The Gazette chats to Strictly Come Dancing's Flavia Cacace about Midnight Tango (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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The Gazette chats to Strictly Come Dancing's Flavia Cacace about Midnight Tango
I HAVE had to listen to many a man of my acquaintance speak dreamily about the gorgeous Flavia Cacace ever since BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing made her a household name.
Not only is she beautiful, but she is also professional and eloquent – and plays the viola! - as I find out when I have a quick chat with her to promote her appearances at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre next week.
She and her long-term dance partner – and former boyfriend - Vincent Simone are coming to the venue with their acclaimed West End show Midnight Tango, an elegant journey into a late-night bar in Buenos Aires. In addition to Flavia and Vincent, it stars some of the finest tango dancers in the world and has been produced by former Strictly judge – and dance legend - Arlene Phillips.
“We started the show last year in Jersey and we didn’t know what was going to happen,” 31 year-old Flavia admits.
“There’s a storyline in there and we weren’t sure if people would understand what was happening. It was a real gamble but the reception was amazing and gave us huge encouragement.
“Then we were offered the theatre in London for 10 weeks and to be offered a West End theatre was amazing. That was a career highlight for us – it was overwhelming.”
What must have been most satisfying were the glowing reviews. Tough critics were unanimous in their praise, awarding the duo’s efforts four and five stars across the board.
Flavia, who had another very memorable year on Strictly in 2011 thanks to her partnership with Russell Grant, recalls: “I remember on opening night we were so nervous, but the reviews were amazing. We couldn’t have asked for any more. We were so, so pleased. For a dance show to get that…” and she trails off, still scarcely able to believe it.
The youngest of six children, Flavia was born in Naples but moved to Guildford with her family when she was four. She met Vincent at Danceworld in the Surrey town, and they became partners 14 years ago before turning professional in 2001.
Is she proud that they practically introduced the sensual Argentinean tango to this country?
“We feel very privileged that we were one of the first couples to perform the dance on Strictly and to think that we have changed people’s opinions on a dance is pretty satisfying. It is an amazing feeling.
“To do a whole show of Argentinean tango is a real challenge but we have managed to use all the styles and put together something that is very different; it is not just one dance after another.
“We definitely have the theatre bug now. We are used to ballrooms but now we have loved the atmosphere of the theatre and the possibilities of what we could do are endless.”
Fans of the show which made her famous needn’t worry though, as she is adamant that her passion for helping famous people find their rhythm is undiminished and in fact was boosted by Russell’s performance on last year’s season of Strictly.
She says: “Russell has probably had the most success of anyone who has appeared on the show. A lot of them do the show because they want to get into other things and it’s a way of being seen and getting your personality across. Sometimes it works and they get other jobs, sometimes they don’t.
"Russell approached it in the right way and gave it everything and he went into the West End and has endless offers, rightly so. He’s proof that anyone can dance who has rhythm. It’s inspired anyone of any age and background to see what they can achieve.
“The journey was a roller coaster and he’s still on it. No one can compare with him, really!”
Many would counter that he was lucky to be paired with the incomparable Flavia, who is also winningly appreciative for the support of her Strictly fans, a lot of whom have been backing her since she joined the programme in 2006.
“The general public are the people who keep us sane and who keep us doing what we do,” she asserts. “We have so little time to focus on doing anything other than what we do best, which is dancing, rehearsing, performing, so we are not aware of what goes on outside sometimes.
“The feedback we get from people in the street and after the show, that’s what inspires us and makes us want to carry on and keep going.”
And she has no intention of stopping dancing any time soon, saying that the passing years have increased, not diminished, her passion for the medium.
“When you’re younger, you tend to take things for granted and there are other things going on in your life like studying. The older you get, the more you understand it and the more you can do it.
“Rather than wearing off, dancing becomes more of a passion. It is not a chore at all.”
*Performances of Midnight Tango take place from June 12-16. Tickets are available from the box office on 02380 711811 and online at mayflower.org.uk.