Still feeling romantic after Valentine’s day? Then, this weekend, there’s another chance to trip the light fantastic as Strictly Come Dancing stars Anton du Beke and Erin Boag return to the Usher Hall with their brand new show, Let’s Do It.
“Our shows have a fun atmosphere and are very audience-based. They have an ‘evening with’ feel, so the audience is integral,” says the ever-smiling Du Beke.
The dancer discovered his love of ballroom at the age of 14 after being sent to meet his sister from her dance class.
“I never expected to like it but I loved it immediately. Soon after I started I thought, ‘This is what I want to do with my life,’ and my goal then was to be a professional dancer,” he says.
It’s a goal the 45-year-old quickly achieved and one that has seen him become one half of the country’s best known ballroom dancing couple; Boag, has now been his professional partner now for more than 15 years.
“She is glamorous, stylish and sophisticated. She is everything you see. She is just great. I couldn’t wish for a better dance partner,” he says.
Boag, who was born in New Zealand where she began to learn to dance at the age of three, is equally complimentary about Du Beke.
Recalling their first meeting, the 36-year-old once revealed, “I was in the dance studio and he walked in, says, ‘Hello love’, spins me in, puts me down, gives me a smooch and then flicks me off. As he walked away I turned around and went, ‘Is this guy for real?’
“He always has to make a grand entrance and he hasn’t changed a bit. He’s hilarious and a real gentleman. All the ladies love him because he sweeps them off their feet - that’s exactly what he did with me when I met him.”
That was back in 1997 and the pair have since won the New Zealand Championships twice and appeared at the International Dance Championships in London’s Royal Albert Hall. They turned professional in 2002.
Let’s Do It finds them dancing to the music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Kander & Ebb and Cole Porter and features classic hits such as An American in Paris, It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), The Blue Danube Waltz, Don’t Rain on My Parade and Cavatina.
They are joined in the show by singer Lance Ellington, guest dancers and an orchestra under the baton of Richard Balcombe.
It is, of course, Strictly Come Dancing, that the pair have to thank for introducing them to the masses - they are the only dancers to have starred in every series since it started in 2004.
“When you’re in the show and haven’t been knocked out it is seven days a week, 24 seven. Even as a professional, when you’re not at training you’re putting choreography together or doing the professional numbers, sorting out the music. It’s completely and utterly full on,” admits Erin. “But it’s all good fun and you probably experience every emotion possible during the time you’re in the show.”
Anton adds, “Strictly is great and I look forward to it every year. It has given us the opportunity to do our show and that is lovely.”
Boag chips in, “Our show is a two-hour show and for the majority we’re on the floor. Every night is different for us because we have a different audience and you play off the audience.”
It’s thanks to Strictly and the likes of Boag and Du Beke that there has been a massive surge of interest in ballroom dancing over the last eight years and Du Beke encourages, “Have a go. Find a class, go along and enjoy. It is a great social activity.
“The world would be a better place if everyone learned to dance.”
Anton & Erin: Let’s Do It, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Saturday, 7.30pm, £15.50-£39.50, 0131-228 1155