Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Flavia and Vincent do the Last Tango at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone. Picture credit Manuel Harlan

THEY delighted millions of people with their extraordinary footwork on the hit BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
And then when they left the programme after seven years, they took to the nation’s theatres with several touring shows highlighting their not inconsiderable talents.
Now Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone are back, and possibly for the last time, with their latest tour The Last Tango.
The pair, who have been dancing together professionally for more than 20 years, are currently shimmying their way across the stages of theatres around the country, one of which is the New Wimbledon Theatre which they will be visiting between February 16 and 20.
In a break from rehearsals Flavia tells me they are really looking forward to it not least because it’s the first time they have performed there.
“It is one of the few venues we’ve not danced in so we are really excited,” she says. “It’s also close to where we live in Surrey so it will be nice to spend some time there.
"We are just doing our first week of rehearsals after a nice break for Christmas so it's been quite an intense week," she laughs. "But it's lovely to get back on the stage and we are looking forward to it."
Last Tango is the final production in a trio of shows the pair have choreographed and Flavia says they want to go out with a bang.
"We love performing our shows and our last two were great and audiences seemed to love them," she says warmly.
"Each one has been a little different but with this one we wanted to push ourselves to the limit and really go for it.
"Also, we’ve been doing our shows for several years now - doing eight shows a week is tough both physically and mentally so we both feel it’s about time to pack away the suitcase for a while,” she adds.
And she promises audiences are in for a treat with dazzling costumes to reflect the style of the dances, fabulous lighting, stunning sets as well as a great cast and live orchestra.
“It’s like a celebration of our best work," she says. "It's a beautiful show, very emotional, passionate, intimate, and with some wonderful dances.
"All our previous shows have had a storyline and this will be no different. This is about a couple who meet and become dance partners. The audience will follow them from the time they meet in the 1920s through to the 1970s.
"There is a real mix of dance styles – from Rumba to Foxtrot, Charleston to American Smooth, West End to Waltz and a special version of the Argentine Tango - and we've matched the music and dances so they tell different parts of the story.
"It's really full on but great fun and we have really enjoyed putting it together and bringing in new elements.
"One of the dances is a Flamenco which I've never done before, so I spent time working with a Flamenco teacher which was a lot of fun. It was nice to do something different and unexpected."
They will be joined on stage by what Flavia calls a family of dancers who help tell the story which she says will appeal to all ages.
“We’ve had some fantastic responses from audiences and what’s great is that everyone, no matter how old, will enjoy it,” she says. “It’s something for all the family which is what we have aimed for."
But where does all the inspiration come from?
"It comes from the music," says Flavia. "The main thing for us is to find music that we have always wanted to dance to or that jumps out at us as being something great for a part of the story. The choreography follows on from the music.
"There are so many beautiful tracks in this show that it's impossible to have a favourite."
I ask if she's sad that this will be the last tour but she says it's time.
"Vincent and I have been dancing together for 20 years so it's going to be emotional because we love what we do," she says.
"We do and feel very lucky and privileged to have had all the opportunities we have had, to perform in front of amazing audiences night after night and create these lovely shows.
"However, we want to pursue new projects and challenges and we want to end on a high."
But she stresses that doesn't mean a return to Strictly.
"We are very lucky to have had the opportunity to do Strictly but that is a box that has definitely been ticked," she says warmly.
"We want to try out some new things, maybe teach dance classes. We won't stop dancing though!
"We may be packing away the suitcase but we won't be hanging up our shoes - it would be impossible to do that!" she adds cheerfully.

The Last Tango is on at the New Wimbledon Theatre, Broadway, between Tuesday, February 16 and Saturday, February 20. Tickets from £15. Visit or call the box office on 0844 871 7646.

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