There has been a distinct sense of something missing in Anton Du Beke’s professional life recently, and the dance star would be the first to admit it.
Anton’s trusty dance sidekick, Erin Boag, was palpably absent from the most recent series of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and will not appear in their usual annual tour.
But, undeterred, Anton is carrying on and has big plans for the forthcoming tour he is due to start later this month at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate theatre (January 16 –17). Meanwhile, Erin is taking time out to have a baby (expected in the spring).
Anton said that Erin will be back on the dance scene.
He said: “Just try to keep her down, she is unstoppable!” But he added: “Strictly Come Dancing has been different without Erin. I prefer it with her, I do definitely prefer it, but it is always special.”
Anton’s new UK and Ireland tour, Ballroom To Broadway, will be far from a lonely experience as he will be joined by a host of guest stars, including West End actress, Summer Strallen, whose theatre credits include the dance show, Top Hat. It is hoped the tour will recreate a touch of magic from the golden age of musicals.
Anton said: “I do know her (Summer) and I trust her and she said yes; she is such a star so I’m so excited. It also allows me the opportunity to do what I have always wanted to do, to bring together Broadway and ballroom dancing, like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse did. One of the numbers in Dancing In The Dark is something I have always wanted to do. Summer is a massive West End star and I’m looking forward to working with her.
“Fred Astaire is the inspiration for my show. I come up with completely new things because what I do is different to what he did, but he was so brilliant though. I watch his stuff now and have to remind myself it was 1930 to 1940.”
The tour’s start date has given Anton just a few weeks to catch his breath from appearances in the latest Strictly season, in which he partnered James Bond movie star, Fiona Fullerton.
Anton said: “When one ends, the next one begins, so it is nothing too dramatic. I’m not good at overlapping, I like to finish one thing and start with the next.
“I need to get some singing lessons in and then start preparing for the next thing, I do singing in the show so need to work on my voice.
“We always begin in Northampton, it is a nice place and Derngate is a great theatre, it is great to be coming back. The great thing about Derngate is it is a nice size stage, you can dance properly, some can be a little small and they are tricky.”
Speaking about his ‘Strictly’ experience, he said: “I have been lucky as the girls I have danced with have been a lot of fun. Some can dance, some can’t; I work it out as they come. It is different with each one, it is no more difficult or easy, you have to work it out.
“I did really enjoy doing the American Smooth in Blackpool with Fiona, and we did a great Quickstep.
“It’s not about winning for me, it is about making sure they have a great time.”