The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. He obviously wasn’t a dancer. Our journeys begin with a step TWO THREE and turn, kick and… RELAX.
After the fake tans and euphoria of the group dance (“carnage” – Craig Revel Horwood) have faded, the hard work begins. Twenty hours’ training later, and already half a stone lighter, I’m tired but happy.
Most of us are combining Strictly with the day job: I had shows in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Stoke. Jason was in The Sound of Music in Manchester, Dan’s doing Daybreak, Alex is doing The One Show, Robbie’s presenting, Edwina’s on a cruise. Hang on a minute.
A cruise? Is that WORK? She’d better be practising those steps.
I speak to Jason and Robbie regularly. Rehearsing his posture, Jason says he feels like he’s got a string tugging the top of his head and a pole stuck up his backside; Robbie says that in his first session with Ola, he couldn’t even walk properly, let alone dance. Meanwhile, Nancy is getting steamy with Anton. Dan is trying to tame Hurricane Katya. Anita is training over eight hours a day, and Lulu is “in awe” of Brendan’s moves.
Strictly takes over your life – you find your- self practising the steps at the bus stop, in a shop, in the kitchen, everywhere. Robbie gave me a piece of advice from his football days: “Mate, fill a bath with cold water, about six inches deep, shove a couple of bags of ice in there and sit in it for five minutes.”
After you, Rob. But, fool that I am, I followed the advice. It’s easier in hotels, where you can send down for a couple of buckets of ice and pour them into the bath, to the bemusement of the room service waitress.
It may not help me, but I’m pretty sure that sitting in a cold ice bath in his hotel would have saved Dominique Strauss-Kahn a lot of trouble.