Interview: Strictly’s Kevin Clifton & Karen Hauer: ‘There’s a lot of eye candy this year!’

THE Strictly Come Dancing professionals give their verdict on this year’s celebrity line-up, reveal who’s one to watch and gush about hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman

It’s time to dust off your dance shoes, flex those twinkle toes and perfect your Paso Doble – Strictly Come Dancing is back!

The much-loved BBC1 show launches this Sunday and promises to be jam-packed with more razzle dazzle than ever.

We caught up with professional dancers Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer as they kicked off the first day of rehearsals at Elstree Studios in London.

And the pair can’t seem to contain their excitement for the show’s return.

“We’ve just met the celebrities. They’re a really talented bunch and a nice group of people,” Kevin told us.

“Yeah, definitely,” adds Karen. “Everyone has such great energy and positivity. It’s a great line up. We’re really excited about the whole show.”

Celebrities battling it out for the glitter ball trophy this year include: Masterchef star Gregg Wallace, radio DJ Scott Mills, pop princess Pixie Lott, Eastenders actor Jake Wood, rugby player Thom Evans and tennis coach Judy Murray.

Kevin and Karen say they’ve never met any of the stars before and are keeping coy about who they’ve instantly bonded with.

“All of them actually. I sort of don’t want to say that I really bonded with someone and then not get paired with them!” laughs Kevin.

“That’d probably be a bit awkward for whoever I was partnered up with.”

Singer Pixie Lott is already the bookies favourite to win the show, however Kevin, 31, thinks it’s far too early to call.

“It’s difficult to know until they’re paired with a professional. I think Pixie will be good but I think it’s going to be an open year. The favourites will probably change week to week.”

Alongside Pixie, there’s a host of young faces such as The Saturdays’ stunner Frankie Bridge, TV presenter Caroline Flack, radio DJ Mark Wright and former Blue hunk Simon Webbe.

Critics have said the show has brought in younger faces to compete with its ITV rival The X Factor, however Kevin thinks this is only a good thing.

“I noticed that as well. I don’t know why they’ve done it but there’s a lot of eye candy this year,” he jokes. “Especially for the ladies!”

Karen, 32, says that even though some of the youngsters are in pop bands and may have had some dance training, they don’t have an unfair advantage.

“Ballroom is a completely different ball game. Learning the techniques, connecting with a dance partner… it’s on a different level,” she said.

“I think that having a little bit of stage presence does help but when it comes to ballroom dancing you have to be in gear and be ready for anything.

“You’re on camera in front of 15 million people dancing a tango, who knows what can happen.”

Last year Venezuelan-born Karen made it to week seven with Hairy Biker chef Dave Myers, while Kevin made it all the way to the final with his newsreader partner Susanna Reid.

Kevin, who earned the nickname ‘Kevin from Grimsby’ as a nod to his hometown in the last series, says he’d love to go all the way this year but doesn’t want to get his hopes up.

“That would be amazing! It was a pretty good first series for me and I don’t know if I’ll be able to top it.

“Obviously everyone wants to win the glitter ball. Another partner who is hard working and fun like Susanna would be perfect.”

Kevin and Karen are not only professional dance partners but they’re also engaged. He popped the question in April 2013 during the stage show of Burn The Floor but the pair admit they’re currently too busy to tie the knot.

Kevin has previously joked that they’ll “perhaps end up getting married live on Strictly”.

Do they find themselves falling out or competing over the show?

Karen says: “The thing is if either one of us is out first, that person has to do all of the cleaning and the shopping. So for Christmas, it’s a win win situation in a way.”

“We’ve very supportive,” adds Kevin.

The pair agree that one thing that will be missed this year is former host Sir Bruce Forsyth. He’s bowed out of the presenting role to be replaced by Claudia Winkleman.

Karen says: “Of course we’ll miss Brucie, he is Strictly.

“I think Claudia and Tess are going to be amazing. I can’t wait to see their chemistry and what else they’ll bring to the table for Strictly. It’s going to be a great series. Girl power.”

While Kevin adds, “I love that they’ve kept it in the family. We’ll all miss Bruce of course but Claudia is brilliant. We love her. Claudia is just hilarious. It’s going to feel really familiar, it won’t feel new.”

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Jennifer Gibney, Bargain Hunt’s Tim Wonnacott, wildlife expert Steve Backshall, Casualty star Sunetra Sarker and This Morning reporter Alison Hammond complete the starry line-up.

World champion dancers Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer are back for the upcoming series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Follow them on Twitter, @karen_hauer and @keviclifton.

Source: Express

Check out Kevin and Karen’s new website!

So Kevin and Karen now have their own official website, which launched today – and it’s looking fab! There’s lots to have a look at, including some lovely photos in the gallery, along with lots of cool info and videos. Make sure you check it out at kevinandkarendance.com :)

They will also be holding a Twitter chat/Q&A this evening (6th August) at 8pm BST – remember to follow and tweet them, @keviclifton and @karen_hauer.

Don’t worry though, Kevin Clifton Fans is going nowhere! We’re ready to support everyone’s favourite Grimsby lad (not forgetting his beautiful fiancée and sister!) through another series of the sparkliest show on TV!

Article: An evening with Strictly stars in aid of good cause

See a professional dance couple from a popular TV show in action at an event for a cancer charity.

The demonstration and Q&A night with Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer has been organised by their friend Anthony Rutherford, of The Studio Dance & Fitness Academy which runs classes in Morpeth. The event on Saturday (7.30pm start) at Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth, also has local dancers and a disco. Call 07725 987195 for tickets.

Source: Morpeth Herald

Article: Strictly Come Dancing stars including Susanna Reid and Aljaz Skorjanec reunited for spectacular dance show in Grimsby with Karen Hauer and Kevin Clifton

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“GRIMSBY must be one of the most talented places in the world!”

Those are the words of Strictly Come Dancing champion Aljaz Skorjanec, after performing at the Grimsby Auditorium as part of An Evening With Karen And Kevin From Grimsby.

Kevin Clifton and his fiancee Karen put on the glittering three-hour bonanza after Flash Mob, a show they were originally planned to star in, was cancelled at the last minute.

So, the Strictly stars stepped in and put together the show, with a little help from parents Keith and Judy Clifton, to a packed audience on Saturday night.

And they were even joined by special guest Susanna Reid, who performed with Kevin on this year’s Strictly, after making their way all the way to the final.

She said: “It was such an honour to come here and perform on Kevin and Karen’s show, I couldn’t believe it when they asked me!

“But I was only too happy to come, and what an amazing response it has been. I just want to thank all those in Grimsby for their support, how could I refuse performing the paso doble in front of them?”

Kevin and Karen performed a number of different dances, drawing standing ovation after standing ovation from the impressed crowd.

Kevin said: “We were feeling pretty nervous beforehand. It’s not every day you have to put together such a massive show as this in just a couple of weeks, so we weren’t sure how we’d do.

“It’s great to finally get to this point, as we never really knew if it would really happen. But it was a great night and everything went smoothly.

“We just need to say a big thank you to all those who came and to all those who made this happen. So many people said we couldn’t pull this off, but we managed to.

“We even managed to keep the secret guest quiet until now!”

His partner and wife-to-be Karen added: “It’s always good to come back here! I now consider myself to be a Grimbarian, so this is like a home show for me.”

Two other Strictly dancers – last year’s winner Aljaz Skorjanec and his girlfriend Janette Manrara, who was paired with designer Julien MacDonald for her first season last year – also performed on the show.

Aljaz said: “It’s great to finally be here in Grimsby. I’ve heard so much about it and I can now finally say I’ve performed here.

“I’m very good friends with Karen and Kevin, so it was an honour to come and perform with them as part of this fantastic show.

“I’ve been very impressed with the talent on show, especially in the competition. Grimsby must be one of the most talented places in the world!”

A new star was also born with the appearance of Kevin’s sister Joanne, who has already signed up to perform in the next series of Strictly.

She retired from professional dancing in December 2013, having being crowned Ballroom Showdance World Champion.

She said: “It was really cool. It was quite weird dancing with Kevin again as the last time we did it was back when I was 13 or 14.

“But I’m 30 now and here I am dancing on the stage of Grimsby Auditorium. It’s great to be back, and the routine was so much fun putting together – we just couldn’t stop ourselves from laughing.

“And now I can’t wait for Strictly to start. It will be something very different and something I’m not really used to, but I’m going to be on TV now! So that’s amazing.”

Three lucky competitors, who won the Grimsby Telegraph’s competition to perform on the show with three Strictly dancers, took part in a mini Strictly-style contest, hosted by special guest Susanna Reid.

The dance novices performed a routine in front of the expectant audience after being paired with Kevin Clifton, Karen Hauer and Joanne Clifton, along with judges Aljaz and Janette.

Roof tiler Steve Courtney, 62, convincingly took home the glitter fish trophy.

There were also performances from contemporary act Alleviate, Irish duo Brosena and young stars from Clifton’s Dance Academy.

Source: Grimsby Telegraph

Article: Kevin Clifton reunited with Strictly Come Dancing partner Susanna Reid at star-studded Grimsby Auditorium show

“GRIMSBY must be one of the most talented places in the world!”

Those are the words of Strictly Come Dancing champion Aljaz Skorjanec, after performing at the Grimsby Auditorium last night as part of An Evening With Karen and Kevin From Grimsby.

Kevin Clifton and his fiance Karen put on the glittering three-hour bonanza after Flash Mob, a show they were originally planned to star in, was cancelled at the last minute.

So the Strictly stars stepped in and put together the show, with a little help from parents Keith and Judy Clifton, to a packed audience on Saturday night.

And they were even joined by special guest Susanna Reid, who performed with Kevin on this year’s Strictly, after making their way all the way to the final.

The pair danced their infamous pasodoble, which proved to be such a big hit with the judges when they performed it in Blackpool.

See Monday’s Grimsby Telegraph for more on this story.

Source: Grimsby Telegraph