Former Strictly star Erin Boag is all ready to step out again on stage in Sheffield with her dance partner Anton du Beke after leaving the TV show to become a mum.
The only female professional dancer to have competed in 10 series of the show, Erin’s celebrity partners included comedian Julian Clary, with whom she came third, goalkeepers Peter Schmeichel and Peter Shilton, snooker player Willie Thorne, impressionist Rory Bremner and lastly TV critic Richard Arnold.
She was runner-up in 2005 with ex-Olympic athlete and TV commentator Colin Jackson and partnered Colin again to win the 2009 Christmas Special.
But of course leaving Strictly didn’t meant leaving the world of dancing and Anton and Erin, who have danced together since 1997, are currently touring in a new show.
Erin said: “The show’s called That’s Entertainment. We’ve got a 25-piece orchestra and lots of beautiful gowns. I have a whole truckload!
“Lance Ellington, who is one of the singers on Strictly, and six amazing dancers travel with us. It’s a beautiful evening’s entertainment.
“We’ve got dancing and singing to songs like Stepping Out With My Baby, A Couple of Swells, the Trolley Song, True Love… an all-round variety of beautiful music and beautiful dancing.”
She added: “We’re especially looking forward to coming to Sheffield, although they could build a bigger stage!
“The City Hall is really nice and we get a great audience in Sheffield. The further north you go, the better the audience. It’s very noticeable.
“It’s not that the people down south don’t enjoy the show, they’re just a bit more reserved. They know what it’s about up north. It makes the show that much more enjoyable.”
She and Anton have built up a big following for their stage shows. “It’s our seventh year of touring. I was pregnant last year so I didn’t do it. Who would have thought? I just can’t believe it myself. This is just as enjoyable as the first tour, probably even more so.
“You get into the swing of things, what works and doesn’t work, what the venues are like. There are a lot of people who have been to every single show and you see the same faces every year at the stage door and say hello.
“It’s like you make friends along the way, which is a nice thing.”
The new mum is enjoying getting back on stage following the birth of son, Ewan, who is 10 months old.
She said: “I’ve got to fit the dresses which is a little harder than I thought. I’m not a 22-year-old spring chicken where it just bounces back! My fitness levels are just as high but gone is the six-pack.
“Everything has sprung back, just not quite the same as it should have.”
Erin said she adores being a mum: “He’s just an absolute joy. He’s a sweet little guy. My mum’s over from New Zealand because of my hours. We can’t get a nanny for that. It’s nice for Ewan, who gets to know his nanna.
“She is here in our harsh winter when it’s 27 degrees at home and it hasn’t rained since Christmas. She misses out on one of the best summers ever!
“It’s great to know he’s in safe hands. His dad comes home at the end of the day and spoils him. I say ‘what’s Ewan doing in my bed?’ and get told he’s waiting up for me!”
Erin added: “My husband Peter has two grown-up kids aged 28 and 24. He started very early first time round. He absolutely loves it.
“It’s my first and probably my only baby. I only ever wanted one and it’s sensible to stop now after Ewan.”
Deciding to become a mum meant that Erin had to leave the show in 2012.
She said: “Strictly starts in September. I retired the year before I had Ewan. I wanted to start a family and I’m very fortunate that I did. I worked on the show for 10 years and it’s seven days a week for the professionals five months a year.
“It’s a really good show to work for but not if you’ve got a baby. They’ve got a job they want the professionals to do . You could end up in Manchester, Scotland, Birmingham or Sheffield, depending where the celebrity is working. Anton spent 10 weeks in Scotland working with Judy Murray.”
Erin said that she still watches the show avidly and of course always cheers for Anton.
She said that she was impressed by this season’s winner Caroline Flack “right from the beginning. You could tell that she was good.
“Her and Pasha were above the rest but the public play a big part in this show. You never know which way they’re going to swing.
“It’s a case of picking up the floating vote, like the thousands who voted for Judy Murray. Where do they go next?
First Caroline was in the bottom two, then she wasn’t. People warmed to her.”
Erin said she has nothing but happy memories of the show and all the celebrities she worked alongside.
“In the 10 years I was on the show, I don’t think there was anybody else’s partner that I thought ‘you’re a piece of work’ about!”
Anton and Erin – That’s Entertainment is at the City Hall next Friday, February 27. Box office: at the venue, call 0114 278 9789 or go online at Sheffield City Hall