Strictly Come Dancing star Gorka Marquez has given an insight at what the show's professional dancers get up to on tour as they hit the road ahead of the 2023 series. It was revealed last month that Gorka is among the pros returning to the ballroom when the BBC One dance contest returns this autumn.
Also confirmed to return are Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington, Nancy Xu, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley, Michelle Tsiakkas and Vita Coppola.
They'll all take to the floor once more with new celebrity partners. They will also promise viewers an abundance of spectacular routines.
But before the new series comes around, a number of the pros are touring the country, bringing the magic of Strictly to fans across the UK. Having kicked off earlier this month, audiences are able to enjoy an evening of world-class dance, stunning choreography and glamorous costumes, live and up close from ten of the talented Strictly professionals.
And they are Australian Open Champion and 2018 finalist Dianne; new Strictly dancer and 11-time Italian Latin American Champion and 2022 finalist Vito; Chinese National Dance Champion and 2022 finalist Carlos (who was also new to Strictly this year); Professional World Mambo Champion and 2020 Strictly finalist Karen; and undefeated four-time British National Champion Neil.
Six-time Italian Latin & Ballroom Champion Nikita; three-time Strictly finalist including 2022 Gorka; four-time Italian Dance Championship winner Luba; Polish Open Latin Champion and 2022 Strictly winner Jowita; and World Latin Dance Championships Under 21 finalist Nancy also make up the line-up.
Sharing what those coming to the show can expect, including those heading to one of three shows at Salford's The Lowry from May 9 to May 10, Gorka told the Manchester Evening News: "It's going to be, first of all, a great entertaining evening for anyone who loves dancing and music. Even if they're fans or not of Strictly, they are in for a treat and a great night out.
"The pros.... get to showcase our abilities, what we love to do and what we've doing for all these years. It's also bringing back some of the most memorable moments from group numbers or couples numbers [from Strictly]. You also get to know more [about] us.
"Especially having five new pros who have never done the pro tour so we get to showcase them a bit more and the audience gets to know them a lot more. And [it] gives the others like myself, who people know through the years because we've been here a long time, like Karen's been here 11 years, I've been here eight years, to celebrate dancing."
The 32-year-old added: "And for me, I see it like us thanking the audience for all their support and giving them the best show with dance, live music and just overall have a joyful night."
And Gorka also thinks the tour is a 'great opportunity' for the professional dancers. "We are all very grateful we get the opportunity to do what we love and share it with all the audience members," the Spanish-born star, who now lives in Greater Manchester with his fiance Gemma Atkinson and their daughter Mia, told us.
"The TV show is amazing but we don't get to interact with the audience because it's through the screen. Even if we have a live audience in the studio, not everyone can come to the studio to see us live so with the pro tour, we like to interact with them, we get to meet them at the stage door or outside the venues.
"It's a nice feeling for them to see us live and for us to put faces to all those fans that support us through the year. It's a great opportunity for us to share out love for dancing, maybe inspire people and I love when we do the show to see people smiling, crying, emotional... it's very rewarding for us as performers. We love to perform live and what a better chance to do it every night in front of thousands of people in a theatre."
And the group get on both on stage and off. "It's such a good bunch of people," Gorka said. "We have the new pros who have never done it [the tour] before and they have this new energy, excitement about travelling...we get to see the tour again through their eyes again for the first time and it's very exciting."
Giving insight into what they really get up to when travelling between the different cities and towns, Gorka, who is set to become a second-time dad this summer to a baby boy, revealed: "Last night, we were travelling back and we were playing music and they were doing karaoke. So it's good fun."
Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals UK Tour comes to The Lowry on May 9 and 10. More information, tour dates and tickets can be found here.
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