First, how is it being back in London?
It’s great. I love London. The weather is what I thought it was gonna be but that’s fine when you are stuck in rehearsals for so long each day. We have been lucky that our days off we have had a little sunshine so no complaints. Football season just started back as well so it’s great to not have to get up so early to watch it like in LA.
How did the first couple of weeks of rehearsals go?
Rehearsals are tough. We got straight into it HARD when we came back but it’s been great fun. I missed the first two weeks last year and this year we have an extra week of rehearsals as well so it’s been great and equally as tough. We generally do 10-5 each day and that will depend on how many numbers we need to learn and then record for the production team. Each week the show is on then we will refresh at the start of the week and the day before we record.
We’ve heard that this year the pros will have different partners most weeks instead of dancing with the same pro throughout the series. Have you already rehearsed with several different partners?
Yeah, last year we started with someone more than others and then as the competition went on we switched up more. I think myself and Trent switched partners more last season as himself and Kristina stayed in the comp longer so myself and Aliona danced more together and I thought it would stay that way this year but they have switched it up a bit more this year. So far I think I’ve danced with almost all the girls at least for a few bars in certain numbers which is great. I don't think I’ve danced with Natalie yet but I’m sure at some stage I will do. They tend to use the same people for the ballroom sections.
You left dance for a while many years ago but then you got back into it. What ultimately made you decide that you wanted to dance again?
I go through phases in dance when I like it and I don't to be honest. Sometimes it’s the people and sometimes it’s just that I lose interest in what importance is put on certain things. I left the first time because granted I was at an age where I just wanted to do the same as everyone else and have fun but I just had no interest in wearing makeup and sparkles. I felt uncomfortable and looking back now at pictures of me as Oompa Loompa in spandex looking outfits is a jokeshop. I always liked the dancing and training but I didn't like the competing. I went back because I wanted to do shows and I missed working with a team. Stage shows seemed the way to go so I did that and then I found a show that was Ballroom and Latin but it seemed to be cooler and everyone doing it was quite different which is always the main thing. I hate doing stuff that alienates people. Whether I’m right or wrong I believed that’s what dancing at the time was doing. The good dancers only talked to the good dancers and dancing was all everyone talked about and if you didn't take lessons with such and such you weren't gonna get anywhere. It was all bull to me! I have been very lucky since I’ve come back to it with what I have been able to achieve.
You said that due to scheduling and travel issues, you couldn't compete in the Dublin triathlon, but are you still training or planning to train for future triathlons?
Yeah, I’m really disappointed to have missed this triathlon. Unfortunately with the heavy schedule of the first week my body was shattered anyway but for those races you need to be in the country and set up for the registration and all the safety and orientation meetings which is something I couldn't have made it back for. In hindsight physically it would have been too demanding for me to do right as it was an important time in rehearsals but I absolutely love it so I will for sure do more in the future. I still train now but it’s tougher because of the rehearsals. I still cycle and run when I can. Swimming is tougher to fit in but I have found a pool close to where I stay in London so I mainly do that on the days off.
You have performed with lots of recording artists during your career as a professional dancer, but is there one in particular that you would like to perform with?
Not really. Performing with the guest artists is cool I suppose but not too many of them stick around and hang out or anything so it’s much of a muchness for me! I like doing the numbers and when The Script came to DWTS they asked me to hang out after which was pretty cool but generally you shake their hand at the start, say hello, and then they are gone! I’d love Bowie to come in just to meet him but if that would happen I’d just wanna sit and listen to him - no dancing.
You do a lot of different stage shows and every audience reacts differently. Have you ever done a show that fell completely flat?
Oh, yeah, for sure hahaha! It’s horrible but that’s just the way it is. Sometimes it’s because the audience doesn’t get what you are trying to do and then other times it’s just not good – haha. I can't remember particular things but you will always have numbers when people don't feel like clapping at the end or you do something you think is impressive but they don't agree - haha. I think when it’s the tv show the audience in studio are all gonna clap regardless and then if they like it or more importantly they like you then they will clap and scream whether it was good or bad so we are saved a little there. Sometimes at shows even if people loved it they are quiet or subdued so you have to expect that. It’s harder when you are on the mic and you make a joke and they are having none of it – hahahaha. I’ve had that a few times.
What is the most unusual question you have been asked (or perhaps someone has asked one of the other pros) during a live show such as BWAT?
You always get some who ask about our wages and they won't give up until they get an answer. It’s really weird. Or they ask some pros why they 'broke up' with someone in front of their girlfriend or new partner. Just strange stuff, you know. I actually don't mind when people ask me that stuff but the problem is I try make them feel as uncomfortable as I do in those situations and sometimes that doesn’t go down well – haha. Sometimes people just wanna point out stuff about you so you don't get ahead of yourself, you know. Some people have a very biased and also a very skewed perception of people on tv and so maybe it’s justified in most cases.
Finally, you worked with Gleb previously on DWTS but had you ever worked with (or met) the new pros Otlile and Giovanni before?
Yeah, I worked with Gleb before. He is great and I hadn't met or worked with Gio or Oti before but they are really nice and have fitted in really well. Everyone gets on great here and I really like all the new pros. I’m sure once you see them on the show you will too. Gio couldn't be any more Italian and he is very funny. I like that guy and Oti is hilarious. I had never met her but I heard about her through Keo and she is very much straight in the conversation with people - very confident and a great dancer so I think people will love them and I look forward to seeing them all on the show.