Victoria Pendleton’s Strictly Diary: “Strictly is slowly stripping me of all of my dignity!”

"The whole thing fell apart and I couldn’t have been more furious with myself. I have never experienced that feeling of helplessness before"

Strictly is slowly stripping me of all of my dignity! I left all of my pride in tatters on the dance floor after my first performance and the ironic thing was that I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t worried and I felt prepared beforehand. I had been rehearsing in the corridor moments before going on and had got all of the steps right – I knew that cha cha cha and I don’t think I could have done any more.

Advertisement

But then I stepped out into the spotlight, forgot one step and it all went wrong. I just didn’t have the confidence or the dance experience to recover. The whole thing fell apart and I couldn’t have been more furious with myself. I have never experienced that feeling of helplessness before – I just had no idea how to recover once I had gone wrong.

Afterwards everyone was telling me I should have improvised and made something up, but I had frozen and my mind went blank and in that moment I just couldn’t think.

I was so upset I let down Brendan after all of the hard work that he had put into teaching me the routine, and incredibly disappointed in myself for messing it all up. I was really gutted and felt so annoyed that I didn’t hear a word that the judges said to me. I’m sure they weren’t very nice, but nothing they said could have made me feel any worse.

The one thing that cycling has taught me, that I can bring into the dance studio, is that when you fall off your bike you just have to dust yourself off and jump straight back on.

So the next Monday when I got back into the rehearsal studio I didn’t dwell on it but instead put all of my efforts into making the foxtrot as good as it could be.

And Brendan may make a dancer of me yet – I actually managed to retain some of the steps from the week before. I now know what a chasee and a heel lead are – who would have ever thought?

I felt so much more comfortable with the foxtrot – my legs were bent and felt more natural, and it was slower so I had more time to think, which is obviously something I need. I’m never going to be the world’s best dancer, but I was determined to go back out there and prove that I can get through a routine.

Advertisement

Brendan has promised to be tougher on me in the studio and I hope that starts to show on Saturday nights – although right now he is shaking his little booty in my face and making me cry from laughing so hard. I may not be up to much on the dance floor but a million girls would love to be where I am right now and I’m not ready to give that up!