Dance partners couple up with just five weeks until this year's Strictly Northampton

The official pairings for this year's Strictly Northampton have been chosen.
The official pairings for this year's Strictly Northampton have been chosen.

Contestants have been paired up with their dance partners for this year's annual Strictly Northampton.

The atmosphere in the dance studio in Henry Street was electric as the hopefuls coupled up with their dance partners to the soundtrack of Rocky’s Eye of the Tiger.

The 24 couples have been split into six dance groups for the competition this year.

The 24 couples have been split into six dance groups for the competition this year.

The 24 newly-formed couples will compete in the ninth annual Strictly Northampton to raise money for Cynthia Spencer Hospital, and will feature a Christmas Pantomime theme this year.

Dance director Andrzej Mialkowski said: “The Christmas pantomime theme was featured on Strictly Come Dancing two years ago and there were some amazing dances then and we are expecting some very entertaining group dances from our performers this year.”

Strictly Northampton will also feature former Strictly Come Dancing professional Robin Windsor on the panel of judges.

Each couple will perform an American Smooth Waltz, a Jive and take part in a group freestyle dance.

Dancer Ben Abel will be strutting his stuff with Relationship Manager Sara-Jane Harris. He said: “I reckon we have a chance of getting to the final. We are going to dance, dance, dance and put on a great show. We already have some ideas for our panto-themed freestyle. There is going to be a tin man, a scarecrow, a lion and four Dorothys.”

Beauty therapist Rebecca Williams was delighted to be coupled up with veteran dancer Ryan Lloyd and has a very personal reason for taking part this year.

She said: “A friend of mine passed away in Cynthia Hospice to cancer which was a personal tragedy. But I saw first hand what an amazing job the hospice does for everyone and how they go that extra mile to help people.”

The excited couples have five more weeks of rehearsals to prepare for their starry night - but each contestant is also tasked with raising £1000.

So far they have raised £7,772 towards the ambitious fund-raising target of £40,000. All proceeds will go to the Cynthia Spencer Hospice.