Strictly’s Judge Rinder: I’m terrified of trying to dance a sexy Rumba

The Strictly Star says he's not looking forward to a dance with "smouldering sexuality"


Smouldering with sexual passion isn’t my natural state, as by now I’m sure you can all imagine, so the Paso was challenging. But that aside, I finally feel like I’m dancing!


In previous weeks all I’ve been thinking about is the next step; I forgot Strictly is a dancing show, not a memory exercise. But I have finally learnt to count the music and it’s changed everything.

I can conduct and play musical instruments, but dancers’ counting is different – they only go to eight beats, which doesn’t relate to a bar. It’s like learning a new language, and it took a while for me to get to grips with it, but now that I have, I feel so much more relaxed because I’ve got a road map to the routine.

I know exactly which step I’m taking at beats two and five, so if one of the eights goes badly, c’est la vie – I’ve always got the next eight. When it all came together for me in my military-themed Jive, it was complete euphoria!

Honestly, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in a minute and a half… Well, almost. And I’ve only got Oksana to thank for it. She really is a brilliant teacher. There’s never been a moment when I’ve doubted that she’s got my best interests at heart, or questioned her talent as a choreographer.

She, in turn, has complete faith in me, pushes me to achieve the best I can and has never dumbed down a dance in fear I couldn’t achieve it. Negotiating our relationship has demanded, on both sides, a degree of emotional diplomacy, which is hard for me because as a judge in my court I set the tone, I don’t need to be conscious of other people.

But we have found our balance and there’s nobody I’d rather dance with. The only thing I’m slightly nervous about is at some point having to do the Rumba.

It can be beautiful and loving, but it also requires a degree of smouldering sexuality I’m not sure that I’m capable of… and Oksana and I don’t have that sort of chemistry!

Having said that, I know we’ll somehow make it work, because Oksana is like the Saatchi and Saatchi of the dancing world – she can sell anything!


Strictly Come Dancing continues this Saturday 8.20pm