We've all seen Strictly Come Dancing on the TV but how will the small screen smash hit translate to the stage?

The answer is very well indeed as the stars of the show clearly demonstrated with a dynamic performance at the New Theatre on Tuesday.

With the evening performance sold out, we secured some seats for the matinee.

READ AGAIN: Popular restaurant chain announces Oxford opening

And the Strictly stars were out in force - no fewer than 10 of them have dedicated their lives to Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals.

They are: Dianne Buswell, Vito Coppola, Carlos Gu, Karen Hauer, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Jowita Przystal, and Nancy Xu.

Five of the dancers are quite new to the show, so the tour gives them the opportunity to get to know each other better.

Oxford Mail: Strictly stars at the New Theatre

As director and choreographer of the Strictly Professionals tour, it's Jason Gilkison's role to recreate the magic you see on your TV screen and bring it theatre audiences.

Of course there is no Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, no celebrities and no judges but the professionals more than make up for their absence.

READ AGAIN: Harry and Meghan caught up in car chase 

During an action-packed evening of energetic routines the dancers get the opportunity to show off their skills, and reveal their personal stories.

Dance routines were intertwined with the dancers' personal journeys, with many of them leaving their families and travelling thousands of miles at a very young age to dedicate their lives to dance.

Mr Gilkison said: "On the tour they are free to let their talent shine and really push their artistic ideas, because sometimes when you're working with a celebrity partner, you veer towards things that work perfectly for them. It's important for the professional to stretch their wings."

He added: "It also gives me a chance to see what makes them tick as a dancer and nurture aspects of their personality that can be highlighted in the series, so it all feeds back in one big Strictly circle."

Oxford Mail: Strictly stars at the New Theatre

While Neil Jones is perhaps not the most prominent dancer on the TV show, here he is given the role of 'cast clown' and gets some of the best lines to win over the audience, joking about being the oldest dancer on the tour.

Carlos Gu and Nancy Xu perhaps stole the show with their partnership, and following a night of sensational dance routines, the 1980s finale had the crowd on their feet dancing to old favourites including Dexy Midnight Runners' Come On Eileen.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Professionals was perhaps not what I expected but it was full of colour, joy and excitement, with sparkling costumes to accompany the dance routines, and moving insights into the dancers' lives.

Andy Ffrench


Help support trusted local news 

Sign up for a digital subscription now: oxfordmail.co.uk/subscribe 

As a digital subscriber you will get: 

  • Unlimited access to the Oxford Mail website 
  • Advert-light access 
  • Reader rewards 
  • Full access to our app 

About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.