Category Archives: Reviews

@CakeGenie reviews Arlene Phillips – The Glitz, The Glamour, The Gossip

Over the past few weeks, Arlene Phillips has been touring the country with a tour where she talks about her life and career in dance. Sadly it has now come to an end 😢, however the lovely @CakeGenie, Alison, was lucky enough to see the show at the Duchess Theatre, and agreed to review the show just for us. Here’s what she thought of the show:<<
lene Phillips – ‘The Glitz, The Glamour, The Gossip’

On Monday night, I saw this show which has Arlene, in conversation with Jacquie Storey, talking about her life & career in dance. I’m not normally a fan of this type of show, but I was held captivated all through – what an amazing life she has had !

From her childhood in Manchester, her family scraping to get her to dance classes, through her move to London & the formation of Hot Gossip, her film career and of course, Strictly, Arlene told frank & honest stories about herself, the stars she has worked with, and a few juicy snippets of Strictly gossip ! Tales of working with Diana Ross, Freddie Mercury & Elton John – including the video of ‘I’m Still Standing’, which featured Bruno Tonioli as a backing dancer ! This lady has had an amazing career in choreography, I’m sure she could have spent the whole day on that stage, and only covered a fraction of her experiences ! I hope that we get a ‘Part 2’, or even an autobiography.

There were quite a few Strictly stars in the audience – Shirley Ballas, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones & Judge Rinder – some of her Hot Gossip dancers, and others from the world of dance & TV, including The Ballroom Giant, Gary Edwards.

It really was an outstanding evening – a shame it was the last show, as I would urge everyone to see it, as Arlene truly is a living legend !

Thank you Alison. If you saw the show too, we’d love to hear what you thought of it. Comment down below, or tweet @scd_support to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Cassie 🙂

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Strictly Support Group Reviews – Gala For Grenfell

Acts of kindness never fail to touch and move us. In the light of the Grenfell Tower Disaster when we heard that Arlene Phillips had organised a dance related fundraiser we were moved to tears. We’re currently in Italy (or as my 7 year old calls it Gioland) so were unable to attend the Gala For Grenfell on Sunday night. 

Alison, @cakegenie (who not only creates wonderful cakes but writes wonderful reviews too) was there and agreed to review the event for us. Here is a review in her own words:

GALA FOR GRENFELL REVIEW

On Sunday night, Arlene Phillips did something amazing, for a cause close to my heart.

She brought together, at the Adelphi Theatre, London, many of the biggest names from the dance world, including Sir Matthew Bourne & company, Drew McOnie, Ballet Rambert, & also Strictly’s own Anton, Giovanni, Luba, Katya, Neil, Oti, Judge Rinder & Champion Ore, to raise money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

So many dance forms were included – Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, as well as Ballroom & Latin, from world renowned dancers & choreographers.

Giovanni & Luba opened the show, dancing to Un Giorno, a beautiful routine which set the evening up perfectly. Neil & Katya (just off the plane from Miami !) danced to ‘People Help The People’, an incredibly emotional performance, and Ore & Oti had the audience clapping along & left everyone smiling with a fantastic Jive to ‘Happy’. I’d like to say a big thank you to these guys for giving up their time to perform.

It really was a top-class night of dance, & Arlene & her team deserve a ‘10’ (really more like a 15 !) for organising this event.

My only complaint is – no routine from Anton ! If he was just missing a partner, I’d have stepped in for a cheeky little Foxtrot !

Thank you Alison. So that’s what Alison thought of what sounds like a wonderful and emotional show. If you were also there, we’d love to hear what you thought of the show. Tweet us @scd_support or comment below to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Cassie 🙂 

Bella Reviews – Alana Dancing Star – Viennese Waltz – A Tale By Arlene Phillips

If there’s one thing that my 7 year old, Bella, loves as much as Strictly (and unicorns) it’s reading! She is a little bookworm and as a mum, I’ve been searching for Strictlified and Dance-Themed books to keep her occupied during the Summer Holidays and during our Summer Adventures.

Whilst searching, I came across Arlene Phillips’s Alana Dancing Star series of books and could not resist buying one for Bella. They’re aimed at dance-mad kids aged 6-10 and were almost written for Bella. Here’s what she thought of one of the books (after reading it from cover to cover in one day!)


I love reading, almost as much as I love unicorns and Strictly. I really liked this book when I first saw it because Alana looked like Belle from Beauty and the Beast and it also has a dress-up Alana doll which you can cut-out which is great fun.

Mummy told me that Arlene used to be one of the judges on Strictly, before I was born so I knew I was going to love the book before I even started reading it.

In the story Alana wants to enter the Ballroom Bonanza and dance the Viennese Waltz but she has to stay at home to look after her baby sister and cannot practice dancing.

She gets really upset and visits Madame Coco who is a costume designer who makes fab-u-lous outfits and goes on an adventure to Vienna where she gets to dance the Viennese Waltz with princes and princesses.

When she comes back, her dance teacher lets her enter the competition and she wins with her partner Matthew.

It was the best book I’ve ever read and it reminded me lots of Strictly. I liked the bit where Alana went to Vienna in Austria to dance the Viennese Waltz best as it was magical. If it was a dance on Strictly it would get a 10 from Craig and the Glitterball. I’ve asked mummy to get me all the other books as they were so good.

Thank you Bella for reviewing this book! If you or your little ones are looking for a good Strictly-themed summer read, these books are on sale from most retailers, including Amazon where they are £4.99 each. 

If you’ve read one of these books we’d love to hear what you thought. Also, let us know if you have any suggestions for summer reads for young Strictly Fans. Tell us by tweeting @scd_support or commenting below to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cassie 🙂 

Bella Reviews – Karen and Kevin Dance Live! 💃🏻🦄💃🏻

Those of you who follow the blog will know that my seven year-old, Bella, is one of Strictly’s smallest superfans and is also a huge fan of Team Clifton!

The tooth fairy was very kind to little Bella, and bought her tickets for not just one of their shows, but two! On Friday night, we went galavanting into Guildford and then yesterday evening we went wombling into Wimbledon! 

Here is what she thought of the show in her own words:

I love Kevin and Karen as much as I love unicorns and Strictly (note from mummy, that’s lots!) so I was really happy and excited to be seeing them this weekend. On Friday night, I went with my mummy, daddy and little sister Elodie and yesterday Mummy took me and my best friend from school and my grandma to see it.

Everyone needs to see this show, it is amazing, awesome, fab-u-lous, sparkly and magical and if you don’t go to see if you are missing out. If you have already seen the show, you need to see it again, because it just gets better and better.

It tells the story of Kevin and Karen and is a bit of a love story but also shows through dancing how they got into dance. My favourite bit had to be Kevin pretending to dance when he was little, it was really funny and I couldn’t stop laughing, but I also loved their Paso Doble. Mummy tells me the Paso Doble is from Spain, but I think she’s wrong; it’s from Grimsby. Kevin is the Paso King and Karen, the Paso Queen.

The costumes and music are beautiful and all the girls looked like princesses in their outfits!

If I were judging the show on Strictly, I’d give it 4 10s and a Glitterball because it is awesome! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside like a hot chocolate does and I think this show would make even a really grumpy person smile a lot! 

So there you have it, Bella’s review of Karen and Kevin Dance. I have to say it is one of the most well-choreographed, directed and danced shows we have ever seen. It’ll make you laugh so much your cheeks ache, there are moments which’ll make you cry and moments which just leave you mesmerised. If you’ve been to see the show too, we’d love to hear what you thought of it. Simply tweet @scd_support or comment below to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Cassie (and Bella)

Kevin and Karen Dance Tour – A Review by @Tufty1985 – Sasha

2017 is officially known in our house as The Year of The Tour. As the wonderful Remembering Fred tour has ended (for this year) another tour has started. 
Yes, Kevin and Karen have set off around the Country on their tour. It’s a show that is set to tell the story of a boy from Grimsby and a girl from Venezuela. We’re super excited, and although we won’t be seeing it for another few weeks (*starts a countdown eagerly in anticipation*) one of our wonderful followers Sasha, was lucky enough to see the show in Ipswich on Friday. Here are her thoughts on the tour.
 I Left my home town in the pouring rain and got to Ipswich. After a brief stop for dinner at Maccy D’s, I headed to the theatre.
I wanted to locate the stage door and who should I see but Jo ☺ she gave me a hug and we walked and chatted for a bit. She is amazing.
Then I headed into the theatre – purchased my programme and waited to go in. I had a brief wait but once I got in I had an amazing view.
Jo was also in the audience and before the show she was signing stuff n posing for pics – then the show started and the first act was amazing – charting their stories growing up in Venezuela and Grimsby. If you’re a Gorka the Corker fan, you’ll need a fan during the 3rd dance.
The singers and other dancers – Luba, Gorka, Patrick, Jasmine, Ashleigh and Jake are amazing as are the singers Andrew and Alison.
The highlights for me were seeing my faves and the emotion on Kevin’s face when we all gave them a standing ovation for their incredible Paso Doble
It was an emotional night and one I will never forget!
@Tufty1985
Thank you Sasha! If you’ve been to see Kevin and Karen’s tour, we’d love to hear what you thought of it. Simply tweet @scd_support or comment below to let us know.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Cassie 🙂

Let’s Dance The Night Away – A Review by @SparkleyAlex

We love a good trip to the theatre, especially when it has something to do with our favourite show. When the lovely Alex told us she was going to see the opening night of Pasha’s sixth tour, we kindly asked her to review it (in our capacity as members of the Pasha appreciation society!) Here’s what she thought of the show:

I went with two fellow Pasha mad friends to Redhill to see the first night of Pashas sixth tour – we met up with Antony (Pasha and Oti’s agent) in a nearby restaurant where we had the first of two hugs and pics.

On entering the theatre the show started with a Q and A with Pasha and Mike Newman. This lasted for 20 minutes before the main show. It is the BEST show he’s done so far partly as it’s been entirely choreographed by Anya and tells the story of their departure from Russia and their life since then.

I promise not to spoil things but the show has a distinctly Russian feel to it AND pashas unique take on Gangnam style is a must see!

Thank you Alex. If you’ve seen or are off to see a Strictly themed show soon you can let us know by tweeting @scd_support. We may even let you review the show.

Cassie 🙂

Somewhere in Time – A Review by @SparkleyAlex

We all love a trip to the theatre to see some of our Strictly favourites. 2017 is being named #TheYearOfTheTour in our house, with several visits planned to see Janette and Aljaz, Karen and Kevin, Flavia and Vicent, Ian and Natalie and Pasha *realises she’s seeing a lot of Strictly stars this year* very soon.

Last Friday, the lovely Alex, went to the theatre to see Ian and Natalie’s new show, Somewhere in Time. Here’s a brief review of what she thought of the show:

After a horrid year healthwise last year I wanted to treat my mum. She is Ian Waite’s number 1 fan so I thought I would treat her to her first strictly experience because, as we all know you are never too old to learn to dance.

We arrived at the theatre and after mum parked the car and joined me in the auditorium in ROW B we made ourselves comfortable and the show started with a very very colourful Quickstep which got the show off to an energetic start.

What followed was I have to say my favourite moment of the show – following Ian’s admittance that his favourite dance of last yr and as you know my favourite dance – Yes that Salsa by ED balls he and Natalie performed a flawless version of Gangham Style.

Ian’s Favourite Dance (and ours too!) Ed and Katya’s Gangnam Style

I don’t want to spoil the show for those going to the rest of the tour but look out for a lot of audience participation and you have to be fit to take part as a fit steps routine is involved (not for the faint hearted.)

The show ends with a beautiful rumba and there is a meet and greet after.

Alex meeting Natalie 😍

Hope this is ok 

Alex

Thank you Alex for your review. If you’re going to see a Strictly show soon, let us know and we may even give you the chance to review it.

Cassie 🙂

Strictly Come Dancing Live – 2017! – A Review

Friday night was an extra special night in our household. Not only was it time for us to head off to Wembley to see the Strictly tour, but it was the youngest member of the Strictly Support Group’s first outing to a tour. Yes, little Elodie (aged 2) went to Wembley.


As we arrived and prepared ourselves for what was set to be an uh-may-zing night, we were greeted by the sparkliest and largest Glitterball we had ever seen. It was so fab-u-lous, both our girls wanted to take it home with them. *gives the Strictly Tour team an idea for merchandise next year.*

Before we knew it it was time for the show to start. We had been excited about this tour for many months. Not only was it the tenth anniversary of the Strictly Tour, but it was also a bit emotional as it’s Len’s last outing as judge on the tour. We were also over the moon that 6 of our favourite members of the Class of 2016 were performing Ore, Danny, Louise, Daisy, Lesley and Ed. It looked set to be an amazing night.

The show did not disappoint. With more professional dancers on tour than ever before, we were treated to some of our all-time favourite Strictly Routines.

The “pillowtalk/cell-block tango” routine wowed us and had us on the edge of our seats (especially as there was an aerial performer thrown into the mix too.

The West-Side Story routine captivated us with the romantic love story between Janette and Aljaz followed by Karen Clifton portraying Anita from West Side story perfectly!

The show kicked off with the energetic Hairspray group number from Blackpool. We felt it appropriate they danced to the song “nicest kids in town.” This year’s cast came across as the nicest and loveliest cast on Strictly ever. We had not one, but 15 favourites, and they truly were the Nicest Kids in Town. Little Bella loved it so much she did not stop dancing throughout the routine.

We were also treated to some of our favourite routines from each of the couples.

Daisy and Aljaz performed their groovy Salsa and their unforgettable waltz, which moved us to tears it was so beautiful.

Ed and Katya performed their American Smooth and their Gangnam Style Salsa. There was a roar of applause when Ed performed the lift that almost became a disaster perfectly and we were also happy to have seen the routine that became one of our highlights of 2016, Ed doing Gangnam!

Louise and Kevin performed that perfect Paso for which we have one word, #slay, and their hoedown of a quickstep which brought us joy and made us smile from start to finish.

Ore and Karen performed the Jive and Showdance. Both these routines were two of our favourites from the live shows, and their energy as well as their passion for dancing shone through in each performance. They really did do Joanne proud!

Lesley and Gorka performed the quickstep and charleston. We can honestly say Lesley’s energy is admirable. She’s in her 70s yet kept up with people half her age. It led to my 6 year old telling me that she wants to be able to dance like that when she’s 70!

The winners on the night were Danny and Oti who performed their perfect Charleston and THAT Samba. Both dances were even more impressive seeing them in the arena. We’re sure that Danny has a career ahead of him in the West End. What was more touching was that he could not believe he received a Standing Ovation for that Samba.

As well as the dancing, we also had some comedy moments including Craig attempting the Gangnam Style (after a challenge from Ed,) Len letting us know he still sleeps with his Ninja Turtles (glad we’re not alone!,)  Kevin’s pleas for votes (and a tantrum at the end when they didn’t win 😂 – he is the king of comedy!) Gorka’s attempt at Cockney Rhyming Slang and Katya showing off the knowledge she has gained from dancing with Ed Balls.

All those performing shone bright like stars on the Dancefloor and we must also give credit to Anita Rani (last year’s tour runner up and Strictly 2015 contestant) who did a brilliant job hosting the tour. Credit also has to go to Karen Hardy who turned judge on our couples. Her knowledge and her comments made us realise that she could easily step into Len’s shoes. We also loved that she gave Ed a 10 for his Gangnam Style routine!

We say this every year and will say it again, this year’s tour was better than ever. Yes, it was the tour’s 10th anniversary, but it wowed and amazed us even more than we thought it would. From the production to the costumes, to the music, to the dancing, everything was pure class! Strictly just keeps getting better and better. We cannot wait to see what the team have up their sleeves for 2017.

Strictly, Thank you for an amazing night. From us, you score a 10/10 with a sparkly Glitterball on top!

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If you’ve been to see the tour, we’d love to hear what you thought of it! Tell us by tweeting @scd_support or commenting below to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

Cassie 🙂

Shape and Tone with FitSteps – A Review

We’re currently working hard training to run in this year’s London Marathon, and whilst long running and personal training sessions are on the agenda over the next few weeks, when we heard that there was a new FitSteps DVD, we quickly purchased it to ensure our weekly fitness sessions are super fab-u-lous!

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In case you have been living under a sparkly rock for the past few years, FitSteps is the dance fitness craze brought to us by the lovely Ian Waite, Natalie Lowe and Mark Foster. It is a dance fitness programme where you get to learn steps from some of your favourite Strictly dances and is a lot of fun.

We already reviewed the previous FitSteps DVD a couple of years ago (click here to find out more and see our review.) and this DVD continues where the previous DVD left off. It features 3 30 minute dance workouts which are designed to get you fit, toned and feeling great – fast!

For Latin Lovers there is a Latin work out (with Ian) and for Ballroom fans there is a Ballroom work out (led by Natalie.) There is also a 4 x 4 workout. The workouts will really get you up, dancing and your heart pumping. The workouts are easy to follow and the workouts great fun, so if you struggle at the thought of jumping off the sofa to do any activity, this will definitely help!

Where the previous FitSteps DVD helped you learn the basics of Ballroom and Latin whilst getting a workout, this DVD gives you some more challenging steps which we’re sure will give you a thorough workout and leave you grinning like the cheshire cat. Dance really is good for the soul and always makes us smile! Rather than feeling exhausted (after a 30 minute workout) we felt refreshed, invigorated and had a spring in our step!

If you haven’t danced before or completed the previous FitSteps DVD you may find the steps a bit challenging, but with perseverance anything is possible! I even managed to get a 8/10 from my uber-critical 6 year old for my efforts!

If you’re looking for a fun dance workout that you can do from home, this is it! FitSteps – Shape and Tone is available from all good stockists (including amazon.co.uk) and is great value at £10!

If you’ve tried this DVD, let us know what you thought. You can do so by tweeting @scd_support or commenting below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Cassie 🙂

Our Dancing Town – Skipton (A Review)

Those of you who follow our blog will know we’ve been following a new series on BBC Two, called Our Dancing Town.

If you’ve watched Gareth Malone’s The Choir, this follows a similar pattern and follows West End Actor and Choreographer Steve Elias travel around Yorkshire to help this county show its essence through dance.

Tuesday night’s show was the turn of Skipton to shimmy and show us what it was made of! Skipton is a beautiful traditional farming town and it was clear they had a huge dance community and a passion for dance!

Where as last week Steve had struggled to find people to take part from Barnsley, the people of Skipton were right behind him and came in their hundreds (and possibly thousands) to create a dance capturing their essence.

Along the way we met three people with phenomenal dance talent. We met Alice, a student who had studied ballet, modern and tap but had not danced for some time, Elizabeth, a trained ballet dancer who had to give up dance due to illness and Barbara who used to dance Jive but had not danced since her husband died.

Steve not only managed to create what was a brilliant dance tribute to Skipton, but he also reunited the farmers and market traders who had lost touch with one another.

It was great once again to see another community come together in dance and work together to produce what was a wonderful flashmob style production on the streets of Skipton!

If you watched the show, we’d love to hear what you thought of it. Tell us by tweeting @scd_support or commenting below. We look forward to hear from you. If you missed out, don’t fear, you can catch up on BBC iPlayer

Cassie 🙂