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Monday, 17 December 2018

Ashley Banjo Interview for Flirty Dancing


What is Flirty Dancing about?

It's like a blind date, but rather than meet up with somebody and then do something more conventional like go to a bar or to a restaurant, you don't speak to this person. You don't know who they are. You don't even quite know where you'll meet them, but you'll bump into somebody. You'll hear the music start to play that you've been rehearsing to for a week, but the person that you're dancing with, it's the first time you've ever seen them, and you have a few minutes to dance with that person, to do a choreographed routine. Then, once it's finished you decide if you like them, what they made you feel like, and if you want to actually see them to go out on a second date. You don't even get to speak to that person, it's all based on how that dance with them made you feel.

Why did you want to get involved in a dating show?

It's a dancing show as well as a dating show which was important to me because as you know, first and foremost, I love dancing. Everything I do normally revolves around it in some way. I’m always open to using dance in different ways. I just find it really attractive, and when we started talking about this show I was just so intrigued.

Do you think with that there's a better chance of a match than we've seen in previous dating shows?

In the real world you talk to somebody and they might get tongue-tied. They might say the wrong thing; nerves might make them a slightly different person. You make a judgment, but that judgment can be flawed because the person doesn't really give you the best version of themselves in that moment. Whereas with this, I don't really think there's any hiding. We almost give people a bit of a helping hand in a way.

Do you feel pressure because it’s your routine that’s make or break for the success of their first meeting?

Yes! I know that they've put their trust in me. Like I said, we don't take this lightly. We do our best to make it right and as representative of the person in question as we can. On the day, let me tell you, I've never felt more nervous! I feel more pressure watching them dance for the first time than I do over any Diversity performance!

What sort of places will viewers see these couples meet and dance together?

That's been a really big adventure. Over the whole summer we went to some really great places, and had some really lovely times. For example we went to an empty St Pancras station in the middle of the night; we've been on the edges of piers, dancing at sunsets and sunrises. We’ve been at viewpoints looking over the whole of London, we’ve been to amazing art galleries and then some lovely romantic locations like bandstands in a park. We really like to set the tone and create these really lovely environments for them to meet and hopefully feel a spark.

You make it sound like a scene from a romantic Hollywood movie!

That's where we started from for every single one of these. In my mind, it's like a short film. Like a little rom-com in its own right. All of them are placed in what could be scenes from rom-coms. Let’s hope sparks fly!

You’ve got Jordan and Perri helping you out. It’s almost like a Diversity team effort!

I love it, I love having the boys with me because Diversity is like my baby! But it’s not just the boys; I’ve got some amazing girls with me too. Diversity is big enough that we've got girls who dance with us all the time, so the company grows and is bound to get bigger. In this show you see different characters, different people and you see our girls helping, you see Jordan helping, Perri helping them. So it's almost like you get to see some of the more extended Diversity family too, which is really nice.

It brings a family feel to the show…

Thanks, that’s exactly what we wanted it to feel like. Do you know what makes a difference as well? When everyone who does it really cares. I could have gone and got people to come and help me and the show would be great, but I think that - the team, all the choreographers, obviously me - everyone really cared about the outcome, so we try and do our best to make people work and look after them, and I think if you start it off on that foot, then instantly I think people have a different experience.

Speaking of family, congratulations on the imminent arrival of your baby girl, have you been given any tips or advice from your family?

Well my family and friends are going baby crazy at the moment, they are being born left right and centre! So I think there will be plenty of advice around. I’m so excited to see our little one grow up and if by any chance she wanted to be like her daddy and bust a few moves, I’ve already got the dancing shoes covered!

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