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Preview: Strictly Presents: Keeep Dancing at Stockton Globe

 A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Celebrity and Professional Dancer Line-Up Announced for New Official UK Tour Created by Strictly Come Dancing


Strictly Presents: Keeep Dancing.

Stockton Globe

Friday 1st July 2022


Strictly Come Dancing fans will be thrilled to learn the fabulous line-up of celebrities and dancers announced earlier this week for the UK tour of Strictly Presents: Keeep Dancing. The 35 date tour will make its way to Stockton Globe on Friday 1st July.

This spectacular new touring show will feature Strictly 2020 finalist and EastEnders star Maisie Smith, together with Strictly 2021 semi-finalist and CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson. They will be joined by the incredible Strictly professional dancers Neil Jones, Jowita Przystal and Nancy Xu. And, as an extra special treat for Strictly fans, live music will be performed by The Wanted’s Max George, who competed in the 2020 series of the smash hit BBC One show.

Maisie Smith says: “I’m very excited to continue my Strictly journey once more.  Especially as this show will be very different from the arena tour.  And to be giving audiences a unique glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at the Strictly TV show is a real treat.“ 

Rhys Stephenson says: “I have absolutely loved every moment of my Strictly experience so far, so I’m thrilled to be appearing in Strictly Presents. I can’t wait to dance again and give fans an insight into my dancing journey on the show.“

Max George says: “I can’t wait to tour with Strictly again, as I had such a blast on the arena tour. Although this time I’ll mainly be singing, I’m sure it won’t take too much to get me back on the dancefloor every night!  See you there.

Strictly Presents: Keeep Dancing will give audiences a chance to go behind the glitterball and into the wonderful sparkly world of Strictly - with the celebrities and professional dancers giving a unique insight into the TV show via stunning choreography and fascinating storytelling.

The celebrities who compete on the TV show are all very used to being in the limelight and come from many different worlds - acting, presenting, sport and singing - but nothing quite prepares them for entering the glittery Strictly bubble. Fans will hear some of their fascinating stories as they relive their amazing experiences on the TV show. 

In 2008, the first Strictly Live tour took place featuring professionals from the TV show and their celebrity partners. Two years later, the pro dancers also started touring the UK. Both tours have been taking place ever since – Covid excepted – filling arenas and theatres respectively.

This year, Strictly Presents: Keeeep Dancing adds another arm to the body of the phenomenon that is Strictly. What makes this one different is that it offers an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and the impact of being in the nation’s sitting rooms on a Saturday night has had on both the professional dancers and the celebrities involved.

Pro dancer Neil Jones says: “From the first phone call offering them a regular berth on the show, you’re taken through what it’s like for a professional dancer or a celebrity learning a new dance routine, perfecting it all week, performing it on a Saturday and so on.”

How was it for Neil? “For two years, I’d been working away from the cameras helping to choreograph various aspects of the show and then, in 2016, came the most nerve-wracking phone call of my life.

“I was thrown into a world of photo shoots and group numbers – I didn’t have a celeb partner in the early days – and then came the launch show. I’ll never forget it. 

It’s been a giddy ride since. Any low points? “In 2019, I tore a muscle in my leg during Halloween week. Because I exercise such a lot and like to think I’m really fit, it healed in about half the time predicted but it’s every dancer’s nightmare.”

In last year’s Strictly, he was partnered with actress Nina Wadia. They were eliminated the first week. Was he disappointed? ”For her, yes. She was quite talented and a quick learner but the nerves just got to her. I felt she could have gone further.”

Neil’s 40, the veteran among the professionals now that Anton Du Beke has become a full-time judge. “I still feel in really good shape,” he says. “The younger dancers struggle to keep up with me!”

Although young South African Cameron Lombard didn’t join Strictly until last year, he’s already now done the Live Tour. “It was incredible. We were performing every afternoon and evening in front of about 10,000 people. Daunting and thrilling at the same time.”

This latest tour is something unusual. “I’d describe it as a boutique experience – in other words, much more intimate. That suits the insight it gives into the Strictly bubble. It also means we can talk to the show’s fans more directly both through our dancing and our personal stories.”

In 2020, Polish-born Jowita Przystal, 27, won the Greatest Dancer Show on BBC1, one of the prizes being to perform on Strictly. She was then quickly signed up as a professional. The Live arena tour followed (“such great experience”) and now this latest UK tour.

“I’ll be dancing with the other professionals but also with celebrities like Rhys Stephenson and Maisie Smith, both of them amazing dancers. Truly, I still feel like I’m living in a fairy tale.”

CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, 28, got to the semi-finals of Strictly last year with his Chinese dancing partner Nancy Xu. “It was a particular thrill because we survived three dance-offs including for the jive.

“I’d been through all the frustration and fear and then, on the Saturday, I kicked in the wrong direction. It felt like I’d wasted a whole week of work.”

So, what’s a dance-off like? “The worst element is that you can’t help thinking people don’t like you. But it’s not that. People vote for couples to stay not leave. It’s positive love. 

“So it’s great when you’re told you can come back next week – until, that is, you turn to your left and see the other couple who’ve been voted off. Being on Strictly is a very bonding experience so it’s sad for everyone when you realise you’re not going to see two of the contestants again.”

He only has good things to say about Strictly. “Most of all, it’s nice to be recognised by someone who’s over 10. Now kids’ parents stop me, say how much they enjoyed watching me dance. And that feels good.”

Nancy Xu, 30, had been touring with Kevin Clifton when she was spotted by the Strictly producers and invited to join the show. She’s loved the experience with the exception of the dance-offs. 

“I was OK but I was conscious of keeping Rhys’s spirits up. You don’t get that happening on tour, though, because now it’s entertainment not competition.”

She went to dance classes on a Saturday but, that apart, Maisie Smith, 20, set her heart on being an actress. “As a dancer, I was always put at the back because I stuck out like a sore thumb.” Aged six, she joined the cast of EastEnders as Bianca and Ricky’s daughter, Tiffany Butcher, and appeared on the soap on and off until 2020. 

Life took another turn when she was invited on to Strictly in 2020 as a contestant partnered by professional Gorka Marquez. “It was terrifying. People thought I was a lot more confident than I felt but then, as an actress, I know how to put on a front.

“Saturday was the best night on Strictly – and the worst. Even today, if I hear the Strictly theme tune, my stomach does a somersault. And yet, it was the best thing I’ve ever done.

“I don’t think anyone watching would have spotted my mistakes but I’d point my toe or spin in the wrong way and then I’d be sure I’d be in the dance-off. I put a lot of pressure on myself, much too much, I now realise. But Gorka helped: he stopped me from falling over.”

Strictly has had quite an impact on Maisie’s career. “It’s opened so many doors. After this latest show, I’m touring the UK opposite Kevin Clifton in a new production of Strictly Ballroom. We start in September and don’t finish until next July.”   

The Strictly professional dancers have become a fixture in our living rooms on Saturday nights and we love to watch how competitive they are. But the competition in the professional dancing world from which they herald is even fiercer. The Strictly Pros - all of them champions - will give you a taste of their worlds.

Strictly Presents audiences will also find out how it really feels to be in the dreaded dance off; just how long it takes to create the incredible dance routines - from the first day of learning the choreography, right through to the TV show performance, and how the amazing 'theme weeks' are produced, as the celebrities and pros recreate some of their favourite moments from the movies, musicals and Halloween weeks.

Strictly Presents...Keeep Dancing will take you into the Strictly ballroom and beyond with incredible dances, group routines, songs and stories. The show will be directed and choreographed by former Strictly professional dancer Trent Whiddon and his wife and dance partner Gordana Grandosek.


Strictly Presents: Keeep Dancing at Stockton Globe

Friday 1st July 2022, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Tickets from £40.15 (subject to a transaction fee of £3.65)

Tickets available from ATG Tickets:

0844 8717615

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