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Brendan Cole in Birmingham and Wolverhampton - Interview

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Strictly star's solo show tours the UK
A night to remember is promised by Strictly Come Dancing favourite Brendan Cole as he prepares to tour the UK with his new stage show.

The dazzling spectacle – titled A Night To Remember – visits almost 50 venues over three months, including Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on February 12 and Birmingham Symphony Hall on March 29.

Brendan took time out from rehearsals to answer some questions.

What is the best thing about touring and what do you look forward to most?

To me, the excitement of performing and having a reaction from a crowd is what I love best. I love looking out at the audience just before the show starts and seeing people's anticipation of what they are about to see and then again at the end to see their reaction. To see people smiling and discussing what they have just been a part of is so satisfying. I also look forward to hanging out with my cast. We have an incredible time together travelling around and performing, it's always sad when it comes to an end. It's like having a party that you really want to be at that lasts for more than two months and doesn't get boring.

How do you begin to create the concept for your show?

It's a massive process. Myself, my musical Director Barry Robinson and my wife Zoe started throwing music ideas around whilst we were producing my show last year. As music choices begin to take shape, I start planning the running order and the logistics of getting on and off stage, costume changes etc. During this time, I start to think about my cast and who I would like to have join me whilst Barry does the same with our musicians. This year Fauve Hautot is back as my leading lady – she is amazing. Patrick Helm and Crystal Main are also back and then we have some new dancers who people may well recognise. Over the space of about ten months, the show takes shape. It's a massive job and one that I am very hands on with.

What can the audience expect from A Night To Remember?

I like to think everything! Probably best described as 'An Evening With'-style show, full of live music from a phenomenal 14-piece band who are on stage with us, Latin and Ballroom dances from my superb eight-strong dance cast (four female dancers, three other male dancers and me) and some chat thrown in for good measure. It's a real variety type show with all you'd expect to see on Strictly but more intimate as it's geared for a live audience. We have all of the dances you'd expect, Argentine Tango, Salsa, some beautiful Waltzes, Charleston, Quicksteps... they're all there. I host the show and perform throughout. I love the fact that it's very intimate between me, my cast and the audience.

It must be difficult being away from your family whilst on tour. How do you cope with being away in order to concentrate on the job?

It's definitely hard but that's part of the job and my wife Zoe is very supportive. Strictly is more challenging, being six and seven days a week for more than four months of the year. My tour only lasts a couple of months and I make sure I schedule two days off each week to spend with the family. I also ensure the cast have time for their bodies to recover as it's a full on show.

What do you hope the audience will take away from your show?

What I want is for them to be entertained from start to finish and to leave with a smile on their face. Hopefully they'll feel they have met the real me, a slightly cheeky pretty normal fella, and feel excited from having seen some magic on stage.

Was it always your ambition to become a dancer?

No, not growing up, but, as you get older, opportunities present themselves and you make the decisions that are best for you at the time. I believe you create opportunities and it's whether or not you choose to take them which defines your path. I could have very easily stayed in New Zealand and created my life there but my dreams were bigger than that. I didn't know that it would be dance necessarily, I just knew I wanted more.

You won the first series of Strictly Come Dancing alongside Natasha Kaplinsky. Was this your greatest achievement in dance?

No, not my greatest achievement although certainly a highlight. My greatest achievements in dance are definitely my shows. They are not put on by a production company with me just coming in to headline, they are mine from start to finish creatively. I'm extremely proud of what my cast and I achieve. I've had some magical moments on Strictly. With Sophie Ellis-Bextor I did some of my finest work and making the final to me was a bigger achievement than winning. I was also ranked in the top 12 of the world competitively pre-Strictly which I am immensely proud of.

Did you enjoy being judge of Dancing with the Stars, when you were in your home country New Zealand?

I loved the role as judge, you never get voted off and you only work one day a week. I love that I'm a dancer on the show here but it's been fantastic to experience both sides.

How do you plan on kicking back once the show is over?

Holiday! Sea, sun and lots of time with my beautiful family! The hardest thing is being away from my family for long periods of time, especially my two-year-old daughter Aurélia.

Brendan Cole Strictly Come Dancing A Night To Remember

Brendan Cole - A Night To Remember tour dates:

January 2015
27th: Crawley, Hawth Theatre;
28th: Southend, Cliffs Pavilion;
29th: Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall;
30th: Brighton, Dome;
31st: High Wycombe, Wycombe Swan.

February 2015
1st: Aylesbury, Waterside Theatre;
4th: Sheffield, City Hall;

5th: Leicester, De Montfort Hall;
6th: Grantham meres, The Meres;
7th: Reading, Hexagon Theatre;
8th: Wimbledon, New Wimbledon Theatre;
11th: Portsmouth Guildhall;
12th: Wolverhampton, Grand Theatre;
13th: Cambridge, Corn Exchange;
14th: Ipswich, The Regent;
15th: Norwich, Theatre Royal (matinee and evening);
18th: Oxford, New Theatre;
19th: Eastbourne, Congress Theatre;
20th: Watford, Colosseum;
21st: Croydon, Fairfield Halls;
22nd: Basingstoke, The Anvil;
24th/ 25th: Inverness, Eden Court Theatre;
26th: Dunfermline, Alhambra Theatre;
27th: Perth, Concert Hall;
28th: Aberdeen, Music Hall.

March 2015
1st: Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall;
4th: Grimsby, Auditorium;
5th: York, Barbican;
6th: Blackpool, Opera House;
7th: Preston, Guildhall;
8th: Manchester, Opera House;
11th: Northampton, Royal & Derngate;
12th: Poole, Lighthouse;
13th: Plymouth, Pavilions;
14th: Torquay, Princess Theatre;
15th: Cardiff, Wales Millennium Centre;
19th/ 20th: Cork, Opera House;
21st: Belfast, Waterfront Hall;
22nd: Dublin, Bord Gais Energy Theatre;
24th: Leeds, Grand Theatre;
25th: Scunthorpe, Baths Hall;
26th: Gateshead, Sage Gateshead;
27th: Carlisle, The Sands Centre;
28th: Hull, New Theatre;
29th: Birmingham, Symphony Hall.
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Why? Strictly star's solo show on stage.
When: UK tour from January 27 - March 29, 2015
Phone: 0121 345 0600 (Symphony Hall); 01902 429212 (Wolverhampton Grand)
Where: Symphony Hall, Birmingham & Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
Cost: £19.50 - £39.50 plus fees (Symphony Hall); £17 - £35 plus fees (Grand Theatre)
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