Dancing Strictly stars get ready to 'give it their all'

This Is Local London: This year's teachers and Dancing Strictly contestants. This year's teachers and Dancing Strictly contestants.

This year’s Dancing Strictly stars have teamed up with the talented teachers who will put them through their paces ahead of the grand final in the New Year.

Eleven couples have signed up to the North London Hospice contest for their chance to follow in the footsteps of their favourite Strictly Come Dancing celebs and win their very own glitter ball trophy.

For seven weeks, professional teachers from Studio 45 and Mina Queen of Salsa will be pushing the contestants to their limits to make sure they are ready to put on the show at the Bruce Forsyth Auditorium at Millfield Theatre in Edmonton on Saturday, February 22.

The budding dancers were introduced to their coaches for the first time at a meet-and-greet at N20 restaurant in Whetstone last night.

Dance teacher Rob Orsi, who owns Studio 45 in Kentish Town, said: “During the first few weeks we’ll be seeing what they’re capable of and we’ll work with them on certain routines to suit them. If they give it their all, we'll do all we can to have them ready for the show. We’ll have our hands full but it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s all for a good cause.”

Among this year’s hopefuls is Paul O’Donaghue and his sister-in-law Elaine O’Donaghue who will be dancing a waltz.

Mr O’Donaghue, a 50-year-old decorator from Whetstone, knows first-hand the work the hospice does after his sister, Mary, and father, Paddy, both died there.

He said: “The hospice is a really great place, and it immediately takes the stress and worry away from the whole family.

“I can’t wait to start learning our routine. The teachers seem brilliant and really keen to help everyone train. I’m looking forward to learning how to dance properly – it’s a one-off opportunity.”

Each couple has been tasked with raising as much money for the hospice as they can before the final showdown in February.

The Times and Independent Series has teamed up with the hospice and will run weekly articles in the run-up to the show on how the dancers are coping with their routines and what it means to them to be taking part.

Judi Guy, fundraising manager, said: “The hospice costs £6.5million a year to run – 23 per cent of that is given by the NHS and the rest we have to fundraise. This is a great way of getting people together to do something fun and help raise some money.”


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