The stars of this year’s Strictly Northampton have taken their first steps on the road towards performing in front of 1,200 people in seven weeks’ time.
Contestants met at Step By Step Dance School in Northampton for the first rehearsal...and quickly realised the task that lay ahead of them.
International dancer Andrzej Mialkowski led the session, teaching them the American Smooth Waltz and a selection of Latin routines.
Northampton Borough Councillor and businessman, Tony Ansell, said he was delighted to learn he was being paired with dancer Doris Schierer. This is the fourth Strictly Northampton for Doris and she has previously partnered politicians Brian Binley, Brendan Glynane and David Mackintosh.
“It was like winning the lottery, I was so pleased that I got the partner I wanted,” Tony said.
“The rehearsal went very well, they seem a great bunch of people. In my head I’m the youngest one there but factually I am the oldest, so I came down to earth a bit.
“I’ve met up with Doris this week and we’ve come up with an action plan for training.”
Kieran O’Connor, a former player at Old Northamptonians Rugby Club, said he enjoyed the first session.
“It was really good, I found the slower dances much more difficult than the quicker ones. I felt like a piece of Playmobil with only two moving parts.”
Kieran has been paired up with dancer Laura Catchpole, who has performed in numerous Strictly events.
“Laura’s great and I heard that she was in the final last year so hopefully she will be able to drag me through,” Kieran added.
Former paratrooper and personal fitness trainer, Lee Andrew, admitted he was well out of his comfort zone.
“The hardest thing was losing your inhibitions. I’m used to a testosterone-fueled environment, so this was very different.”
Lee has been paired with dancer, Lesley Farmer.
“Lesley seems very nice. We talked about our freestyle routine and she asked if I was up for a laugh, which I said I was. I had to put my foot down though when she suggested a penguin suit.”
Strictly Northampton, sponsored by Fong Spa, is at Royal & Derngate on Saturday November 23.
The show, in association with the University of Northampton, is produced by Step By Step Dance School.
Contestants have seven weeks to learn the American Smooth Waltz, a Latin routine and put together a freestyle routine.
On the night, the winner will be chosen by a combination of judges’ scores and public votes.
All the profits from the night will go to Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Tickets are available from www.royalandderngate.co.uk or by calling the box office on 01604 624811.