The Strictly professionals are hitting the road on their own this year in a tour that will waltz its way to Wearside.
A spin-off from the hugely-successful Strictly Come Dancing series on BBC, it stars 10 of the show’s professional dancers.
Among them is Australian Open Champion and 2018 finalist Dianne Buswell who says theatre audiences can expect all the sparkle and more of the TV show.
“This is the first time it’s been just the professionals,” she explained.
“On the TV show there’s a lot of hype around the celebrities so it’s nice for the professionals to have a show of their own and to give something back to the TV viewers.
Dianne may be fresh from the Strictly Come Dancing Live arena tour, in which she danced with partner Joe Sugg, but she’ll be reunited with the professionals once more when their 35-date tour kicks off at Salford’s Lowry Theatre on May 3, before dancing its way around the country, culminating at Sunderland Empire on June 2.
She’ll be joined on the dancefloor by 2017 Strictly champion Katya Jones; 2017 semi-finalist AJ Pritchard; three-time Strictly finalist Giovanni Pernice; 2016 Strictly finalist Oti Mabuse; professional world Mambo Champion and former Strictly finalist Karen Clifton; two-time ballroom and Latin world champion Nadiya Bychkova; undefeated four-time British national champion Neil Jones; 2014 Strictly winner Pasha Kovalev and 2017 Strictly finalist Gorka Marquez.
Dianne says they’re looking forward to showing off their skills.
“Because we’re all professional dancers it also means there’s no limits to the dances and there’s lots of new choreography in there,” she explained.
“All of the professionals have a special moment in the show and it gives us a chance to show off a bit and show how we became Strictly dancers.
“We all bring something different to the show and it’s a chance to show our personalities.”
She said it’s also a chance to relax into the dances.
“Being on tour is exhausting, but you keep going because you love it so much and we’ve done it our whole lives,” she said.
“On tour it’s actually less pressure, especially on the celebrity tour, because it’s not a new dance each week so they can perfect their dances and grow more confident with it.
Dances performed on the Professionals tour will be ballroom and Latin routines in glitzy costumes reminiscent of the TV show.
“I love ballroom and I also love the fast dances,” explained Dianne.
“But there’s nothing like seeing them performed live, you can see the sweat on the dancers, you feel how real it is, it’s a real experience.”
Dianne rose to prominence with appearances in her native Australia on So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Burn the Floor and Dancing with the Stars, before joining the UK’s Strictly Come Dancing cast in 2017.
She said: “In Australia the show has pretty much the same concept, but over here people live and breathe it.
“I didn’t realise how massive it is until I came here and feel lucky to be asked to do it.”
•Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals UK Tour is at Sunderland Empire on June 2 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are available from Tel. 0844 871 3022 or at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland
•To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to the Sunderland leg of the tour cut out the token in today’s paper and return it, along with your name and full contact details, to Strictly Competition, Katy Wheeler, JPI Media, 2nd Floor, Alexander House, 1 Mandarin Road, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton DH4 5RA. Closing date: March 18.