Everything you need to know about ITV’s new series Dance Dance Dance

Who are the judges, who are the contestants – and what happens when you combine dancing with 'augmented reality'?

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Dance Dance Dance is ITV’s Sunday night entertainment show, hosted by Alesha Dixon. Here’s everything you need to know:  

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What is Dance Dance Dance?

Celebrities – together with a partner of their choice – recreate iconic pop video and movie dance sequences, from Slumdog Millionaire to Michael Jackson’s Bad to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.

The performances are staged in front of an audience (with the help of “augmented reality” – see below) and judged by a trio of dance experts. 

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When is Dance Dance Dance on TV?

Dance Dance Dance airs every Sunday at 6.30pm on ITV. The series will last for six episodes, with the final due to air on Sunday 12th February. 

Who are the hosts? 

Musician and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Alesha Dixon has been paired with TV presenter Will Best to host the show. 

Explaining why signing up for Dance Dance Dance was a “no-brainer”, Alesha told RadioTimes.com: “Not only do I love dance, but I’ve grown up loving music videos and I remember being a little girl standing in front of the TV trying to recreate dance routines.”

Though she won’t be dancing at any point in the show, she admitted to being a little jealous of the contestants: “They’re actually getting to live it. So even though I’m hosting it, I stand in the wings, quite jealous that I don’t get to go out there and do Michael Jackson’s Remember The Time or Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.”

Who are the judges?

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Each performance will be judged by three dance experts: 

  • Tina Landon, a choreographer who has created routines for global superstars including Michael and Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez
  • Timor Steffens, a dancer and choreographer who has judged Dance Dance Dance across Europe (the UK show is based on a Dutch format). He has worked with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyoncé and Usher
  • Ashley Banjo, the creator of Britain’s Got Talent-winning street dance crew Diversity.

“Tina Landon and Timor Steffans, have actually appeared in a lot of the music videos that they’re recreating,” Alesha revealed as she explained the contestants’ nerves. “I mean, Tina Landon choreographed Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s Scream video, so to have to stand up on the stage and perform that, it’s pressure. But I think we all like a bit of pressure.”

Who is competing in Dance Dance Dance?

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Celebrities taking part are:

Each celebrity has plenty of dance experience, but Alesha and the show’s organisers think this is nothing to shy away from. 

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“All of the contestants are of a good standard, so that’s the interesting thing,” Alesha said. “What I quite liked about it, is there’s no, ‘Here’s the journey and we’re going to try and take somebody who’s never danced before and make them into a brilliant dancer.’

“It’s about finding people that have a love of dance, have a relatively good standard of dance, and then them bringing these routines to life.”

How does it work?

There is be no public vote: instead, everything is decided by the judges. “Because it’s not a public vote, it really is about technique and being precise and being brilliant at it,” Alesha told us. 

Each of the celebrities gets to choose their own partner – and unlike on Strictly Come Dancing, they’re not restricted to a line-up of faultless pro dancers. “It literally can be anyone they want, it can be their gran if they wanted it to be,” she added.

That said, each celeb wants to win, so on the whole they have chosen someone without two left feet. For example, JB picked his wife Chloe Gill, who happens to be a dancer herself.

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Once they had picked their partner, it was time to start working with choreographers and professional dancers to recreate everything from that Dirty Dancing lift to Rihanna’s Umbrella to Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time.

For the first three weeks, all the contestants performed – and then on the third week, the couple will the lowest score left the competition.

A couple will then be knocked out each week until there is a winner. 

As for the prize? “They’re competing for the honour of being Dance Dance Dance champions.”

How does Dance Dance Dance use ‘augmented reality’?

You really have to see it to get it – but to give you some idea, the show’s producers use augmented reality to add another layer to the stage for viewers from home.

That might involve making the stage into a spaceship, or making it seem as though Fiona Wade is channelling both Rihanna and Poseidon as she directs jets of water around the stage and dances to Umbrella. Here’s what that looks like:

Alesha told us: “I think it’s really about giving you a visual treat. It’s like a visual feast, that’s the only way I can explain it, and because of the augmented reality and it being quite 3D – as a viewer it’s just stunning to watch.

“And you really feel like you’ve been transported into these music videos. You really feel like you’re part of it, and it’s seeing it come to life in a way that I’ve not seen it being done before, and I think that’s the interesting thing about technology and how we can now use that in these shows.

“I think that Dance Dance Dance is ahead of its time in that respect because it’s using technology in a way that I’ve not seen done before on one of these big shows.”

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Dance Dance Dance airs at 6.30pm on Sundays