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Strictly Come Dancing choreographers share secrets of the Couple’s Choice routines

Lizzie Gough and Tommy Franzen explain what goes into the preparation.

Strictly choreographers

Strictly Come Dancing choreographers Lizzie Gough and Tommy Franzen spilled some secrets about how they come up with the extraordinary Couple’s Choice routines on the latest series.

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The duo told Zoe Ball on It Takes Two it’s about finding the right blend between the Strictly Come Dancing celebrity and the professional partner, choosing the right song and concept which allows them to shine.

Tommy said: “We do study them, we watch what they’ve done before. We try to pick out strengths they have and ask the pro if they have any specific moves or weaknesses or if they’re inflexible.”

Lizzie said: “Sometimes they come up with the music, they’ll say ‘we love this track,’ and we come up with the concept. We think this type of style will be good for you because obviously street dance or any type of dance in Couple’s Choice is so wide [ranging].”

There have been five Couple’s Choice dances this series, including Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse’s dance to Rappers’ Delight and Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez hit the top of the leaderboard with a perfect 30 for their street dance to Will Smith’s Getting’ Jiggy With It in the semi-final.

Lizzie said: “Those two work so well together, it was about finding that balance to to make them dance the same because street dance at the end of the day is a social dance, so it’s making sure that comes across and not like “I’m dancing!” So we really had to try and find that blend because they have completely different backgrounds.”

Tommy explained that when they work with the couples they have all the moves in place in rehearsal by Tuesday and then it’s just a matter of making small tweaks until right up to show time.

Lizzie said that working with the live band on the Saturday usually required small changes to what had been rehearsed during the week.

Besides Maisie’s perfect Couple’s Choice, the duo were proud of the improvement in Jamie Laing’s dancing. He is dancing all three routines they choreographed in the final.

“The first day, to be honest we were a little bit worried,” said Tommy.

Lizzie added: “The first day he just couldn’t remember anything. We were like, ‘Woah…'”

But by the second routine everything “fell into place with him”.

Lizzie and Tommy met on the BBC One dance contest So You Think You Can Dance and have worked together ever since. They were brought into Strictly by longtime choreographer Kate Prince.

Lizzie said: “It was massive, we hadn’t done anything like it before… so it was OK, I guess we can do it.”

She added: “It was one of those things, I’d always watched Strictly but [thought I’d] never be on it because I didn’t do ballroom or Latin, but anyhow when Kate asked us we were like ‘Yeahhh!'”

The Strictly Come Dancing Final screens on BBC One on Saturday 19th December.

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