“I will look forward to coming there more than any other venue,” said Vincent Simone, of dates in Blackpool, on his latest tour with dance partner Flavia Cacace.
The former Strictly Come Dancing professionals head firstly to Manchester Opera House next week, but will play some of their final shows in The Last Tango tour in the home of ballroom at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.
After 20 years dancing together, they’ve called time on their career together and will bid farewell to audiences with this show, promising an ‘intimate, passionate and explosive experience’.
While the duo have performed in the resort throughout their professional and competitive careers, as well as in Strictly’s Tower Ballroom specials, the show next July will be the first time they’ve toured to the resort.
“I’ve lost count of how many times I have been in Blackpool,” Italian Vincent said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to dance there - but I’ve been so lucky to do it so many times at the Winter Gardens and Tower Ballroom.
“Every time I drive into Blackpool, I get goosebumps as it’s the place where dance belongs; there’s something special about it.
“I will look forward to coming there more than any other venue.”
Argentine tango specialists Vincent and Flavia became firm favourites when they joined the Strictly line-up in 2006, bowing out in 2012 after Flavia’s 2012 series win with gymnast Louis Smith - while Vincent reached the latter stages of the competition on several occasions, including a second place finish with Rachel Stevens in 2008 and a final spot also in 2012, with actress Dani Harmer.
Vincent admits he misses the buzz of Strictly, but at the same time is glad to be out of the contest.
“To be honest, after doing the show for seven or eight years, it’s in my body,” he said. “I feel an almost hormonal pull that I need to be there, before it all starts in the summer.
“But after three or four weeks in, like now, I can think ‘Thank goodness I’m not doing it any more.
“If you get a celebrity who you’re not going to go so far [in the competition] with, or if they go out early, it’s galling to still be in the show and pretending you’re happy after being voted out.
“And, if you get through to the end, it’s really hard work - especially the last few weeks.
“But we are both so happy we can do our own things. With the theatre, you’re so in touch with the people it’s a beautiful world.”
The couple are largely credited with bringing Argentine tango to national attention among dance lovers, thanks to their appearances on Strictly, especially being able to then further share their skills and passion for the dance in their tours - and Vincent’s certain he and Flavia have remained the masters of the dance.
“We were the first couple to do Argentine tango ever on live TV, and that’s a big tick for us,” Vincent said. “We became the face of Argentine tango, we still do it and people love watching us almost more than we live dancing it.
“It was challenging in Strictly Come Dancing terms though, as the other pros aren’t trained in it, although that makes it interesting for the show.
“No one’s got it right though, in the other professionals with their celebrities. The producers asked us to teach the other professionals. It’s a completely different style and they hated it, as it didn’t come naturally - it’s like a ballet dancer learning tap - and the professionals always worry when it’s coming up in the series.”
The 33-week The Last Tango tour started in September and comes to the Grand from Monday, June 27 to Saturday, July 2, finishing later that month. For a quicker fix of tango temptation, it’s at Manchester Opera House from Tuesday to Saturday, November 10 to 14.
Call (01253) 290190 for tickets.