Things are really set to heat up next month at the New Theatre in Peterborough as two of Strictly’s top professional dancers join together to bring us one sizzling show. Firedance will be a melting pot of fabulous Latin routines as Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez take to the stage on Tuesday February 22 in the hottest show of the month. Sharon McAllister caught up with Gorka to find out more…

As we’re huge fans of Strictly Come Dancing here at ESP, and yes we admit it – big fans of Spanish dancer Gorka ‘the corker’ Marquez – we didn’t hang about when Firedance went on sale. Teaming up with another of our dance favourites, Karen Hauer, we just knew this was going to be a hot ticket!

The original Firedance tour was stopped after only a few shows when the pandemic kicked in back in 2020 so we’ve been waiting a long time to see this.

Chatting to Gorka he told me you can expect hot pulsing beats, seductive choreography, plenty of actual fire and effects as well as passionate performances that will take your breath away.

“It’ll be a little different to what we are used to seeing in the ballroom shows – that’s all glitter and glam, Fred & Ginger – so we ‘re trying to do something a little more edgy, more different,” says Gorka. “And with the live band we can mix in old songs and more modern songs and different versions. It’s going to be a different show with a lot of Latin dances, lots of passion and fire and all very dramatic.”

His dance partner in the show Karen Hauer is from Venezuala and another stunning performer, so the combination of them teaming up is set to be a fiery Latin dance explosion.

“Karen is very easy to work with,” says Gorka. “We have a chemistry and connect – when it comes to choreograph ideas it was very easy.”

Gorka’s flair for dancing started from a very young age. Originally from Bilbao, Spain, aged 11 he attended Ballroom and Latin dance classes where he quickly excelled and became one of the top dancers representing Spain across the world.

He became a fan favourite on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing when he made his debut in the 2016 series paired with EastEnders star Tameka Empson and has been teamed with several celebrities including Alexandra Burke who reached the final.

Many of the Strictly professionals have hit the road touring their own successful dance shows, many of which are heading to Peterborough, so it was only a matter of time before Gorka and Karen decided to showcase their own Latin talents.

“I always wanted to do my own show,” explains Gorka, “but I was always thinking you have to have the right moment, you know... and having this opportunity with Karen, we both have some ideas and a concept of what we want to create, but I think it was the right moment.”

With so many of the professionals now on tour I wonder if it’s getting a little competitive out there, but Gorka assures me that’s not the case.

“No not at all… never has anyone said ‘my show is better than yours’ – it’s always ‘my show is on this date’ and everyone says ‘I will come and see you’. I went to see Giovanni’s show and the boys… we are friends, we work together we are like family we all support each other.”

The incredible success of Strictly has provided an amazing showcase for some of the world’s most talented dancers and given them a new platform that’s propelled them into the public eye. The professionals now attract thousands of fans from all over the world but Gorka is quite modest about his fame.

“The show has so many viewers so people recognise us but I just think I’m a lucky dancer who has the opportunity to work on the best show on the tele, so I don’t think of myself as a celebrity.”

Gorka famously found love with actor Gemma Atkinson when she appeared as a celerity dancer on the show and the couple now have a baby daughter, Mia. He seems quite the devoted dad telling me – “I love it – I can’t imagine now anything without her.”

Now settled in the UK with Gemma, it seems a far cry from Spain but he seems a happy boy.

“I love the culture, I’m very happy living here… obviously I could do with more sunshine in Manchester but I love the country!

“One of the things I love about the British people is how much they love dance and dancing it’s just amazing… here they don’t just appreciate the dance but all the performance, it has such a good reputation here in the UK, everyone loves the show and appreciates what you do.”

We’re sure there’ll be huge support for Firedance which features a live band of Latin musicians and a dynamic dance ensemble performing Argentine Tango, Flamenco, Contemporary, Paso Doble, Samba and Salsa. It promises to be an amazing show of fresh and exciting dance from two of the world’s finest.

This will be 90 minutes of intense dancing – no speech. It’s purely a dance show, but there is a bit of a loose storyline told through the choreography and music which has a Carmen/West Side Story feel to it.

Gorka is big on his fitness as his many Instagram followers will have seen. While learning to dance isn’t going to make many fellas look like Gorka (sadly) he thinks dancing is one of the best ways to keep fit if the gym isn’t for you.

“The good thing about dance is that it’s a way to exercise without thinking you’re doing exercise. Dance uses your whole body, you’re using your brain which is good for memory, for coordination and it makes you socialise with other people which makes you happier. Any kind of dance, anything that makes you move – any kind of dance will help you be fitter.”

Make sure you don’t miss Firedance at the New Theatre in Peterborough on February 22. Tickets are available on or call the box office on 01733 852992.