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We will be doing it big, doing it right and doing it in style; Marion McMullen chats to Strictly stars Alja korjanec and Janette Manrara about wedding plans, mirrorballs and paying homage to Fred Astair.

Byline: Marion McMullen

How intense is it doing Strictly Come Dancing? Janette: Strictly takes over our lives all the way to Christmas. We are busy all the time rehearsing, but there is a great energy about it all.

(Laughs) There is no competitiveness with Alja. The show is so stressful that there is no time. There is so much to worry about. We are there to support each other.

Alja: We work together 24/7, but when we are doing Strictly it depends on where our celebrities are based. If they are both in London then we see each other almost every day. We enjoy the chance to be creative and do choreography.

What was your first impression of Alja? J: (Laughs) It was 'Jesus, he's handsome.' He came into the dance studio for rehearsals for the show Burn The Floor and we became really great friends long before any romance started. It was a nice courtship. We were friends for a long time and then he swept me off my feet before I even knew it.

You will be both be touring next year in your own show Remembering Fred. Have you been watching a lot of Fred Astaire movies in preparation? A: We have. We've have been watching a lot. I'm really excited and a little bit scared. It is big shoes and dancing roles to fill, but I can't wait.

What can audiences expect? J: There's going to be a live band, tap dancing, two singers ... everything. It's going to be really great evening or entertainment. There is so much great music, iconic movies and amazing dances that we want to recreate. We would never compare ourselves to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but it's going to be our homage them. It's going to be great. Top Hat is my favourite movie and I love the song Cheek To Cheek because it is so, well, cheeky and romantic.

You will also be dancing to showstoppers like Puttin' On The Ritz, Night And Day and Top Hat, White Tie And Tails? What does Fred Astaire mean to you? A: In our world, the dance world, Astaire, really means so much. He has had such a big influence on the careers of people in entertainment. We wanted to do something together and when someone suggested the idea of Fred Astaire we fell in love with it.

What is your strongest memory of the old movies? A: Watching his grace and perfection in the big dance routines and the way he just moved on the dance floor. It is incredible to watch in those old movies.

J: I love the movies he did with Cyd Charisse. Ginger Rogers always looked immaculate and there was that dress with the feathers she wore in Top Hat. I'm really hoping we can recreate the beautiful costumes.

What is your favourite Strictly moment? J: We got engaged last year just before Strictly and it was a special time. We had the ring, we were in love and we were so happy. His parents flew in from Slovenia and they were in the audience and we were dancing to singer Andrea Bocelli. That moment was so special. It just all came together and both us were crying. I was even wearing a long, white dress.

?Remembering Fred arrives at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, on April 9, 2017. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, call 0844 871 3011 for details.

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Strictly Come Dancing stars Alja korjanec and Janette Manrara

Fred Astaire

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 2, 2016
Words:587
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