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Ashley Banjo plays Cupid in Channel 4’s Flirty Dancing and couples don’t meet until they perform live on dating show

Ashley Banjo plays Cupid in Channel 4's Flirty Dancing and couples don't meet until they perform live on dating show

WE have had blind dates, bare introductions and frisky singletons despatched off to a tropical island. However now actuality TV match- making has a brand new twist — and it’s straight out of the Strictly playbook.

Flirty Dancing, which begins tonight on Channel four, sees couples perform a dance collectively when they meet for the primary time — earlier than they are even allowed to say a phrase.

 Ashley showed The Sun's Emma some moves

Olivia West – The Solar

Ashley confirmed The Solar’s Emma some strikes

The five-part collection, hosted by Variety’s Ashley Banjo, pairs up ten couples based mostly on their pursuits earlier than Ashley choreographs a routine for them. The couples practise the steps individually for every week, with the assistance of professional dancers, then come nose to nose for the primary time to perform collectively in entrance of the cameras.

Might this be the best way to inject a little bit of romance right into a dating recreation now dominated by swiping proper on apps comparable to Tinder? Ashley tells me: “It’s nice to have the ability to meet individuals on-line and by way of apps as a result of they are proper at your fingertips.

“We’re capable of join with individuals in a approach we wouldn’t 20 years in the past. However on the similar time, the cons are it’s rather more impersonal. Individuals are simply rather more judgemental and throwaway.

“I think with a process like Flirty Dancing, you’ve invested a week in a person before you’ve even met them, so it’s a bit of old-school romance in that way.”

 The professional dancer said Emma did 'very, very, very well' at their mini dance routine

Olivia West – The Solar

The skilled dancer stated Emma did ‘very, very, very properly’ at their mini dance routine

The couples aren’t allowed to know something about their companion earlier than they meet — not even their identify — and Ashley admits he struggled with the secrecy.

He says: “The first week it was almost like a swear jar. You couldn’t say the other person’s name because they couldn’t know anything about them. I slipped up a couple of times but they didn’t hear me. So we came up with code names — Mr and Mrs Dancer.”

Ashley Banjo will get his testicles checked live on TV by This Morning’s Physician Chris

It’s ten years since Ashley, 30, gained Britain’s Acquired Expertise together with his road dance troupe Variety. Since then, he has develop into one of many busiest males in showbiz, additionally appearing as a decide on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

His private life is about to get simply as hectic with spouse Francesca Abbott, knowledgeable dancer, anticipating their first youngster subsequent month. The couple have been collectively for 12 years and Ashley says: “If it wasn’t for dance I wouldn’t be married to my wife. Dance changed the way that we viewed each other.”

 Ashley met his wife Francesca through dance and he hopes he can help other people find love in the same way

Olivia West – The Solar

Ashley met his spouse Francesca via dance and he hopes he may also help different individuals discover love in the identical method

They first met in 2007 at a road dance competitors, which Variety — then generally known as Swift Strikes — ended up profitable. On the time, Francesca was in a rival dance troupe referred to as Out Of The Shadows.

The pair began to work collectively, with Ashley choreographing routines for Francesca, and the extra they danced, the extra they fell in love. Whereas working on Flirty Dancing, Ashley was typically in the dance studio until 3am arising with the totally different routines. Fortunately, he had Francesca to check them out on.

Laughing, he says: “She’s definitely my barometer for ‘too far’.” Now Ashley hopes that the dances he has created will assist the TV singletons discover their very own long-term love.

Every couple dance their routine at a special location, together with a pier at sundown, a crowded market and an observatory rooftop, whereas Ashley watches by way of a live digital camera feed.

 This show has taken a positive step forward and will show same-sex couples dance together

Channel four

This show has taken a constructive step ahead and will show same-sex couples dance collectively

 Intimate dance routines will ensure the couples get to know each other very well

Channel four

Intimate dance routines will make sure the couples get to know one another very nicely

He says: “Everything about the meeting is planned out. But once you lay all the framework, you then just let it go. Where they go and how they do it is real. So the cameras just have to be ready.”

Once we meet, Ashley provides to offer me a twirl on the dance flooring to see if I might have what it takes to get on the show. I worry I’ve two left ft. After our mini dance class, I anxiously await his verdict.

He says: “You did very, very, very well, actually. You were a bit nervous at first then you picked it up — that’s normal. I think you would definitely get a date. Even if your dancing doesn’t win them over, your shoes would.”

Dancing on a primary date, on tv, is all the time going to be a nerve-racking state of affairs. And Ashley reveals he was unsure if one contestant would flip up after nerves virtually acquired the higher of them.

 Couples will learn the steps on their own before coming together to perform their routine

Channel four

Couples will study the steps on their very own earlier than coming collectively to perform their routine

He says: “There have been two bits of the routine they have been actually nervous about and it was enjoying on their thoughts proper up until the second.

“That’s a part of the show, although. You dance with any person and you must put your self on the market and say, ‘I’m gonna flip up’, however the query is, will the opposite individual?

“That’s what I love about the show — it’s a lot about being honest. I think on a lot of the apps and stuff you can paint a picture of yourself that isn’t true.”

As matchmaker, Ashley admits he felt underneath strain to make sure the primary conferences went and not using a hitch.

 Show contestants will practice their moves with a professional before they see their dance partner

Channel four

Show contestants will apply their strikes with knowledgeable earlier than they see their dance companion

He explains: “I received so nervous as a result of I do know even when I feel, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to be actually into one another’, they’ve received to now get via the subsequent three minutes of a routine and that’s going to inform them rather a lot about one another.

“I’ve been working with each of them for every week and I do know every thing about them — what they’re after, how nervous they are.

They’re the one two individuals in the whole workforce who’ve by no means met earlier than so we’re all watching and going, ‘What are they going to think?’.

“When two individuals flip round and see one another for the primary time, regardless of how a lot they attempt, they cannot disguise the look on their face. So if they like somebody it’s beaming and if they don’t I all the time know right away.

 Viewers will see the couples perform their routines in a variety of settings

Channel four

Viewers will see the couples perform their routines in quite a lot of settings

 Ashley's dance credentials and incredible choreography skills are sure to make this show a hit

Channel four

Ashley’s dance credentials and unimaginable choreography expertise are positive to make this show successful

“Honestly, it’s properly magical when two people connect for the first time and everyone around them knows what’s happening.” When the couples lastly see one another for the primary time they will not be allowed to talk and should half right away after they have completed dancing.

Ashley then arranges a day and time for a extra conventional date, leaving it as much as the person dancers whether or not they will truly go alongside or not.

In a bid to not give something away, he says: “All I can say is that I think that we had a good success rate.” However he provides with amusing: “As always though, it doesn’t always work out.”

‘Nerves hit and I started to cry’

ALICE WILKINS already has her wedding ceremony gown ready in the wardrobe ­ – she simply must discover a husband.

The charity employee has been single for 2 years, however that didn’t cease her shopping for the frock whereas out buying together with her dad.

Alice, 28, who lives in Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands, says: “You by no means know when it’d come in helpful. I’ve it hanging in my wardrobe, as and once I want it. It was only a enjoyable, spontaneous factor to do.

“It’s vintage, so it’s a one-off. It’s got a train. I’ve got pictures of myself in it, which I’d never show anyone.”

After spending a lot of her twenties travelling with work, Disney fan Alice is able to meet her Prince Charming.

Alice, who was matched with workplace supervisor Wing Liu, says: “Everybody I’ve dated previously, I’ve met in real life, never online. I like to see what energy someone gives off. I thought I’d be able to suss him out. The show was a unique experience and whatever happens, we’ve shared that.”

Wing, 37, has by no means been in a relationship and says he should have been on “100 first dates” however admits, “It never goes any further”.

He says: “Online dating has changed actual dating. It’s almost like an ego boost.  People say they want to go on a date with you but they don’t actually go on it.  I’ve tried speed-dating and friends and family have even set me up on dates – and they never work out.”

Regardless of being nervous of going as much as ladies, teetotal Wing, from Manchester, is all the time first as much as dance.

He says: “I’m no Michael Jackson but I love to dance so friends suggested I apply.”

Wing, who loves Disney movies, reveals he burst into tears earlier than dancing with Alice. He says: “I used to be so nervous and excited. The entire function was to discover a match and I didn’t need to mess it up. However there was one thing reassuring about her. I felt we have been having enjoyable.

“When she walked off set my mind was blown. I could not believe I’d just done that.”



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