Seven weeks after giving birth to her first child, ballroom queen Erin Boag was back on the dance floor with her long-term dance partner, Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke.
“I had to have a Caesarean. Our baby boy, Ewan, is now six months old,” Erin tells me, prior to coming to Northampton’s Derngate next month for her new That’s Entertainment UK tour with Strictly star Anton. “Seven weeks after his birth I was back dancing, though I didn’t tell my doctors in case they thought it was maybe a bit insane!
“I wanted to get back into shape and thought seven weeks was long enough and that I’d given my body a bit of a break.”
New Zealand-born Erin had hoped to have a natural childbirth but found out a few days before her due date that she’d have to have a Caesarean.
“When I went back dancing I said to Anton ‘let’s see how it goes’ and if I could manage because I had had stitches, but it was fine, though probably a little too soon. We changed some dances accordingly and I had a show booked for the week after I started back. The dresses were a bit of a squeeze but it went OK.”
Professional Latin and Ballroom dancer Erin was a regular on the BBC’s hugely popular Strictly Come Dancing series for years, but decided to quit the show because she wanted to have a baby.
“Last year I’d been thinking of starting a family for a while and knew I wouldn’t be able to retire halfway through a series of Strictly,” she recalls.
“I wasn’t pregnant when I told them I wasn’t going to be available but I think they had a bit of an idea why I wasn’t coming back and I just said it was for personal reasons. Luckily enough I got pregnant pretty quickly.”
She suffered from morning sickness for the first half of her pregnancy though and watched last year’s Strictly Come Dancing feeling very ill.
“It went on for 20 weeks; it was horrendous,” she says. “I watched Strictly from my sofa and even watching them spin made me feel sick so it was a good job I’d pulled out of the show. Luckily I was OK after that and by the time I was 22 weeks pregnant I did our Christmas show at the Royal Albert Hall.”
Erin’s fitness levels are naturally higher than most people’s because of the job she does and she says she was at the gym two days before Ewan was born.
“Though I couldn’t run up the stairs I did keep fit in my pregnancy with swimming and the gym,” she admits. “My bump was quite neat with it being my first one, but at 39 weeks I found out that complications of too much water around the baby meant I couldn’t have the natural birth I wanted as he would have got stuck. There was no option and I was told to bring my things into the hospital. I asked if I could go home first to get my head around it and everything went very well.“
Erin is loving being a mother and says it is a role she was fairly prepared for as her first job, when she came to England 19 years ago, was as a nanny for two babies.
“I feel like having one is a piece of cake and am loving every single minute. It’s even more special now with my own baby. And both the babies I looked after 19 years ago now babysit for me!”
Erin breastfed for two months but then stopped because she was back at work.
“It was a bit difficult doing shows while trying to feed so now he is on formula. There are restless nights and he usually wakes up once in the night, but I know that’s not going to last for long. I don’t mind at all though; it’s such a joy having a baby.”
Erin has been combining rehearsals for the new tour, that’s entertainment, with motherhood while Anton has been juggling it with dancing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing with his partner, Judy Murray.
“This time I’ve got a bit more time to prepare for the show and we’ve got three Christmas shows, called Anton and Erin’s Christmas Cracker, at the Royal Albert Hall on December 21 and 22, which is always really lovely.”
That’s Entertainment features sassy tunes, sparkling costumes and the choreography showcases the talents of the king and queen of the ballroom. Anton and Erin combine the elegance of their quickstep, foxtrot, tango and waltz with the showbiz razzmatazz of hits and steps from stage and screen including Steppin’ Out With My Baby, True Love, Make ‘em Laugh, There’s No Business Like Show Business and That’s Entertainment. They will be joined on stage by star vocalist Lance Ellington, six world-class ensemble dancers and the 25-piece London Concert Orchestra, conducted by Richard Balcombe.
“It’s going to be a really special show and the costumes are wonderful. I think there’s more sequins than ever this year on them.”
She’s nervous that she will be singing as well as dancing in some numbers this year.
“I can hold a note, but I’m nervous about singing.”
Northampton is the first place Anton and Erin will be performing their new show and Erin says she is really looking forward to returning to the town.
“I love going to Northampton and love performing at Derngate; it’s got a warm feeling about it.”
That’s Entertainment is at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, on Thursday, January 22 and Friday, January 23. Tickets from the box office on www.royalandderngate,co,uk; 01604 624811