He’s been a dancer and choreographer on Strictly Come Dancing and a presenter on spin-off show It Takes Two but Ian Waite has another ambition – to be one of the judges.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive video chat with Ian Waite and rehearsal dance routines ahead of the tour.
Ian, who is appearing in live show Strictly Confidential in Sheffield next week, said: “I think I could take over one of those roles quite easily. I’d be quite critical and technical.
“I don’t think there is anybody out there that knows more than me about dancing on Strictly.”
Ian and his co-stars in the show are telling some of what they know in Strictly Confidential, which combines exciting dance routines from the show with a glimpse behind the scenes.
He is joined by fellow dancers Natalie Lowe and Artem Chigvintsev, plus much-loved celebrity competitor Lisa Riley. They will talk about their own life stories, reveal some of the gossip behind the show and tell what it’s like to work on the huge BBC hit.
The show has been written and directed by Strictly’s most notorious judge, Craig Revel Horwood. He said: “Taking fans behind the scenes of Strictly is something that’s never been done before.
“It’s a real romp through every genre of theatre, there’s a lot of elation and fans will get the chance to learn about some of Strictly’s favourite stars.”
Ian said: “It’s really, really good fun. It goes so quickly when you’re involved in the show because you move fast from one thing to the next..
“Sometimes I have to ask ‘are we in the second half now’, especially if we are doing double shows in one day!”
Ian admits that talking on stage has taken him out of his comfort zone. “I was always frightened of public speaking. At school the teachers would always avoid asking me to read out loud. They would never ask me because they knew I was so intimidated by it.
“With Strictly and having to talk to the audience, it’s actually helped me a lot. But doing this, it was daunting. You have to speak on your own on stage. I’ve been learning a new skill, which is really good.”
One story Ian tells is about dancing with Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams. “Basically she’d come in from a photo shoot. Whilst I was dipping her, I stepped on her wig! It fell off completely. I couldn’t work out what was different about her. It wasn’t until I looked at the floor that I realised.”
Ian doesn’t hesitate to name his favourite celebrity dance partners: “I had the most amazing time with Jodie Kidd. We just laughed from the beginning to the end. Practising with her was so easy. I was most of the time holding my stomach to stop throwing up because we laughed so much.
”It was the same with Zoe (Ball) but there was more pressure on us because she was the best dancer. As far as being close to a partner, we are really good friends still and we do It Takes Two together.”
He is also friends with his toughest celebrity partner, athlete Jade Johnson. “She was a nightmare in the dance studio. She was coached all her life by one coach she had a special bond with.
“She didn’t want to take direction from me. I had to have a discussion with her about everything I told her. She’d be telling me the way I should approach it to teach her. We used to end up in quite a lot of scraps.
“Outside the training room she’s amazing. We’ve stayed really good friends.”
Ian said that one star took him to an exotic location for her training. “I had to go to LA for three weeks to dance with Penny Lancaster. She and Rod Stewart were living in Beverly Hills. Rod said the rooms are so big here you might as well practise at home, so we started to practise in Rod’s Beverly Hills mansion!
“Twice I had lunch with them on the terrace. My dad is a season ticket holder for Reading and they had just gone into the Premiership, so Rod and I spent a lot of time talking about football.”
Strictly Confidential is at Sheffield City Hall next Saturday, July 27. Box office: 0114 278 9789 or go to www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk