First rehearsal is strictly for laughs
THEIR first dance of the series is currently a closely guarded secret, but actress Fiona Fullerton and her Strictly Come Dancing partner Anton Du Beke, are clocking up the rehearsals hours perfecting it.
The pair have set up camp in the town and are splitting their time between Wanborough and Swindon Dance, in Regent Circus.
And, despite the gruelling sessions, both still had smiles on their faces yesterday morning.
“We’re loving it and having a lot of fun” said the former Bond Girl, who lives in Fairford.
“There’s quite a bit of treading on toes going on, and lots of clumsiness but I think I’m improving.”
Anton said: “We’re trying to get as much fun in as possible during the early weeks before it all starts getting serious and I make her work even harder.”
The national press has made a lot out of the fact Fiona has some ballet training, but she was quick to dismiss this as an advantage and the pair said it had actually caused problems.
“I’ve refused to read anything in the papers, but my husband Neil said they were making out I had a strong background in ballet,” she said.
“I don’t know where they’ve got that from, the last time I did ballet was when I was 12 back in 1969.
“Anton will tell you the little bit of ballet training I do have has caused problems when I’ve been learning ballroom steps as you need pigeon toes, pointing straight forward, for it, whereas I naturally point my feet out because of ballet.”
A chuckling Anton agreed. “She is like a tippy-toed duck. She must have been the most wonderful ballerina when she was 12.”
Fans of the show will know that Anton isn’t always blessed with the most graceful of partners, but this year he looks as though he has finally found his match.
“I’ve always taught a variation of the routine I would like to do, but on the day I end up following a variation of it as danced by my celebrity partner,” said Anton, whose professional partner is Erin Boag. “I don’t mind, but if I’m being honest I do prefer my own routine.”
However, he has confidence in his new partner.
“If Fiona dances as well on show night as she has been in the studio then I will be very pleased. She will be brilliant.
“I sent a video of the dance to Erin and she was very impressed.
“She said ‘it actually looks like you’re dancing’– and she was talking about me.”
The dancer, who has been a firm fixture of the show since it started, said while he has had more than his fair share of comedy pairings, he has loved everyone one of them.
“Each year we have a great time and that is the key,” he said.
“I am just stunned that Fiona and the other celebrities are able to do what they do in the amount of time they are given to learn it.
“To dance well is so difficult. It is a skill that is developed over time, it’s not something you can learn one day and do the next.
“But each year they get to such a high standard and I am just overwhelmed.”
The couple are currently practising two dances – one ballroom and one Latin – but wouldn’t reveal which one would be their opening number.
The first show of the series is split over two nights, September 27 and 28, and they are waiting to hear from producers on which night they will perform.
All of the couples will dance again the following week and then the voting will begin.
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