They are Britain’s best-loved dance duo, famous for their mastery of the most intense and passionate dance ever – the Argentine tango.
Now Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are touring theatres for the very last time with The Last Tango, the final part of their trilogy and their farewell UK tour.
But before rehearsals get in full swing, Vincent waltzed down the aisle with his new bride, as he has recently married Susan Duddy.
The 34-year-old admits his wife – who doesn’t dance – was feeling huge pressure for the all-important first dance.
“I wanted to go solo really,” he jokes (at least, I think he’s joking).
“But no, I really do feel for her. The pressure of dancing not only with me, who has been on Strictly, but in front of everyone. She wants to keep her dress looking good though, so, if we do have a first dance, I will keep it simple. We won’t be going crazy with any big lifts or anything.”
The couple have two sons, Luca, five-and-a-half, and Mateo, two months, who Vincent says will be page boys.
“They have little jobs to do like walking down the aisle with the rings, so they are going to be quite busy boys. To be honest, the little one is too small and is not going to have a clue what’s going on, but I think Luca will.”
At the moment Vincent says he doesn’t see as much as he’d like of his young family and Flavia, too, admits she wants to spend more time at home with her husband, Coronation Street star Jimi Mistry, who was a former Strictly celebrity partner of hers.
“Luca is my biggest fan, and apparently the minute I go back to London from Ireland on Monday morning, the DVD of our last tour goes on and he watches me dancing.
“I feel for them because I am not home often.”
Living on the road for the past seven years on tour has taken its toll, say the popular dancing duo, who first met when they were in their teens.
“It is very hard work on the body and on the mind,” says Flavia, 35.
“Doing eight shows a week, living out of a suitcase can take its toll. And even though we had covers on our last show, Dance ‘Til Dawn, we never ever wanted to do that, because we know people have paid to come and see us.”
The Last Tango will open in theatres this September and run until July 2016. So why quit then?
“When we first did Midnight Tango we always knew we wanted to create a trilogy of shows and Last Tango is the third and final one,” explains Flavia.
But it is only ciao for now, not farewell for good, as the likeable, lightfooted duo aren’t hanging up their danceshoes, admitting that is something they could never consider.
“Although this is our last stage show, it won’t be the last time you’ll see us dancing together as we won’t be giving up,” adds Flavia. “We could never do that. We have to keep dancing.
“We always say we are tired and then have a week’s holiday and we really miss dancing and can’t wait to get back to it.
“Stopping the tours gives us the freedom to try different things and we like new challenges. We are looking at various new projects.
“Theatre was a completely new thing for us to get into as we’d never acted before and never thought we’d be doing a theatrical production, yet this trilogy has been one of the most satisfying things we’ve ever done. We wanted each show to be very different from one another and The Last Tango will be more intense and more personal; more a record of our favourite dances and music, more Argentine tango than we had in Dance ‘Til Dawn, our second in the trilogy.
“Rehearsals have just started we did our first yesterday and we are thinking there maybe some different styles of dance in it that we haven’t tried before. We can’t say what they will be though as we want to keep it as a surprise for the audience . . . and it depends how well we can master them!
“There will be a little more Argentine tango than we had in Midnight Tango and Dance ‘Til Dawn. We love tango most of all, especially the Argentine tango. And even though it is hard work, it is lovely doing the shows.
“This is the creative period,” she adds. “It is daunting creating a show from scratch but we usually start with our music choices, lots of which are our favourite pieces, and then work out choreography. We rehearse from 10am to 6pm, some days from 10am to 8pm. It is gruelling.”
“Bella, do you want to ask me any questions?” Vincent Simone interjects at this point to me. “I mean, it is lovely to hear Flavia talking to you like this, but I am happy to talk as well.”
This is the charming Vincent who sweet talks his partners on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, a show which catapulted him and Flavia to fame and won them fans of all ages. They’ve been dancing together for 20 years after Vincent came to the UK from his native Italy and chose to dance with Flavia, who was also born in Italy and had moved to England as a little girl. Their diminuitive partnership was dynamic and the duo went on to win national competitions, then ultimately became world Argentine tango champions.
By then a couple in real life, Vincent and Flavia appeared in Strictly in 2005 but then split up when Flavia dumped him for her celebrity partner, Matt di Angelo. Both since admitting that was a tough period for them both, they rekindled their friendship and dance partnership and became firm favourites for the millions of Strictly viewers.
Vincent reached he semifinals with Louisa Lytton in 2006 and Flavia lifted the coveted glitter ball trophy with former Olympic silver medal gymnast Louis Smith in 2012. They then left the show in 2013 to pursue their new dancing direction.
“Strictly opened up the door for us to go on to do all these other things,” says Flavia. “We are always in conversation with them and, depending on what we are doing, like to go back to perform on the show when we can. It’s definitely thanks to Strictly that we are able to do what we are doing now, but it was the right time for us to leave.”
And a show which often hits the headlines for romances between dance partnerships, also saw Flavia, 35, marrying her celebrity Strictly partner, Coronation Street star Jimi Mistry, in December 2013, after the pair met on the show in 2010 and fell in love.
“Jimi and I fell in love during and after Strictly; it’s all a blur,” says Flavia. “Married life is great, really good. It’s good to have stability and helps when you have crazy work schedules that he’s in the same kind of business so understands.”
So does Jimi still dance after his Strictly foray?
“Only when he’s had a couple of glasses of wine,” she says.
“In his dreams,” jokes Vincent.
The Last Tango will open in theatres this September and run until July 2016.
The tour comes to the Royal and Derngate in Northampton from Monday March 21 to Saturday March 26.
For further details or to book tickets for the show, call the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.
The show can be seen earlier at Milton Keynes Theatre from November 23-28. For tickets at this venue, call 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.
For more information about tour dates for The Last Tango, visit www.vincentandflavia.com