Celebrity interview: Anton Du Beke talks to the Herald

Anton and Erin
Anton and Erin

THE KING and queen of ballroom will be in town next month with what is expected to be their fourth sell-out UK tour.

Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag have established a legion of fans with their performances by encapsulating the glitz, glamour and elegance of the classic ballroom era.

Anton has performed on stage in Eastbourne before and says he is looking forward to a return visit.

He said, “We always have a lovely audience at Eastbourne. It is a great town.

“Our shows have a fun atmosphere and we try to involve the audience. Our shows are very audience based – they have an ‘evening with’ feel so the audience is integral.

“We always look forward to coming to Eastbourne.”

The 45-year-old dancer was very complimentary about his partner Erin, who he has been dancing with for more than 15 years.

He said, “She is glamorous, stylish and sophisticated. She is everything you see. She is just great.”

The pair have to spend a huge amount of time together perfecting their moves.

They rehearse from 10am to 6pm six days a week and if that wasn’t enough exercise, they also spend time with a personal trainer to make sure they are in tip-top condition for their shows.

Anton described it as ‘intense’ and said there was always rehearsing to be done with Erin.

He added, “It is continual but I couldn’t wish for a better dance partner.”

When asked how the pair coped with any disagreements, he said, “We just carry on.”

Anton said he and Erin were thankful to Strictly Come Dancing, which has now completed ten series, for re-igniting interest in ballroom dancing.

Anton said, “Strictly is great and I look forward to it every year.

“It has given us the opportunity to do our show and that is lovely.”

He says he is very competitive and would probably be a professional sportsman if he wasn’t a dancer.

But despite enjoying the competition, he remained tight-lipped on his favourite celebrity dancer partner.

Lesley Garrett, Esther Rantzen, Patsy Palmer, Jan Ravens, Kate Garraway, Gillian Taylforth, Laila Rouass, Ann Widdecombe and Nancy Dell’Olio have all strutted their stuff with Anton in the BBC show, but he diplomatically told the Herald, “I liked them all.”

However, he was quite clear about Brucie being his favourite member of the television show.

“Bruce Forsyth is my hero,” said Anton. “He is perfect and I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing the job.”

Following the surge of interest in ballroom over the last decade, there has been an increase in dance classes and more people of all ages are taking the activity up as a hobby.

Anton said, “My advice is have a go. There are lots of people who don’t have a go but if you do, you will find you will have enormous fun with it.

“Find a class, go along and enjoy. It is a great social activity.”

Anton grew up in Sevenoaks, Kent, and ‘stumbled’ across a dance class when he was 14.

At first he was attending classes once a week and then specialised in ballroom at the age of 17.

His favourite dance is the foxtrot, known for its elegance and sophistication with long flowing moves across the dance floor.

The foxtrot and more will be featured in the Anton and Erin UK Tour which comes to Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre on February 26 at 3pm and 7.30pm Tickets cost between £29.50 and £36 and are available from the box office on 01323 412000.