, of course, on Strictly, I’ve found myself holding my breath until the final foot placement is complete.
I admire the sheer skill and intricacy involved and become totally immersed in the drama (I fear I unwittingly try and pull the same facial expressions as the dancers). If Daniel’s asking, I’m definitely dancing.
Most of the dances on Strictly are pretty good (though I can’t quite cope with the rumba – it’s like hearing someone say “making love” in a public place) but I REALLY love the quickstep. Who could fail to be delighted as two grinning goons come galloping at the camera and then slide to a (hopefully) graceful halt? It’s so much fun.
I know it’s one of the hardest dances, ‘cos it’s so fast and you’d need to be really fit to do it, but it just looks like a ball to do. Actually, I know it’s both hard and a ball. One of the Showstoppers, Nell, used to be a ballroom dance champion in the States and I got her to show me how to do the gallop-gallop-jump-slide bit during a break in rehearsal one day. She was the man and she led me around the sprung floor as though I was a happy flying angel leaping like a gazelle. (I am aware this is not what it looked like, because sadly there was a mirror, but in my head I saw a lithe leaping beauty and felt as light as air).
My fella won’t come to dancing classes with me and I really don’t like meeting new people, so my only choice is to get famous enough to get on Strictly and stay on long enough to get to do the quickstep. And finally be a little bit like Ginger Rogers in reality rather than just in my head.
Leaves turning on the trees, nights drawing in, warm scarves and woolly jumpers; it’s that time of year when thoughts turn eagerly to Artem Chigvintsev’s magnificent torso. Sorry, obviously I meant to say “turn eagerly to Strictly returning to our screens.” (Artem and his torso have defected to Dancing with the Stars, a loss I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from.)
“I can’t quite cope with the rumba – it’s like hearing someone say ‘making love’ in a public place.”
The dance I’ll most be looking forward to? You can keep your Latin numbers; salsa’s great on a night out, but even the pro dancers look mortified doing the samba. The clear winner for me is the waltz; poetic, heart-stopping beauty, and romance in its purest form. A fiendishly tricky dance, the waltz requires poise and precision, and floors even the most confident of performers with its constant spins and turns.
When someone really nails it though, it’s truly ballroom perfection. For me, no one can beat Abbey Clancey and Aljaz’s 2013 waltz to Kissing You. You’ve a heart made of stone if watching them dance doesn’t give you the feels. I like to imagine that somewhere, in a parallel universe, a 15-year-old me is dancing this with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo and dying of happiness… sigh.
The Paso Doble
In among the Strictly sequins is the dream ballroom dance of the rock chick, the paso doble. In it, one person plays the bull while the other provokes them in the role of matador. It is basically the dance that offers up the most convincing excuse to swish a cape about and stamp a pair of big studded boots to a really un-Strictly soundtrack of classic rock.
The paso doble oozes drama but without the tormented romance of the tango. It is powerful, playful and provocative. The delectable fantasy of being the bull thrown around a dance floor by a matador played by Brendan Cole is about the only reason I would ever want to be famous enough to qualify to be on Strictly myself. Until then, the memory of rugby star Ben Cohen dancing the paso doble to Supermassive Black Hole by the best band in the world, Muse, will just have to do!
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