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Interview: Midnight Tango and Strictly Come Dancing star FLAVIA CACACE


FLAVIA CACACE

With her glossy bob, racehorse legs and beaming smile, Flavia Cacace is a firm favourite with Strictly Come Dancing fans. Fresh from grabbing that glitter ball, Flavia is touring the UK in Midnight Tango with the equally yummy Vincent Simone. The pair, who have been professional partners for 11 years, have choreographed this fast and furious dance show. It is set in a late-night bar in downtown Buenos Aires and brings to life all the drama, sensuality and elegance of the sexy tango. 

They are joined on stage by some of the finest tango dancers in the world, and, between them, they take the audience on a journey into the heart of this intoxicating city, as danger and excitement, joy and jealousy, pain and passion combine into an explosive evening.

With her working life going well, her personal life is also looking great as Flavia, now aged 33, is sporting a rather splendid diamond engagement ring. Over the festive period she became engaged to East is East actor Jimi Mistry– her partner on Strictly in 2010. So she’ll now be busy with her wedding plans which you can expect to be something special. 

Flavia was born in Naples and moved with her family – she is the youngest of six children – to England when she was aged four. She is now based in Guildford although will be on tour until August.

First of all, congratulations on winning Strictly Come Dancing 2012. You must be very pleased?
With the high level of dancers this year, anybody could have won it. The final was incredible. It is just thanks to the public - I can't thank everyone enough.
The whole experience was incredible. To win it on a year where the level is so high was so much more satisfying. I have to thank Louis of course. He has fantastic ability, skill and talent. He so deserves it.

How does the series compare to past series (was it the best yet, in your opinion)? 
Strictly takes over a good four months of your life and you know it is going to be an adventure with highs and lows at different times for different people. We started high and had a great start for several weeks, and then we had a real dip in the middle. Somehow, with strength and determination, we climbed our way back up to a positive place. Look where we ended up. I have to say thank you to everyone who supported us.

What was it like partnering Olympian Louis Smith - did you have to up your game? (Was it technically a challenge, for example, turning a gymnast into a dancer?)
I was so proud of Louis for being the last young man standing. It really was not easy for him. I feel a real sense of satisfaction for him as I think his gymnastics background is so far from what we do on the dance floor, it’s been a huge challenge not only in technique but performance full stop, particularly in the latter stages. In semi-final week, we had to prepare two dances in four days which is a huge amount to do. You think 'right let’s keep them simple' but you can't because it's the semi-finals and you've got to give it everything you've got.

You also got the chance to dance at Wembley Arena in the last series. What was that like? You cannot explain the atmosphere once the audience is seated. It almost doesn't sound real and you'd think it was one of those audience recordings where you press play. That's how loud the crowd is! For Louis and I, even though we loved being at Wembley, it was our toughest week. The half way mark is always so hard as everyone feels the tiredness and the pressure starts to set in. It’s hard enough trying to practice an American Smooth quickstep when you’re feeling on top form, so imagine trying it when your body is aching and tired.

Were there particular dances where Louis shone?
I often get asked if he is more of a Latin or ballroom boy and I think he's both! However the difference comes in the training, because of his relaxed, calm personality and the way he learns best in training. It's easier for him to rehearse the softer dances compared to the ones which require exuberance, high energy and a flamboyant performance. Having said that we all find it hard to rehearse those dances at 10am in a gymnasium! But come Saturday night he does manage to bring out a side of him I don't often see in training, which is great.

Going back to the beginning of your career, how did you get started in the dancing world? I started dancing thanks to my mother whose ambition, if she had been allowed, was to be a dancer. She took me at the age of five, together with my sister who is six years older, to a local dance school in Guildford, at the time called Hurleys Dance School. Without her knowing it was a very good ballroom and Latin dance studio. Many couples travelled from all over the world to have lessons there. I worked my way up through many, many exams from the age of five till around 14 which is when one of the teachers suggested I go into competitive dancing. Previously I had two dance partners with whom I danced for about a year each, and slowly acclimatised myself to the differences of competitive dance. It was at this point Vincent and I were introduced and the rest is history.

When you get some time off, how do you spend it? 
When we are not performing, we are developing choreography, practising, running classes and when we can, holding private lessons. I like to get down to the gym. I enjoy relaxing there, using the Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam rooms. I enjoy television, particularly DIY programmes - lots of tips to be gained there! I am also Patron of three charities which are:
Home Start, a charity helping families with young children that have run into financial difficulties.
The Fountain Centre a charity based in the St Luke's Cancer Centre at Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, that supports people living with cancer.
Danceaid is a new and exciting charity that harnesses the energy of dance to transform the lives of vulnerable children.

And if you weren’t dancing?
I'd like to be involved with animals - perhaps something along the lines of a dog behaviourist, or a trainer. I've always found that kind of thing interesting.

And we have to ask you about your Midnight Tango partner Vincent. What is he like?
He is a bit of a flirt, but we have a saying in Italian that translates to, ‘the dog that barks never bites’. He is a very typical Italian man - a charmer in many ways. He ́s passionate, fun, and entertaining. It can be funny to see how people react to him in different ways. Oh, and he can dance some steps too!


Midnight Tango UK Tour Dates 2013
7 – 11 May: Birmingham Alexandra Theatre
13 – 18 May: Newcastle Theatre Royal
17 – 22 June: Truro Hall for Cornwall
24 – 29 June: Cardiff New Theatre
1 – 6 July: Hull New Theatre
8 – 13 July: Northampton Derngate
15 – 20 July: Canterbury Marlowe Theatre
23 – 27 July: Manchester Opera House
29 July – 3 Aug: Leeds Grand Theatre

Interview by kind permission of placesandfaces.co.uk

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