Strictly Come Dancing favourites to bring their hottest ever show to Leeds for one last tango
Ever since Strictly Come Dancing burst onto our television screens in all its glitter and sequinned glory, the nation's passion for dance has sky-rocketed and Saturday night's in have become the new going out.
While watching a handful of celebrities get to grips with a range of fancy footwork has certainly inspired more than a few of us to put our skills to the test on the dancefloor, nothing quite beats witnessing the professionals at work.
Since announcing their departure from the hit TV show in 2013, popular professional pair Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone have capitalised on the growing enthusiasm for dance, swapping the ballroom for the stage with their own elaborate touring productions.
The Strictly favourites are renowned for their sizzling tango style and with three successful touring productions already under their belt, their brand new stage show, Tango Moderno, promises to be their most thrilling and audacious to date - as well as their last.
"The kind of show we put together, with a big cast, sets, props and lots of group numbers, is always a huge challenge," explains Cacace.
"Every time you start the process you think to yourself, 'OK, I'll do it this time but there's no way we can put ourselves through it again'. Physically and mentally it's so demanding."
Despite declaring their previous production, The Last Tango, as their final tour, the dancing couple were inspired to keep going after having an overspill of creative ideas and choreography, but they remain adamant this tour will be the one they dance out to.
"With The Last Tango we got offered ten weeks in the West End after the tour and we couldn't say no to that because it's such a big opportunity," says Simone.
"We found when creating The Last Tango that we had so many new creative ideas and raw choreography that we just couldn’t accommodate them into that production. One of the reasons we left Strictly was because we wanted new challenges and touring has been a challenge, but there are other things to explore now."
"I don't think we'll change our minds this time," Cacace adds.
"We've done four shows, four stories, four concepts that we're really proud of, but I don't think our feet and backs will want to do seven or eight shows a week after this.
"There are so many other things we could do – teaching, choreographing, workshops - there's plenty for us to get our feet into and hopefully if we're not on the road all the time we'll enjoy life a little more."
But while Tango Moderno may mark their farewell to touring life, the dance partners of more than two decades and world champions are determined to go out with a bang with their hottest and most ambitious show to date.
"We've done three shows that have all been based around love stories, where we meet, break up and get back together, but we didn't want to come back with another show about the same thing, so this one will be more flamboyant," Cacace explains.
"This time we wanted to push ourselves and use modern songs with choreographically up-to-date storytelling," Simone adds.
"It's a very modern story that reflects what is happening now, with all of these gadgets and phones and internet dating. We capture the feelings of the moment and evolve it into dance, with an urban poet helping to tell the story.
"We can't keep doing the same thing, so this is really exciting for us."
And despite being joined at the hip for over 20 years, the pair haven't grown tired of performing together just yet.
"It's easy," says Simone.
"We share the same passion and we know how our bodies work together, but there's also a chemistry.
"People say, 'nobody can dance like you do, nobody can do the tango like you do,' and I have to agree. It's that extra magical thing that you can't explain - it just happens."
With a contemporary soundtrack, a captivating storyline and plenty of spectacular dance numbers filled with passion and desire, it's been a labour of love for the professional favourites to create and while they're looking forward to tackling pastures new, they hope the popularity of dance shows will continue long after the final curtain.
"People just love them," Simone enthuses.
"Dance is an art and it can inspire feelings in you - it can make you laugh, it can make you happy, it can make you sad.
"Theatre is the best platform for that and I always say out shows have to be a rollercoaster of emotions."
"Obviously Stricly has made dance popular and it's made it popular amongst men too, which is something that was lacking before," continues Cacace.
"It's about being transported into another world. People can come along for two hours and forget about their lives and their problems, and just enjoy great music and dancing."
Tango Moderno will be on at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 April 2018.