Liz Nicholls chats to ballroom dancer Anton du Beke
Q. Hello Anton – lovely to chat to you! I’ve just been shuffling about in the kitchen to your CD… Do you like January?
“Thank you – that’s exactly the reaction I wanted! Well, in January I’m so busy. I’m in the studio working on my tour. It’s incredibly exhausting and I have about a thousand steps to learn so my brain feels like it’s about to melt. I have songs to remember and chat to learn. Erin [Boag] and I tour every January, February, March. So I don’t get January blues. I always feel quite poor, though, because those credit card bills mount up and I’ve gone a bit too mad at Christmas again. 2017 has been the best year ever – getting married and doing so much great stuff.”
Q. Where are you now?
“In the living room at my house in Burnham Beeches. It’s a lovely part of the world. I don’t come from round here; I grew up in Sevenoaks and spent a number of years in central London. When I met Hannah she came from here and I’ve loved to be here and discover the area. Bucks is gorgeous and equidistant between the M4 and M40 which is perfect when I’m on the road. Take the dogs for a walk in the woods – we have two short-hair black-and-tan daschunds called Antoninus and Branston.”
Q. How do you stay healthy?
“We do eat pretty healthily. Hannah is a great cook and we never eat meals you grab out the fridge and shove in the oven. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke but I’ve always lived that kind of lifestyle – it’s not something I’ve worked at, it’s just normal for me.”
Q. Who were your early musical influences?
“Growing up, I fell in love with musicals. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly were my heroes – I wanted to dance like them but didn’t know how I’d go from a church hall in Kent to being Fred Astaire! Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior – those great entertainers – also impressed me, having an orchestra on stage. This album features a 36-piece orchestra who usually don’t do swing but were lovely. The string section were from the Royal Philharmonic – that’s how good they are.”
Q. It was a joy to watch you dancing with Ruth [Langsford] on Strictly at the end of last year! Did you get on with Ruth?
“Brilliant; she’s a joy. She and Eamonn are so funny and Ruth has the best ever sense of humour!”
Q. Do you see much live music?
“A little bit but I don’t go to many big concerts. I found when I went to a few when I was young that you’re just in the way of the performance if that makes sense at all? But I’m always listening to music on Spotify on my phone to find stuff to dance to! And I do love going to all the big shows.”
Q. Your good friend Bruce Forsyth died last year and I’m sorry for your loss. How have you coped with that?
“Thank you. It was a massive shame and a big shock. I spoke to him about two weeks before he passed away and he said he felt a bit better and had been on his exercise machine to start building his strength up. I’ve got a song on the album called Me And My Shadow which is about him and quite an important song to me. I still feel sad but lucky to have known him. People deal with it in their own way, but my life is better for having known him.”
Q. Have you got any dreams for this year?
“No! With the babies and getting married last year and the album and a great Strictly I feel really happy with my lot! All I’d like is more of the same, please… well, no more twins! Actually what I’d like is them to grow big and beautiful and happy.”