Strictly Come Dancing is one of my absolute favourite TV shows, not least of all because when it starts, that means autumn (and therefore jumpers, hot chocolate, and beautiful leaves) is on its way!
But Strictly is fantastic in so many ways. Having never been a dancer or remotely interested in dance, it surprises me just how much I enjoy it, and that after 6 years of watching, I can now offer a reasonably well-informed opinion on certain dances. And every year it challenges my impressions of people – I end up falling in love with the most unexpected celebrities.
Plus, the professionals are, like, scarily talented. I mean, being leaders in their fields, and national/international champions, you’d expect it, but it somehow goes even beyond that. Every series just gets better and better – more impressive lifts, more emotive storytelling, more challenging chereography…ugh, so good!
My favourite dances are definitely the Charleston, Jive and Quickstep – all of which bring to mind some glamorous, vintage American feelings, whether that’s the cheeky 1920s or the Golden Age of Hollywood. (Though I do love a good Argentine Tango and Paso Doble too!)
And so, because I love and adore top 5 lists, here’s one of my favourite Charlestons on Strictly*:
1. Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice – Hot Honey Rag – 2015
Yaaaaas! This dance absolutely had to be my number one!
Chicago is one of my absolute favourite shows ever, and the Hot Honey Rag has some amazing memories for me, so when Georgia, who was my favourite celebrity in that series, came out and absolutely killed it in this routine, I lost my composure slightly (*a lot). She’s like a little Velma Kelly with that wig on, and she absolutely nails the flapper style and the attitude. I’d literally watch this all day if I could.
2. Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse – Puttin’ On The Ritz – 2016
Charleston! The first 40! Oti! Danny! Blackpool!
So many things to adore in this dance. I was torn throughout the whole series about whether I wanted Danny or Ore to win, and I so desperately wanted one of them to get the first 40 – and in what style Danny did it! Blackpool always calls for bigger and better and my god, did they deliver with this! It was almost impossible to tell in this dance which one was the celebrity and which one was the pro, which is the mark of a really great dance. It also sealed Oti as one of my favourite pro dancers, especially now my beloved Joanne isn’t in this year’s competition.
3. Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole – ‘Rock It For Me’ – 2013
Even if I don’t remember the dance exactly, I’ll always remember ‘Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Charleston’ as being totally magical.
This amazing creation was week two, yes, week two, of the competition, and quite rightly scored a massive 36. Just incredible for so early on in the competition! It’s fantastic for many reasons, but I think what stands out to me most is the amount of solo dancing Sophie does. Not only is it super confident for only week two of the competition, but she’s really flippin’ good at Charlestoning!
4. Mark Wright and Karen Hauer – We No Speak Americano – 2014
5= Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev – Istanbul – 2014
5= Abbey Clancy & Aljaž Škorjanec – Cabaret – 2013
* Disclaimer: the dances are from 2011-2017 as those are the only series I’ve seen.