As Strictly heads to Blackpool on Saturday, Nov 20, celebrity dancers Matt Baker, Kara Tointon and Scott Maslen talk about dancing at the world renowned Tower ballroom…
Why will Blackpool be such a special night for you?
Kara: “I have always been a massive fan of Strictly and when I started this series my goal was to get to Blackpool. The professionals love dancing there – it’s the pinnacle. I’m very excited!”
Matt: “It’s a huge milestone. I can’t wait to experience what it feels like to walk out onto that dance floor. It’s different because we usually perform on quite a solid mobile floor, but Blackpool has a proper ballroom.”
Scott: “It’s the Mecca of the dancing world! I’m really looking forward to it!”
Will you be even more nervous than normal?
Kara: “Yes. It’s triple the size of the studio, so we’ve got to use the space! We’ll be dancing the American Smooth so that means prancing round for dear life and leaping! My partner, Artem has got a few tricks up his sleeve – I might do some acrobatics on the springy floor, you never know! Plus, my nan is coming to watch. She has been waiting to go to Blackpool for weeks. If I hadn’t made it this far I would have had to take her anyway because she’s just so excited!”
How are your families coping with the pressure?
Scott: “I’ve got a queue of family members waiting for tickets. They’re really proud, but I think my missus is getting a bit sick of it because all she hears about from her mates is me!”
Matt: “My wife always brings homemade cupcakes for the crew! It’s hard because I don’t get to spend an enormous amount of time with her at the moment, but she loves seeing me dance.”
And is the training schedule still as punishing?
Scott: “I’m working two jobs so it’s pretty full on. Learning to dance is brilliant, but it’s just unbelievably consuming. I was training till midnight last night – it completely takes over your life.”
Kara: “I am more tired than I’ve ever been. I’m quite lazy – I usually need my Saturday and Sundays as days of rest, but that’s gone out of the window!”
Are you planning to do anything special when you go to Blackpool?
Kara: “It will be lovely to go sightseeing, get some fish and chips and see a bit of Blackpool on Sunday.’
Matt: “I once stayed in a caravan there when I was a young lad. We saw all the lights and I loved it. I’m planning to take my dance partner Aliona [Vilani] down to the beach and try to get her on a donkey!”