Dancers Erin Boag and Anton Du Beke have been waltzing Cheek To Cheek for over a decade, yet it is only since the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing began that the professional pair’s talents have found a wider audience beyond the dance world.
Such is the appeal of the celebrity dance competition – voting mishaps and John Sergeant-induced scandals notwithstanding – that Cheek To Cheek can hope to fill the London Coliseum for a week’s run as part of the Spring Dance at the Coliseum season.
Boag and Du Beke bring an old-school glamour and elegance to the Coliseum stage as they show off their ballroom skills to classic tunes including Moon River, Let’s Face The Music And Dance and Fly Me To The Moon, accompanied by the London Concert Orchestra and guest singer Richard Shelton. The graceful lines of their ballroom are contrasted by the furious energy of guest dancers and Latin specialists Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer, who punctuate the programme with flashes of salsa, jive, samba and paso doble. Each couple evidently plays to its strengths: the long-limbed Anton and Erin are naturally suited to the ebb and flow of ballroom, while the pint-sized guest duo perform with a frenetic passion necessary for the Latin dances.
Such is the profile of Boag and DuBeke that they do not just confine themselves to dancing. DuBeke revels in the opportunity to enjoy some gentle repartee with an audience who knows him as a television personality as well as a dancer. We already know that he is game for a laugh – what else could explain his appearance in a silver lycra catsuit on BBC game show Hole In The Wall? – and he clearly enjoys poking fun at his early exits from Strictly Come Dancing when he takes the microphone, flashing his trademark grin to win round his audience.
Boag is less confident than her partner in these interludes; in many ways they seem quite opposite in personality – he the extrovert showman, she the composed professional – though their contradictory natures obviously complement each other in their dance partnership.
While Strictly Come Dancing has made them into personalities, ultimately Cheek To Cheek is about the dance; that is the legacy of the television show, that two professional dancers can take to a bare stage in the heart of the West End and give an expert showcase to a public newly entranced by a classic artform that is once again in fashion.