'Strictly is harder to train for than the Olympics'
Strictly Come Dancing champion and GB Olympian 2012 Louis Smith, will join the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour, it has been announced.
Audiences will be able to catch the stars when the show arrives at the closest venue to county residents, the Capital FM Arena Nottingham, on February 7-8. But just a few tickets remain, with only limited availability left for the two shows on February 8.
Following an intense BBC One final, watched by an audience of more than 14 million, Louis will now recreate his winning moves live on the UK Tour.
He says: "As soon as I was offered Strictly, I knew straight away that was the one I wanted to do. It's a show that's fresh, about learning, and about fitness and being a good role model. And with the tour, I love the idea of extending that experience, and travelling around, and just being able to say I've been 'on tour' like a rock star. I'm really looking forward to it."
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How does dancing compare to competing in the Olympics?
"They're pretty different, really. Strictly is not as nerve-wracking as the Olympics, but you're still putting a really high level of demand on your body. In fact, I'd say this is harder to train for than the Olympics. I'd been doing gymnastics for 19 years by the time it came to competing in 2012, so my body knew what it was doing and it was using muscle memory to a large extent. But with Strictly, it was completely different techniques and using completely different muscles, so it took a lot of getting used to, to make my body do what Flavia [Cacace] wanted it to do."
Stars joining Louis will include fellow finalists Denise Van Outen and Dani Harmer, as well as TV actress Lisa Riley, former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, TV presenter Fern Britton and former England cricketer Phil Tufnell.
Denise Van Outen says she is looking forward to recreating the buzz of performing in front of large audiences, and says: "I know a few people who've done it before, like Chris Parker and Julian Clary, who told me it's absolutely brilliant fun. Robbie Savage said it feels like the prize that you get after weeks of working hard on the show.
"The show is so high-pressured in front of the TV cameras, that it will be nice to just go out and dance and feel a bit more relaxed.
"The hardest part of the show for me has been learning the dances so without that element it will just be about dancing and enjoying myself. And when am I going to get the chance to perform in front of that many people again? I'm not in a pop group. I'm used to much smaller theatres. I got such a buzz being at Wembley, so hopefully that's what this will be like."
The judging panel features Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood, who will also direct the arena tour for the third year running.
On tour, Strictly fans get to watch their favourite dancing couples compete live for votes and the all-important feedback of the TV judges.
The audience members then vote themselves via their mobile phone.
Tickets from £45 for the show on Thursday, February 7 (7.30pm). Visit www.capitalfmarena.com to book and find out more.