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Photo: The TCB Group

If you need your Strictly fix ahead of the new series there are some fantastic touring shows featuring our favourite stars, and Here Come the Boys is just one dance show that’s heading to Peterborough.

Featuring Graziano Di Prima, Nadiya Bychkova, Nikita Kuzmin, Pasha Kovalev and Strictly finalist Karim Zeroual, this critically acclaimed West End smash hit show takes to the stage at the New Theatre in Peterborough on Monday July 18.

As huge fans of Strictly here at ESP, we can’t wait to see it, and are so pleased Peterborough has been included in the national tour. After being delayed by the pandemic this tour is much anticipated and with a spectacular cast of dancers, all backed by a huge LED screen it promises to be a lavish production.

Show favourite Graziano Di Prima first joined Strictly in 2018 when he partnered TV and radio presenter Vick Hope.

“It completely changed my life. I come from a small town in Sicily where my parents work in the vineyards. When I first started dancing, my dad said he thought there was something wrong with me.

“Then, when the invitation came to join Strictly, I practically fell off my chair. My parents flew to the UK to watch me dance. The camera found my dad in the audience and tears were streaming down his face. Now he understood what dancing meant to me.”

Photo: The TCB Group

Here Come The Boys, in exactly the same way as it was at the Palladium last year, will be presented by Karim Zeroual, 28, who was a runner-up on Strictly with pro dancer Amy Dowden in 2019.

Best known as a CBBC presenter, he appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Palladium where he made his West End debut aged six. “So I can’t describe,” he says, “how happy I was to be back in that beautiful theatre. I never dreamt that I’d get the chance to perform there again. It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life.”

Now he’ll get to tour with the show, something last time round denied by the pandemic. “What I love about Here Come The Boys is that it encompasses every form of dancing: ballroom, jive, street dance, contemporary, Latin, you name it. There’s something for everyone.

“It’s such a high-energy show, one big party featuring so much talent and a brilliant choreographer in Gareth Walker. And I have the honour of hosting the show which means I get to speak to the audience and get them involved.”

Photo: The TCB Group

It’s second time round, too, for Strictly veteran, Pasha Kovalev. “What I particularly like about this show is that every performance is slightly different. It feels like you’re creating something new each time. We take our lead from the audience and that makes it a lot of fun. There’s a sort of ping-pong between the stage and the auditorium. It’s one of the reasons I like touring so much.”

He’s 42 now. What about keeping fit? “I’m not a great one for the gym; I prefer to work out at home and do a bit of yoga. But, because I danced in Here Come the Boys before, I can rely to some extent on muscle memory. My body knows what to do.”

Nikita Kuzmin 24, makes no bones about it. “Joining Strictly last year,” he says, “changed everything. I was born in Ukraine and lived and danced in three other countries – Italy, Denmark and Germany – before coming to the UK.

“But it was Strictly that made me feel 100 per cent me. I’ve never been as creatively challenged as I was on that first series – and I couldn’t have been luckier in having Tilly Ramsay as my first partner. It felt like a match made in heaven. We then were part of the live tour which was a huge thrill.”

Now, he’s the newbie in the line-up for Here Come The Boys and he couldn’t be happier. Because they went to the same dancing school in Italy, he already knew Graziano and Nadiya before he joined Strictly. Now, he’s getting to know Pasha and Karim. “What is so impressive about the line-up is the diversity everyone brings to the show.”

And, finally, here comes the girl... This is Nadiya Bychkova’s second shot at Here Come The Boys and she’s delighted. “It was an amazing experience,” she says, “and it was lovely to be part of the first show opening up The Palladium again following the pandemic. The first night was very emotional. Now, I can’t wait to repeat the experience plus, this time, we get to go on tour.”

Will her boyfriend and fellow Strictly professional, Kai Widdrington, come to some of the shows? “Oh, I’m sure he will,” she says. “We support each other.” As to whether she and Kai will put together a show of their own and take it on the road, Nadiya remains tight-lipped.

“I love to work hard and I love to dance. So I consider myself very lucky,” she adds. And no, she’s not remotely fazed, she says, about being the only leading female in the line-up for Here Come The Boys.

“The trick is to make it look as though the men are in charge. But then,” she adds, eyes sparkling “isn’t that what women have been doing for men since the beginning of time?”

Don't miss Here Come the Boys at the New Theatre in Peterborough on Monday July 18 - to book your tickets visit:


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