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Strictly Come Dancing's Anton Du Beke on what to expect ahead of Belfast show with Erin Boag

By Simon Fallaha

The Strictly Come Dancing star will be stepping out with dance partner Erin Boag at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall this Sunday for their brand new show That’s Entertainment.

Q: If you hadn’t been a dancer, what might you have been?

A: Probably not very much! I was one of those people who just flitted about in life. I had no plans and no sense of direction. But I always knew that I was very keen on sport, particularly boxing, although when I was growing up, sport wasn’t seen as a very viable career, whereas now it clearly is.

Everything changed during one long and boring summer in my teenage years when I went to meet my sister at her dance class. However, I stumbled into a room full of girls and it wasn’t long before I was sucked in. I loved ballroom dancing instantly; I really took to its competitive, technical and creative elements.

Q: You have a multi-cultural upbringing in that you were born to a Hungarian father and a Spanish mother. In what way has that inspired you?

A: Because we had no other relatives living in the UK, me, my parents and my siblings continuously journeyed abroad to bond with our extended family. I gained encouragement from our closeness as a unit, and also the strong work ethic and independence shown by my mother and father— they were working two jobs each to support us.

Q: Do you think the public vote on Strictly depends as much, if not more, on the professional dancers than the celebrity, now that the dancers are celebrities in their own right?

A: Well, a number of them have become very famous indeed. Myself and Brendan Cole have been with the show since its inception, and Ola Jordan joined not long after. But yes, fans are now just as interested in who is paired with whom as in which celebrities are in the show.

To me, Strictly is also a game of two halves. The first half of the contest is about getting to dance in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, and then after that, people are focused on winning.

Q: Who would your dream partner be and why?

A: Now, I couldn’t really tell you that — I’ve had a great time with all the partners I’ve been with. They haven’t necessarily been the best dancers, but they have always been terrific or interesting personalities.

We didn’t know anything about Judy Murray until we met her, but once we got to know her, we found she was an absolute scream.

The tango we did was hilarious, and the American Smooth, where the Dalmatians wouldn’t come onto the dance floor, was great fun too.

Q: What can the audience expect from your Belfast show?

A: It will be a variety show, an ensemble piece with music, song, dance, a huge orchestra and a wonderful singer in Lance Ellington, who regularly performs on Strictly. Erin and I will also take part in an improvised Q&A afterwards; the results tend to be highly amusing.

Q: And finally, will there be wedding bells for yourself and your partner Hannah anytime soon?

A: I’m not engaged — yet! Though if I do find myself walking up the aisle and dancing at my own wedding reception, I want the first dance to be both spontaneous and dramatic. Not to mention as perfect as possible on the day ...

  • Anton and Erin are at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, this Sunday, 3pm. For details, visit www.waterfront.co.uk

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