INTERVIEW | Ian Waite & Vincent Simone – The Ballroom Boys

As professional dancers on the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, Ian Waite and Vincent Simone have become household names. Since taking a backseat to focus on touring productions, whilst still contributing to Strictly with choreography and critiquing dances, the pair have joined forces to form The Ballroom Boys. 

We caught up with the duo ahead of their visit to the Kings Theatre on October 1 to hear their thoughts on the show, their unique relationship, and Ian’s experiences of walking around Gunwharf searching for underpants!

For anyone who hasn’t seen The Ballroom Boys, what can they expect from the show?

Ian: Primarily it’s a classic Strictly show which features a great mix of the Latin and Ballroom dances but there’s also an added variety to it. There’s a lot of old-school humour and a good insight into our experiences and lives throughout, and we love to include the audience as much as possible with a Q&A and getting some of them up on stage! 

Vincent: It’s a really fun show to be a part of. There are loads of jokes, lots of banter, beautiful dances and an amazing singer (Jamie Lomas) with us who is super talented. 

How does performing in a Theatre compare to your more traditional dance setting? 

Ian: The intimacy of our show is something we really enjoy. Ballroom dancing in a hall for example is specifically choreographed so you turn and face the audience on various sides. A more traditional Theatre like the Kings is a lot cosier and the crowd are on top of you – it’s a different skill to perform there. 

Vincent: This is the first time I’ve done this type of show and I love it! Previously my tours with Flavia were very much West-End productions with massive sets and a very serious story within the dances. 

I used to get quite nervous because you’d go on stage and experience the fourth wall, where the eyes of the audience are on you, but all you can see is darkness. With this show you can break it and connect with the crowd, talk to them, and flirt with the ladies – they are over the moon about that! 

What is the relationship like between the two of you on stage? 

Ian: Physically we look quite funny together! I’m 6ft4 and Vincent is about 5ft4! 

We’ve always got on well and were great friends throughout Strictly, so it’s been great to do this together. Vincent is naturally funny and very witty which makes it so easy to perform together. 

Vincent: Myself and Ian are amazing friends but we’re so different. He’s tall, I’m short, he’s blonde and I’m dark, he’s camp and I’m really into the ladies! It really works. 

What do you enjoy most about performing and being on tour? 

Ian: It’s an absolute dream to perform in front of an audience who share the same passions as us. We’ll be doing a lot of driving up and down the country but it’s so enjoyable to do a show which we’ve put together. 

Vincent: I don’t get bored! With this show there’s always something new and with things like the Q&A you never know what questions you’ll be asked. The reaction so far has been brilliant. People are in tears from laughter – hopefully for all the right reasons! 

Vincent – how does touring with Ian compare to Flavia?! 

Vincent: Ha! It’s a lot less stressful! Our performances were very serious, and we were so focused on doing our dances right – Ian is always happy and if I go wrong, he saves the day and vice versa – it’s great! 

Have you been to Portsmouth and the Kings Theatre before? 

Ian: I have! As part of my show with Natalie Lowe (fellow Strictly pro) we did a night at the Kings – it’s a brilliant Theatre with so much history. 

If possible, it would be good to visit Gunwharf which is great to visit by the water. The last time I was there, I spent most of the time shopping for underpants! 

Strictly Come Dancing – will you have much involvement in this year’s show? 

Ian: It Takes Two will be back on screens soon and I’m really looking forward to critiquing some of the dances! It looks like a great line-up this year with some strong partnerships. 

Vincent: This year I’ll be putting my hands on some of the couples with the choreography for the Argentine Tango! It’s great to still be involved behind the scenes.

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