Strictly Presents: Keeeep Dancing rolled into Aberdeen this weekend. And judging by the squeals of delight, the audience loved it.
Billed as a chance to peek behind that famous Saturday Night glitterball, it was the latest Strictly spin off to reach the Music Hall.
Kicking off the line-up with a burst of that familiar Strictly big band intro music, appetites were whet from the get go. So thankfully, for all those desperate to see their favourites in person, the most famous faces were quick to appear.
First up was former EastEnders star Maisie Smith – who made it to the 2020 Strictly final. She was then joined by 2021 semi-finalist and TV presenter Rhys Stephenson.
As he slid onto the stage in top hat and tails they were joined by professional dancers Cameron Lombard, Neil Jones, Jowita Przystal and Rhys’s partner Nancy Xu. A fast-paced routine to Should I Stay or Should I Go followed.
The scene was then set for the premise of the show… ‘What is like to be part of Strictly Come Dancing?’
Elephant in the room
As phones rang and the cast reenacted getting the life-changing call-up to one of the UK’s most watched and best loved TV shows, the journey began.
Maisie and Neil wowed with a salsa before pros Cameron and Jowita went into a stunning rumba.
However, the elephant in the room was a six foot Italian called Mikee Introna, standing in for The Wanted’s Max George.
Due to unforeseen circumstances the 2020 series star and much-loved singer pulled out of the tour just days before the Aberdeen show. This left Mikee not just filling gaps to allow for outfit changes, but also filling the shoes of a popstar.
He did a great job, even garnering the odd wolf whistle or two, and his Cleese-esque silly walks in a scene depicting Strictly rehearsals were hilarious. But given Max’s primary role on the tour was to sing, he was noticeably missed between dance numbers, despite Mikee’s best twinkly-eyed winks to the ladies in the audience.
Among the top moments of the night were Maisie and Neil dancing to Gloria Estefan’s Samba and Rhys and Nancy’s mesmerising jive to Teddy Bear by Elvis.
The whole ensemble performed a show-stopping routine to One Night Only. Then, after the break, reprised one of Strictly’s most popular weeks, Halloween.
For a glimpse into movies week, Maisie wowed dancing to Little Shop of Horrors and Rhys took on the role of Ryan Gosling in La La Land.
A Dance-off Royale saw Maisie and her partner face-off against Rhys and his. The pasodoble was the skirt-swirling dance of choice.
A personal favourite was Cameron and Jowita’s gravity-defying Mambolaya routine. They’re definitely two to watch when the show returns to our screens.
The biggest shock of the night, however, was Maisie joining Mikee to belt out Aint No Mountain High Enough.
While her and Rhys’s nod to Blackpool – singing Oh We Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside – had a Cockney lilt she unleashed an impressive soul voice to tackle the Marvin Gaye classic.
It was a stunning moment for sure, but the real star of Keeeep Dancing was dance itself.
What’s entertaining by fancy camera angles and HD TV screens viewed from a sofa, is positively breathtaking in person.
From costumes, to choreography, music choice to the dance style – every element of Keeeep Dancing was spell binding.
When the final ‘Never Stop Dancing’ began, everyone was on their feet clapping and bopping along.
Keeeep Dancing wasn’t just the name of the show, it was the sentiment of everyone there, who really, truly, didn’t want it to end.