Flavia Cacace is best known for her six year run on Strictly Come Dancing. During her time on the series she partnered with Terry Wogan, rugby player Gethin Jones, actors Craig Kelly and Jimi Mistry, and gymnast Louis Smith - with whom she won the show in 2012.
Outside of Strictly, she's enjoyed a successful career with her dance partner Vincent Simone, also a professional dancer on the show. They began their careers together as teenagers, competing in Ballroom and Latin competitions in the UK and internationally, but after gaining a following through Strictly Come Dancing, they started touring with their own dances shows.
We sat down with Flavia to discuss their third and final show together, The Last Tango, which comes to Bord Gais Enegry Theatre between the 7th and 11th of June.
Can you tell us about The Last Tango?
The Last Tango is the third of our theatre productions, our first was The Midnight Tango, then we did Dance Til' Dawn and now we're back with The Last Tango. It's a story about an older Vincent looking back, and during the show we take you through his whole life, from when he first met his partner, all the way to the end. It's quite an emotional story because obviously in life, you have ups and downs, happy moments and sad moments, and you get to live that on stage with us. So we do get a lot of teary eyed people by the end of the show.
And this is your last tour with Vincent, does the show reflect that?
Yes, part of the name, The Last Tango, reflects that it's going to be our last theatre show for the time being. We've been on the road for the last 6 or 7 years now, so we're looking forward to putting our suitcase away for a while and getting our teeth stuck into some new things
What are you looking forward about being off the road, and what's next?
We've got lots of things in the pipeline; we're talking to lots of different people about new projects. We'd love to do a film, that would be really exciting, but obviously whatever we do will involve dancing. We're not putting our dancing shoes away, it's just going to be nice to put the suitcases away and have a full wardrobe to choose from again.
Can you describe how you go about putting your shows together?
With the theatre shows, we start with the story. It's less about the individual dance choreography and more about the overall picture and story that we're telling. We let the story guide as to what dances will work best at what points. It's also very much to do with music choices, in a competition you have the dance learned, but you don't know what the song will be until you get to the event. With our show we can pick the songs that we want, place them at various parts of the show, and choreograph accordingly.
You and Vincent have been dancing together since you were teenagers, what's made the partnership so successful and long-lasting?
We've been dancing together since we were 16 and 17, so a long time. I think just the love of dance is what's kept us going. There aren't many dance couples that have been dancing together for that length of time, but I think because of that, we've had the success we've had with our theatre shows. The experience we have together, we know what works for us, and it's quicker when we choreograph dances. We love the same sort of music and that also helps. I think our experience together is probably why people enjoy watching us as well.
You came to the public's attention on Strictly Come Dancing, what impact do you think that's had on the public and their interest in dance?
Strictly has really changed things around for the Ballroom and Latin dancing. When we were armatures, the schools we were learning in were really struggling. It was very hard, there weren't enough people interested in Ballroom and Latin dancing. It was seen as old fashioned especially with the young generation, they weren't into it. We were full on into the competition side of it, and Strictly changed things around. We were very lucky and privileged that we happened to be there at the right time when it was growing and getting bigger and people were really starting to fall in love with the dance.
Which genres of music are your favourite to dance to?
We love all of them; we've always done the Latin, the ballroom and also the tango. I think probably the Argentine tango; the music is amazing, we love to dance to that, we love to choreograph to that and I think it's what people recognise us the most for, even though Ballroom and Latin have been part of our lives for even longer.
Finally, what are you going to miss most about being on stage?
The buzz, the buzz of being on stage is something you can't really recreate. It's a bit like a drug, it's exhausting, it's mentally and physically draining doing 8 shows a week, but after every show you get that feeling of satisfaction of having the audience on their feet. There's no other scenario in life where you're going to get that or you're going to feel that, so that's something we're going to miss and we're going to have to get used to not experiencing as much.