Brendan Cole Q&A
Brendan Cole takes a break from rehearsals for his 2017 All Night Long tour to answer a few questions. Find out about Brendan’s leading ladies, his favourite dances, guilty pleasures and Strictly rivalry!
All Night Long heads to Sage Gateshead Monday 27 March 2017. Book Tickets.
1. You have been in every season of Strictly Come Dancing, why do you think the show is so popular?
Because it has a magic about it. It’s old fashioned, variety entertainment that can be watched by the whole family. It has beauty, drama, excitement, tears… It pretty much has everything you could want for Saturday night tv!
2. To be a dancer you have to be confident and really bare your sole…have you always been self-assured and when did you realise you wanted to perform in front of people?
No I haven’t! I am very confident within what I do as I have worked extremely hard to get to the level that I have. To do anything well you have to believe in yourself and in your ability to do what it is that you are doing. I didn’t find my confidence properly until my mid 20’s. One day I realised that most people were actually so worried about themselves and what others thought of them that they didn’t have time to worry about all of the things that I felt insecure about. I changed from that day forward and have remained fairly self-assured ever since.
3. Do you get nervous when you perform, either on Strictly or when touring?
Not really for Strictly. There isn’t a lot of time to get nervous for the TV show. You need to be in control of the situation. If you are not, what chance does your partner have? I will admit to being nervous on every opening night of my theatre productions (this will be my 4th). Such a huge amount of thought and time goes into putting a big show like this together and you want it to be perfect both for the audience and the cast.
4. What is your favourite dance and why?
Believe it or not it’s the Waltz, but it has to be the right kind of Waltz. When you get a great song that is really emotional, you can tell a really magical, emotive story to it throughout the dance. It’s a lovely feeling. I love seeing the audience reaction as they get swept away within it.
5. Both Strictly and your live tour require huge levels of fitness, can you describe your training / fitness schedule. Do you relax your regime at all?
Dancing in general keeps me pretty fit. Having said that, I am very fit for dance which gives me a certain level of fitness but if I was to try and do a marathon I’d fail miserably. Like anything, you condition yourself for your given discipline. I always chuckle to myself when Celebs on Strictly boast that they are really fit (which of course some are) but then two or three run throughs of a Jive leaves them lying on the floor gasping for breath! It’s funny to watch.
6. On Strictly Come Dancing, is there any rivalry between the dancers and contestants?
A small amount but in a very positive way for the most part. There is much more support amongst the cast than you might expect. I think we all realise that we are very lucky to be on such a great show and going through what is a lovely process together. Towards the business end, the competitiveness gets a little more intense and of course every Pro Dancer wants to have the best music, partner and to create great choreography over the next, but most of that is out of our hands so we just get on with it and support each other.
7. In preparation for your tour ALL NIGHT LONG, do you plan all the choreography for the dances or do you work with a team? How difficult is it to come up with new ideas for song choices and routines?
It is very much a team effort between myself and my cast. I will have certain ideas as to how I want the show to form but it’s important for me to have the cast involved. I love the creativity that comes from that and it makes for a better show. Song choices are difficult, especially now as this will be my forth production. I need to make sure there is something for everyone, old, new and in-between. There has to be excitement, beauty, emotion, character… so much goes into these decisions. My wife Zoe, myself and my Musical Director spend many days, throwing around ideas and eventually we have ourselves a show list.
8. Each live tour features a new team of dancers, how do you select these? The chemistry with a leading lady is very important, can you tell straight away that it’s there?
This, like everything is a process. It’s so important to get the right team. We are 22 artists (dancers and musicians) all on stage and it’s vital to get the right chemistry between us all. When it comes to leading ladies, you kind of just know if it’s right or not! All of my girls could have been my leading lady and everyone’s job on stage is crucial to the success of the show. For All Night Long, Faye Huddleston has been tasked with dancing with me throughout the show and I am so excited to be working with her. Personally, I think we look great together ;)
9. Is it more intimidating dancing in front of the public in theatres rather than to a TV studio audience?
Yes it is, however, when it is your own show, people have come to see you and hopefully they like what you do which makes it more special. On the tele, they might be wanting to see someone else? I suppose that gives a certain pressure and want to win them over? I love a live audience and my tour gives me a buzz like nothing else. The audience reaction is incredible.
10. What can we expect to see on this tour?
All of things that you’d expect from a great entertainment show and more. A complete show! I want every single person that comes to my show to have the most exceptional night of entertainment. I like to think that we create a show that has something for everyone. We have amazing talent on stage… All of the Strictly dance Styles that people love, big band live music throughout, choreography full of excitement, intimacy, emotion & skill. There is a lot of laughter and chat throughout the show as well so essentially, we just have a ball!
11. How do you cope with touring your live shows? Does your family go with you?
It is definitely hard but I love every second of it. To have what you have created appreciated in the way that it has been, makes it the best job in the world. I love touring more than anything else that I do and I think that it shows when I’m on stage. Obviously when it comes to family it is hard. My wife Zoe and our daughter Aurélia don’t often come with me as touring isn’t really conducive to normal family living. As a team we create the tour and my wife Zoe is at the heart of a lot of the decisions I make as they affect our lives so dramatically.
12. If you hadn’t been a dancer, what other career might you have chosen?
I love construction. I can see myself in property once my dancing legs have given up. Hard to know what would’ve been if I’d stayed in the building trade having done it for 4 years after leaving school but who knows what the future holds? I’m always buying tools…it’s the yin to my yang of sequin wearing!
13. Your live show includes a Q&A with the audience, have you been asked any embarrassing questions?
We are going to do things a little differently this year. We are going to try to interject questions throughout the show. It’s a work in progress but it could be fun this way! I love the questions that I have to swerve, makes for a very interesting show and I have certainly been asked plenty of them! Keep em coming!
14. Which dancer past or present do you most admire and why?
I don’t have a favourite. All of the greats were just that…greats and you cannot distinguish between them. Going way back, the Nicholas brothers were pretty remarkable and set the bar very high, very early!
15. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Why feel guilty? Got to enjoy life right!