Two former Strictly Come Dancing stars will be on the judging panel of Strictly Northampton 2021, it has been revealed this week.
On November 12, Robin Windsor and Flavia Cacace will be bringing their Strictly sparkle to the charity dance show at the Royal and Derngate theatre in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Robin and Flavia will be joined by professional dancer and choreographer Michael Gonzalez and Strictly Northampton’s co-director Jo Mialkowski.
Dance director of Step by Step dance school, Andrzej Mialkowski said: “For this extra special 10th anniversary of Strictly Northampton, we thought it would be fantastic to have a judging panel that is packed with dance expertise.”
Here’s what the new judges had to say about their time on the BBC show.
Best known for: Being a professional dancer on BBC Strictly Come Dancing for four years. Celebrity partners included Patsy Kensit, Anita Dobson and Deborah Meadon.
Favourite celebrity contestant on Strictly Come Dancing: “That’s like asking if I had kids, who is my favourite.
“All my celebrity partners were my favourites for different reasons – some of them I’m still firm friends with today – in fact I went out for dinner with Deborah Meadon last week.”
Favourite dance style: Jive
Stand-out dance moment in career: “My cha-cha-cha with Lisa Riley. That was the moment that every girl who wasn’t super-skinny felt it was OK to get up and dance.”
Insider Strictly titbit: “I fell slightly in love with all my Strictly partners and they with me.
“There is something that happens when you make someone feel incredible by leading them around a dance floor - it takes them to this incredible place and you’re doing that so of course you are going to slightly fall in love with the person and they with you.
“There is that fire and build up – you’re making that person feel incredible – sometimes that spills over into full-blown romances. That’s why I think romances happen so often on BBC Strictly Come Dancing.”
How would you describe yourself as a judge? “Gushy! I gush over everybody – everyone looks fabulous!”
What tip will you give contestants before the Strictly Northampton show? “Performance is everything. You can practise and practise but I want to see big smiles on everybody’s face.”
What have you been doing recently? "For the last six weeks I’ve been teaching in primary schools around the country, which has been such an amazing experience and one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done.
“We put the children into groups and run a Strictly-style competition. It’s been so rewarding seeing the students – some of whom have had behavioural problems – excel given a creative outlet. Some of the teachers have been tearing up at the transformation.
“In January I performed in the first show back at the London Paladium theatre after the pandemic alongside Aljaz Skorjanec and Pasha Kovalev in the West End show, Here Come the Boys which was fantastic.”
Best known for: Being a professional dancer on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing for eight years. She won the show in 2012 with gymnast Louis Smith scoring perfect 10s for their showdance – a fusion between gymnastics and Argentine Tango.
Favourite celebrity contestant: Russell Grant
“With Russell it was about him having fun. He was so enthusiastic and I had such a great time dancing with him – it meant so much to him. He lost eight stones before the show and another two stones during the show. He was so happy being there – a real joy to work with.”
Standout dance moment in career: “There are so many. I did Strictly Come Dancing for eight years and toured for eight years after. It’s hard to pick out just one – but a memorable moment was when I danced the jive with Russell Grant at Wembley when he was fired out of a cannon.”
Favourite dance style: “Argentine Tango is my favourite but I’m currently enjoying teaching in all dance styles. I’ve always been very versatile in latin and ballroom - I just really need a great piece of music.”
Insider Strictly titbit: "We could tell a lot about how people would dance from the way they walked and even stood.
“We could tell who had the potential to be good and who would need more work. There’d be moments when you’d hope to get someone as they might have potential.
“However, personality and enthusiasm counted for a lot as well. As professional dancers we wanted to enjoy the experience and for our partners to enjoy it as well. Enthusiasm is the biggest thing - if they were excited to be on the show.”
How would you describe yourself as a judge on Strictly Northampton: “Fair. I won’t be overly lenient but I’ll always be positive and constructive.”
What tips would you give to the contestants? “Try not to impress the judges and just try and have a good time. When you are having a good time, people will see it and have a good time too.”
What have you been doing post-Strictly? “I toured for eight years with various theatre productions around the UK. I stopped touring in 2018 and did a diploma in personal training and nutrition and moved to a small holding in South Devon.
“My husband and I had a lifestyle change – I’m still doing lots of teaching but I’ve started organising holiday dance breaks where people can come and take dance lessons, see the animals and be surrounded by nature.
“I’m also enjoying doing a regular slot on BBC Breakfast news on a Sunday and have been appearing on BBC2 – Strictly - It Takes Two commenting on the current series which has been fantastic.”
Everything you need to know about Strictly Northampton 2021
The 10th anniversary charity dance show will be taking place in just under two weeks on the Derngate stage on November 12.
For the last six weeks, 32 contestants and their dance partners from Step by Step dance school have been learning routines in cha-cha-cha, jive tango, American Smooth Waltz and a themed group freestyle.
Some have never danced a step before in their life.
All of them will be showcasing their new-found dance steps in a spectacular show at the Derngate theatre.
Singer ‘That Joe Payne’ will be opening the show singing a well-known Queen number.
The couples will each perform two dances in either jive and American Smooth Waltz, or Cha-cha-cha and Tango, followed by a fun group freestyle dance.
Eight couples will be picked to go through to a grand final, from whom only one couple will be crowned the winner of Strictly Northampton based on judges’ votes and text votes from the audience.
All proceeds to the show will be in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice.
Contestants have also been hard at work organising fundraising events, from silent discos, to abseiling down the Northampton tower to pub quizzes and karaokes, in a bid to reach a fundraising target of 40,000 pounds.
To book a ticket visit the Royal & Derngate website.