A summer serving of Strictly...

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YOU hear them loud and clear every week but most of us don’t know who they are.

So right now the Strictly Come Dancing Band are getting their time in the sun, along with some of the show’s professionals.

With new touring show Dance To The Music, at Sheffield City Hall on June 27, the 15 men and women who supply the rhythms and beats for the famous feet get to share the limelight along with Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff and 2010 winners Kara Tointon and her partner, on and off the dancefloor, Artem Chigvintsev.

“The band goes with us to the big arenas as well but they’re always in the shadow of what’s happening because the attention is usually on the celebrities, us and the group numbers,” says Russian mover Kristina.

“The band really is the driving force for everything on the show because they play the music and that’s where it all begins; the choreography and the performance.

“So it’s great they are finally going to be out of the shadows to perform the songs they love to play and the singers sing what they like; not just the choices of music we offer with our celebs. It’s a great combination and collaboration.”

Besides the official post-series tour, some of the other professionals, such as Anton du Beke and Erin Boag, already do their own live tours. And it seems Robin, Kristina and Artem, along with musical director Dave Arch, were itching to do their own.

“We’d always said to the BBC we’d like to do some kind of live show, just a few of us in smaller venues where the audience can feel more up close and personal,” says British-born Robin.

“It just happens the band were looking to tour as well. They’d never been on tour properly before so it was mentioned at the beginning of Strictly last September. Since then it’s grown.

“What’s great about having this in slightly smaller venues is the band give off so much electricity when they’re performing and that makes us dance 10 times harder than we would dance normally to just a CD track.

“The audience are going to be able to feel that and part of the show.

“If you love the music on Strictly and you love the dancing, you’re going to love this show even more.”

Like some of the other spin-offs, Dance To The Music gives Strictly fans a chance to grab a fix months before the next televised battle begins.

“There will be a chance for people to get to know us a little bit more, particularly through our dancing because on the show we often do what we have to do,” says Kristina, whose previous Strictly partners include presenters John Sergeant and John Barrowman and boxer Joe Calzaghe.

“There are rules, things we can’t do on the show, but here we can do whatever we like; any choreography, any length of music, lifts and tricks we want, so it’s going to be exciting.

“And the songs will be a mix of famous hits from Motown era to nowadays, a little bit for everyone.”

While the couple are waiting to hear whether they will be enlisted for the next Strictly TV series they’re clearly proud to be part of something that has become a British institution.

“It’s a very glamorous show you can watch with your kids. You’re seeing someone learning a proper skill. They see beautiful costumes and performances,” says Kristina, who with former Neighbours star Jason Donovan got to the final in March.

Robin didn’t fair so well with former EastEnders actress Anita Dobson when injury stopped him performing and saw the couple leave the show early.

“A lot of people don’t realise what work goes into less than two minutes of dancing – it’s eight/nine hours a day for four days during the week and then every single second you can grab in the studio with your partner,” says Robin.

“But you’re watching people learn something that everybody could do and they get involved in everybody’s ‘journey’. Everybody has one and every member of the public can relate to at least one of the celebrities on there because they’re all from different backgrounds, different talents.

“It’s wholesome family entertainment and there’s a lot of that missing nowadays.”