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It’s goodbye Strictly and hello Aberdeen and Inverness for busy Oti Mabuse

Oti Mabuse is excited to be bringing her I Am Here tour to Aberdeen and Inverness.
Oti Mabuse is excited to be bringing her I Am Here tour to Aberdeen and Inverness.

Oti Mabuse might have said goodbye to Strictly Come Dancing, but she’s saying hello to Aberdeen and Inverness when she arrives with her ground-breaking UK tour, I Am Here.

“I want people to feel like they are coming to watch a great party,” said Oti, about her first solo outing, described as a celebration of the influences and inspiration from her South African childhood to living her dance dreams.

“I want them to get emotionally involved – but they should also prepare their hands with moisturiser because they will be clapping so hard,” said Oti, who just finished her stint as a judge on Dancing On Ice after the final last Sunday.

Oti Mabuse has been busier than ever since announcing her departure from Strictly Come Dancing.

There will no doubt be many Strictly fans in the audience for I Am Here – which arrives at Eden Court on May 2 and 3, then the Music Hall, on May 6.

The dancer said it was a tough decision to leave the hugely-popular BBC show – wanting to go when she was at her peak – but she has been buoyed by the “amazing” reaction to her choice.

Oti was buoyed by wave of support after her decision to leave Strictly

“Everyone’s been really, really supportive,” said Oti, who twice won the Glitterball, with Kelvin Fletcher and Bill Bailey.

“There are some people who are like ‘no, we don’t want you to leave, we want you to stay doing the same job forever’ – okay, I’m glad.  But people understand that with every job you either get promoted, find another job or move on, so they’ve wished me luck.”

On the day we were chatting, the news had just broken another much-loved Strictly pro – Aljaž Škorjanec – had decided to hang up his dancing shoes on the show.

“I just came off the phone talking to him just now, checking how he’s doing. He’s okay,” said Oti.

Oti Mabuse was the only Strictly pro to win the Glitterball twice in a row, first with Kelvin Fletcher then with comedian Bill Bailey.

“I was just reminding him of how much he is loved, not just by me, but the crew, the cast, the professionals and the nation.

“I wish Aljaž nothing but the best in life because he’s such an incredible dancer and a big part of the show. I’m sending him all the best wishes and love for his future because he has his own goals, hopes and dreams that now he is going to fully go after.”

Oti has been busier than ever with TV duties – including Dancing On Ice

Oti has been busier than ever since announcing her own Strictly curtain call, including her Dancing On Ice judging duties. Did she enjoy her time on the show, which saw Regan Gascoigne and his professional skating partner Karina Manta pick up the trophy in Sunday’s final?

“Did I not look like I was having the best time of my life every single Sunday night on prime time live TV? I absolutely loved it,” she said, laughing.

“It’s live television and there is that thrill of having to be in the now, your words are important, and you are watching some incredible skating.”

The final also gave Oti the opportunity to work with skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean on a routine adapted from her I Am Here tour, in a unique fusion of ice and dance.

Oti tells all about her new ITV dating and singing show Romeo and Duet

Dancing On Ice might be over, but Oti isn’t finished with her TV duties just yet. She is hosting a new primetime ITV show, Romeo and Duet, which fuses dating and music shows, due to start on April 16.

It will see singletons stand on a balcony being serenaded by potential love matches they can hear but not see.

“If they hear a voice they like, they come down the stairs and meet them,” said Oti. “Once we have four couples, they sing in front of our live studio audience and the audience gets to decide who they think has the best chemistry.”

The series has already been filmed – but Oti is staying tight-lipped on whether there are any lovelorn north-east hopefuls in the mix.

“It’s a surprise, you’ll have to watch the show… but there are people from all over the country.”

Oti Mabuse loved her time on Dancing On Ice.

On the TV front, let’s not forget Oti’s return in The Masked Dancer – “it’s bonkers” – and also her forthcoming trip to her South African home to film a documentary for the BBC about growing up there as a dancer.

Oti is proud to be the first solo female dancer to tour the UK

But before any of that, there is the I Am Here tour, criss-crossing the UK with more than 50 dates.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s something I have never dreamed of having, especially as a woman. There’s never been a solo woman (dancer) ever go out on tour on her own… and to do it as a female from South Africa and say this is my story,” said Oti.

She is promising an explosive night of music and dance, from jives to sambas to traditional South African dances, with the dancer joined by world-class dancers and West End singers and musicians.

Oti Mabuse will bring her I Am Here tour to Aberdeen’s Music Hall and Eden Court in Inverness.

And Oti has a simple message for fans coming to see her in Aberdeen and Inverness.

“I am so excited to be myself in Aberdeen and Inverness and come and see these beautiful places,” she said.

“I’m hoping people come in and open their hearts and minds to being entertained, to having their emotions kind of played with and also seeing live music, great outfits and great chat.”

For information and tickets for Oti Mabuse in I Am Here at the Music Hall go to aberdeenperformingarts.com

For her shows at Eden Court go to eden-court.co.uk


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