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Erin and Anton waltz off our screens to take a spectacular whirl on stage

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 28, 2012

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Strictly Come Dancing has waltzed off our screens for another year but don't think that star professional Erin Boag has her feet up until autumn 2013.The demands of her tour with pro partner Anton du Beke are about to kick in.

Their Anton and Erin Go to Hollywood show whirls around the UK for three months from January 17. It goes just about everywhere but LA, taking in Plymouth Pavilions in February.

Then if 2012 is anything to go by, there will be a packed schedule of dance weekends, cabaret shows, TV appearances, corporate and charity work.

"People seem to think that you are doing nothing when you are not in Strictly," laughs Erin. "They also think that when your celebrity partner is eliminated, that's it."

Of course the show goes on whether or not the famous face is on board (seven weeks in the case of TV presenter Richard Arnold in the most recent series).

"Yes, you are not training with your celebrity seven days a week. But you are working on the professional dances and there is the work towards the Christmas show."

This year reunited Erin with former World Champion hurdler Colin Jackson (runner-up in Series 3).

"In fact Strictly takes up five months of my life, starting in August putting the professional numbers together," the 37-year-old says.

Don't take that as any sign Erin is tired of the business. She is as enthusiastic as ever about dance, which she took up at the age of three.

The Aucklander was New Zealand Ballroom and Latin 10 Dance Amateur Champion by 18. She moved to the UK in 1996, started dancing with Anton a year later and they went on to win international competitions, including titles in the UK, New Zealand and Canada. She is the only female professional to have taken part in all ten Strictly series.

Now, though, she can focus on the tour with Anton. The Hollywood-themed special features singer Lance Ellington, guest dancers, a 25-piece orchestra and some great songs from much-loved shows, among them Everything's Coming Up Roses (Gypsy), Ah Yes, I Remember It Well (Gigi), Almost Like Being in Love (Brigadoon) and That's Entertainment (That's Entertainment).

"And the frocks will be fantastic. The audiences will be almost close enough to touch them," says Erin as breathlessly excited as a Strictly dance celebrity.

Dance is so ingrained in her life that it was through Strictly that she met her husband-to-be, business consultant Peter O'Dowd: she was on a girls night out with fellow professional Camilla Dallerup; Anton was head bridesman at their wedding... Yes, bridesman.

"My mum said, 'you can't have a man!' but I said 'where in the rule book does it say that?'"

You wonder about the pressure on poor Peter doing the first dance at the wedding with his professional dancer wife.

"He was absolutely petrified, but terrific," she reveals.

"I did not teach him too early, only a week or two before. We started with a gentle waltz then the music scratched and jumped and everybody thought 'oh no!'.

"He stopped, ripped off his jacket, threw it to (ex-England rugby player) Austin Healey (a previous Strictly partner) and we went into a salsa with him wiggling his little bottom. He relaxed and enjoyed it and was terrific."

Anton and Erin Go to Hollywood is at Plymouth Pavilions on February 27. Box office: 0845 146 1460.

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