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Strictly stars head to Sage Gateshead

Posted on 5 September 2017

An interview and preview by carried out by Peter Mann BSc

Stars of the hit BBC show, Strictly Come Dancing, head to Sage Gateshead early on in their forty-two date, Rip It Up tour this September as ballroom dancer Natalie Lowe will be joined on stage by previous winners Jay McGuinness and Louis Smith MBE.

Natalie, who joined the hit dance show back in 2007, finishing second in her maiden outing with actor Ryan Whittle, has become a mainstay, and much-loved part of the show whilst The Wanted’s Jay McGuinness (winner in 2015 with Aliona Vilani), and Olympian Louis Smith (winner in 2012 with Flavia Cacace), are welcome additions to the 1950’s inspired music medley.

To be able to work with these two incredible Strictly champions and choreograph routines with them to the music from music’s greatest decade, began Natalie of the show which will include performances to tracks such as Why Do Fools Fall In Love, La Bamba, Teenager in Love, Heartbreak Hotel, Good Golly Miss Molly, and many more.

It is something that we are all very excited to be working on and together we will dance through some of the most fantastic songs ever created.

It was great news when I heard Jay and Louis were in. I initially said no to singing as well as dancing, but for Louis and Jay it feels really natural, passionate even. Louis is constantly singing that style of music, which surprised me. They are amazing talents, along with Leo Green and his band from Radio 2, who are performing the show’s live music each night.

The Wanted’s Jay McGuinness stole the hearts of a nation two years ago when dancing his way to the stars and lifted the famous Glitterball Trophy with dance partner, Aliona Vilani; their now famous jive, to the medley of Chuck Berry’s You Never Can Tell and Dick Dale & The Del Tones’ Misirlou, a performance that has amassed well over five million YouTube views alone.

He said: This show with Louis and Natalie will be rock ‘n’ roll, jiving and swinging. There will be plenty of similar stuff to Strictly, but the difference is that there will be a little bit more to it than just dancing. It’s really weird though, because over the course of Strictly you get conditioned to learning a new dance every week, so by the time it comes back around the next year you feel like you’re being thrown in at the deep end again. It’s week one all over again, with all these new contestants about to carry on their journey while I was back for just that one week.

As a 2012 London Olympian, gymnast Louis Smith had already endeared himself to a now-besotted nation and, in that years’ series, alongside Flavia Cacace, Smith’s stock rose even further to claim the famous trophy for himself.

Now, with a two-month tour ahead, Smith will return to training shortly afterwards in order to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, gunning for a fourth Olympic medal, the star adding: “I have been asked to sing in this show. I think you’ll hear my voice amongst the backing singers.

That’s as far as the singing will go; I’m just looking forward to being on stage and ripping it up for a couple of hours a night with Radio 2’s Leo Green and his ‘50’s all-star band backing us; the singing, the music, the dancing, that music is going to make you want to jig away in your seat. At the end of October though it’s back to the gymnastics world. I’d definitely like to make it to the next Olympics, it’s just whether I get selected or not. I’m older now, there are younger kids doing really well. I am just going to try my best and if I don’t make it I’ve got no regrets. I’ll know I’ve tried.

Throughout September and October, the trio, along with BBC Radio 2’s Leo Green and his all-star band and hand-picked selection of dancers by Natalie herself put on a full show! Beginning in Aberdeen and finishing in Cheltenham the tour takes in venues in York, Scarborough and Carlisle for the northern music lovers, as well as Swindon, London, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester and more with Natalie adding: It’s really exciting. We did it with the Strictly tour, and such a thing resonates with me as a professional dancer. I travelled the world with a show called Burn the Floor, which also featured a live band, and it just gives you another level of energy. You just want everyone tapping their feet and wanting to have a sing and dance along with us. It is the best of the ‘50s era; a real mixture of iconic singers, songwriters and bands. I might have said no to another show from a different time, but Rip It Up felt just right. I am so excited because I know we are working with such amazing talent. The music is so inspiring that I am chomping at the bit for the tour to start now.

Book your tickets for Rip It Up on Thursday 7 September

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