Even after nine series, Strictly Come Dancing remains high on my list of favourite TV shows.
One of the many great things about SCD is that all of the dances are performed to live music. Now, Dave Arch (he of the sparkly tie) and his merry band of singers and musicians have been released from the confines of a BBC studio and sent out on a tour of venues across the nation. Accompanying them on their journey are professional dancers Artem Chigvintsev, Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor plus series 8 winner Kara Tointon.
We caught the Dance To The Music tour when it hit the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall last night. In the words of SCD judge Craig Revel Horwood, the show was “a-maz-ing”.
The dancers The three pro dancers are all relatively new additions to SCD. Kristina joined in 2008 (series 6), when she danced with journalist John Sergeant, a pairing that gave the world the iconic ‘sack of potatoes’ move during the paso doble. Robin signed up in 2010 for series 8; he’s had two fairly decent partners in Patsy Kensit and Anita Dobson but is still to progress beyond week 9. Artem also joined SCD in 2010 and was paired with ex-Eastenders actress Kara. Despite being a newbie, the Russian went on to win both the Glitterball and the girl. I didn’t vote for Kara in 2010 – mainly because I’d backed TV presenter Matt Baker – but she was a worthy winner and certainly held her own in the company of the pro dancers last night. Several SCD dances were recreated for the tour, notably the contemporary take on Swan Lake, the Cell Block Tango from musical Chicago and a Viennese waltz to Sam Brown classic Stop! (all danced by Kara and Artem).
The singers The SCD house band has four extremely talented singers: Lance Ellington (swoon!), Tommy Blaize, Andrea Grant and Tori Beaumont. Just like the live TV show, they tackled a wide range of styles, from rock to jazz to soul to disco. Everyone had a chance to shine with solos, duets, group numbers and even a little bit of dancing. The programme was stuffed full of fantastic songs but Boogie Wonderland (ensemble), Licence to Kill (Andrea), Mr Bojangles (Lance), Jar of Hearts (Tori), She’s Not There (Tommy), Crazy in Love (Andrea and Lance) and Gimme Some Lovin’ (Lance and Tommy) were all stand-out performances for me. The SCD house band song Let’s Dance Tonight was also showcased.
The musicians Other than Dave Arch, who gets a name-check from Brucie every Saturday night, the rest of the band are shadowy figures, lurking in the background of the SCD set and rarely glimpsed by the viewing public. What a treat, then, to see them step out into the limelight. Bass player Trevor Barry got the Scottish crowd on side by coming on stage in a kilt (worn with his trademark hat). A quick burst of the SCD theme tune set the mood, then the band played on at full throttle for the rest of the evening. My hands were seriously sore from clapping along by the time they were done.
Highlights of the evening Kristina and Robin dancing a contemporary rumba as Tori sang Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts. Their American smooth interpretation of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (also sung by Tori) and Tommy’s mellowed-out, slowed-down version of My Girl were both spine-tingling. The guy who came up on stage with Kristina for the audience participation section was an absolute star. I didn’t catch his name but then I doubt Artem did either…
The Dance To The Music tour rolls on until early July. Catch it if you can – I guarantee you’ll be dancing in the aisles by the end of the night.