Strictly stars Natalie Lowe, Jay McGuiness and Louis Smith come to Norfolk to Rip It Up
- Credit: Submitted
Two glitter ball winners and one professional take to the stage for a sold-out style show in King's Lynn to swing, bop, jitterbug, lindy hop and jive through some of the greatest songs from the 1950s.
Natalie Lowe's shock Strictly departure last year made headlines, but she knew in her heart she had so much more to give in other areas.
'Not only in dance but in health, beauty and image and helping young girls better themselves. I feel like I can't do that while I am on a show teaching a celebrity how to dance for 12 weeks of the year,' says the dancer, who's touched and surprised that she's become a role model, adding 'I'm just dancing'.
'That's my main reason for leaving; to become a choreographer and get excited about shows and developing other projects. It's the right decision at the right time for me. It was nothing to do with where the show was going and the changes.'
She started dancing when she was three, her first try-out was at five. Finding the perfect dance partner, it all fell into place at the right place and right time. She started representing Australia when she was eight in Taiwan. Her momentum and love for the sport kept going and going and she never wanted to give up. Mind you, she's had to work hard.
You may also want to watch:
'It wasn't easy, as I missed out on a lot of family and friends-related things while I was growing up. I learnt to live in my own bubble in order to live the dream. I think you've got to do that if you want to be successful. Whatever it is you do, you have to prioritise that. It paid off for me.'
Natalie can't believe where my career has taken her. Never in a million years did she think she'd be living in the UK, performing on the best TV show in the world and performing at the London Palladium and the rest of the UK with Rip It Up.
- 1 Man dies in hospital after fight near Norfolk pub
- 2 Huge seaside home with indoor pool for sale for £600,000
- 3 The Bill star reveals he has moved to Norfolk and why he loves it
- 4 Queues form at Norfolk petrol stations - despite reassurances over stock
- 5 Petrol stations close nationally as HGV driver crisis worsens
- 6 Spectacle of light with 'Norfolk's biggest ever firework display' announced
- 7 Some queues - but business largely as usual at Norfolk's petrol stations
- 8 SOLD! Royal Arcade goes for £2m MORE than guide price
- 9 Delays on A47 after lorry overturns
- 10 Harley-Davidson motorcyclist dies in A134 crash
The show sees her team up with Strictly Come Dancing champions Louis Smith and Jay McGuiness. They will swing, bop, jitterbug, lindy hop, jive and ballroom their way through the soundtrack of the 1950s.
It's from the producers and director of the Remembering Fred tour, which starred Strictly's Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec, and also features Radio 2's Leo Green and his 50s all-star band along with a cast of dancers hand-picked by Natalie.
'I've been doing shows all my life, so for me it was a no-brainer to go into this show because of what it was about,' said Natalie. 'I just heard 1950s and was sold on the idea. I've always wanted to relive the 1950s because that's what music I was brought up listening to.
'It's the music we played in the car when my mum and dad used to drive me to Australian dance championships so I think I must have been brainwashed with that music somehow,' she laughs. 'I generally love everything about that era; the cars, the music, the style... for some reason everything about it resonates within me. I wished I had lived through it as a teenager.'
She initially said no to singing as well as dancing, but adds for Louis and Jay it feels really natural, passionate even.
'Louis is constantly singing that style of music, which surprised me. Am I singing? No, never. I want people to keep watching the show, after all,' she laughs.
'I had singing lessons when I was five and my singing teacher said 'okay, you need to just stick to your dance'. I was thinking 'surely I can learn?' but when I mentioned this to her she said 'no, you are pretty much tone deaf'.
Once Rip It Up is done, Natalie will be producing her own show at the end of the year as well as starting two or three of her own companies.
'All off the back of being a ballroom dancer. I just can't believe that and I am so grateful. It is such a beautiful world to be a part of because you do really touch people's lives. I have to pinch myself every day.'
LOUIS & JAY
Jay McGuiness, best known as part of boy band The Wanted, lifted the Strictly glitter ball trophy in 2015 with professional dancer Aliona Vilani. Their friendship fuelled rumours of romance.
'When it came out we thought they can talk all they want and we just ignored it. We weren't going to fuel a fire. Right now I am happily single,' says the singer, who jokes he and Louis could form a 1950s version of The Black Eyed Peas once Rip It Up is done.
Natalie holds no prisoners when it comes to the show. 'She talks about naughty toes, which really threw me back to when I was doing the training for Strictly, but she is a laugh and she's got no airs or graces.'
Growing up, Jay never imagined this is what he'd be doing now. 'I just followed my feet. If I look back, it looks like everything was planned; I went into this band that took off and then went on Strictly, which has since led me to different theatre strands. It looks like it has all been planned but, honestly, it hasn't. At some point in my life I need to come up with a plan, but I've not done it yet and so far so good.'
It's been five years since sporting superstar Louis Smith won Strictly with dance partner Flavia Cacace. People still love his Lycra-tight outfit, especially the more 'mature' demographic.
'They always refer to it. People who come up to me for my sporting achievements will say 'my dad's not gonna believe I've met you', then they say 'oh my nan loved you on Strictly', so you strike a chord with a different demographics. I do quite often get people say to me 'I voted for you on Strictly'.
'As an aside, I only voted once on the Strictly tour and that was for Lisa Riley to win when we were in Manchester. We are not allowed to vote but we all voted to try to get Lisa to win in her hometown - and she did, which was nice.'
Louis' medals are constantly used for events so he doesn't leave them at home. His glitter balls however...
'The good thing about the main glitter ball trophy is that I can't really take it anywhere, so it has the pride of place in my home. As for my glitter balls; I've three - one for the TV show, one for the tour and the other for the TV Christmas special. One sits on a plinth behind my sofa and the other two sit either side of my fireplace.'
The gymnast is grateful for the opportunities the show has given him and he's trying to make the most of it. Keen to use and learn different skills, he's been asked to sing in Rip It Up.
'I think you'll hear my voice among the backing singers. That's as far as the singing will go. I love that whole period of 1950s and 1960s music; Jimmy Ruffin, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, The Temptations and The Marvelettes... I absolutely love it. I was brought up on reggae music and soul music, I have my mum to thank for that, along with everything else in my life. I hope my mum is coming to the show. She is an incredible lady.'
It's back to the gymnastics world at the end of this month.
'I'd definitely like to make it to the next Olympics, it's just whether I get selected or not. I'm older now, there are younger kids doing really well. I am just going to try my best and if I don't make it I've got no regrets. I'll know I've tried.'
• Rip It Up is at King's Lynn Corn Exchange on October 20, 7.30pm, returns only, 01553 764864, kingslynncornexchange.co.uk