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Strictly Come Dancing - The Professionals (Southampton and tour)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Love or loathe the recent swathe of “celebrity” reality shows, Strictly Come Dancing has to be admired for it’s enormous contribution to reviving the popularity of ballroom dancing in this country. It would have been inconceivable just a dozen years ago that you could mount a nationwide tour – and fill theatres – with a show totally dedicated to the art of ballroom dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing – The Professionals, sambaed into Southampton yesterday, and plays at the Mayflower this week, as part of a UK tour which also sees it come to Plymouth and Bristol before ending its run at the BIC Bournemouth later in the summer.

Set free from the encumbrances of having to haul lead-footed celebrities around the dance floor, this show, for the first time, allows ten of the professional dancers from the hugely successful BBC1 television series, to show the full range of their talents, and perform breathtaking routines that would just not be possible with less able dancers. They certainly took full advantage of their new found freedom and presented some world class routines.

Many of the television show’s top professionals are here performing with their dance partners – some of whom have been dancing together for many years:- Ola and James Jordan, Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite, Kristina Rihanoff and Brian Fortuna, series new-comer Aliona Vilani and former world champion Matthew Cutler, and the irrepressible Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone.

Without the normal judging panel, you are thankfully left to make up your own mind about the performances and there are some startling individual and ensemble routines. Not least, Flavia and Vincent’s electric argentine tango, Aliona and Matthew’s Jive, and the ensemble waltz.

With all the sequins, glitz and glamour from the TV show, together with lightening fast costume changes, high energy routines and a live band in support, this show has everything the devoted Strictly fan could wish for. Inter-spliced between routines, you even get film footage of Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel-Hallwood to help whip up a sense of anticipation and wonder at the technical brilliance of the artistes.

More though, this is a celebration of the art of ballroom dancing, and presents a fantastic opportunity for fans to marvel in the precision, grace and energy of some of this countries finest dancers.

Mayflower Southampton until 5 June, Plymouth Pavilions 7 -12 June, Bristol Hippodrome 28 June – 3 July and BIC Bournemouth 14 – 17 July


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