FAME may have come late in life for Louie Spence, but a glittering and varied career, dancing with star names such as Tina Turner, did not.
After a long career in show businesses, his next job takes him to Milton Keynes Theatre to play Dandini in Cinderella. And he let us in on some of his professional high points.
“Fame was really unexpected,” says Louie, the dance expert who soared to fame in the Sky1 docusoap, Pineapple Dance Studios, and is currently a judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice.
“But I think because it happened at a late age – I was 40 when Pineapple came out – it came when I had always been in this industry. It was not like they had done a documentary on a bakery and I was a baker that was suddenly chucked into show businesses.
“It was a bit strange, now that I was the focus, but it was not totally alien. I had seen this before and being a bit older, took it partly with a pinch of salt, because you know it comes and it goes. You roll with the good times but know that nothing lasts forever.
“To this day that’s how I look at it. I have a great time, I get to wear pink tights and a pink sparkly outfit in panto, what more could I ask for?”
Before becoming a household name, which seems as much down to his effervescent personality as his dancing prowess, Louie worked as a backing dancer for some of the biggest names in the industry.
“People like Tina Turner – she was fabulous, Whitney Houston – amazing,” says Louie. “You know these are people who you never think you are going to work with, and then all of a sudden you are dancing behind them.
“But I suppose the best job I ever did was for the Spice Girls when we went on the world tour, because no other group had broken America since The Beatles.
“I was a Spice Boy. To be one of the five dancers who was chosen to go around the world with them, that was incredible because English acts just don’t get to travel and do North America and the whole of Europe.
“I also ended up very close friends with Emma, who is an absolute diamond. Sometimes I see David and Victoria when they are over. I have seen a bit of Mel C lately. I went to their launch of Viva Forever.”
And dancing is something that has always been part of Louie: “I gave up dancing professionally years ago but I would never not dance, it is part of who I am.
“I had always been very active, like doing acrobatics and gymnastics and dancing around. My mum wanted to get rid of us all on a Saturday morning so she could go shopping and have some time on her hands, so I got sent dancing with my sisters. It’s just that I never stopped... you know, I just couldn’t get the lycra tights off.”
But which does he like better Strictly or Dancing on Ice? “I love them both. Obviously being part of Dancing on Ice, I have a stronger feeling towards that because I know the ins and outs. But as a viewer of Strictly Come Dancing, I know that too and I love it. Anything to do with dance I am supportive of.”
Louie will be strutting his stuff in Cinderella from tomorrow until Sunday, January 6. For tickets visit www.atgtickets.com. For a video of the interview visit www.northamptonchron. co.uk or www.northantstelegraph.co.uk