Vincent and Flavia doing the tango at Birmingham theatre
Strictly Come Dancing made them household names. But Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have outlasted the BBC’s number one family show by hitting the road for a series of UK tours.
They are back on the road with a new production, Tango Moderno, and will headline Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre from Tuesday until September 23 – with extra matinees on Wednesday and 23.
It’s the irresistible new stage spectacular from the tango superstars.
Dance partners for more than two decades, world champions, Strictly favourites and West End stage stars Vincent and Flavia plan to fuse ballroom, Latin, and Argentine tango to give fans a performance that smoulders with desire.
Their latest show follows the successes of Midnight Tango, hailed as ‘a triumph’ by the Daily Telegraph, the ‘utterly unmissable’ Dance Til Dawn (Smooth Radio) and the ‘fabulous must-see’ The Last Tango (Radio Times).
Flavia says the dancer’s fourth show will give fans something new.
“It’s always important to try something we’ve not done before. The fourth time round is difficult because we’ve done so many different stories.
“But we wanted this show to be more modern, more up to date, so the music will be a little more recognisable, particularly by the younger generation. It’s music from the radio, it’s set in an urban city and it’s got that contemporary vibe. There’ll be a story and we’ll be part of the narration.”
Vincent adds that dance was his great passion – but staying focused for a long UK tour was always tough.
“Motivation is the hardest part, to be honest. All the people that dance and do this job will agree. When it’s live on stage it’s great because you connect to the normal people. They are the people – mums, parents and so on – who keep you going.
“And that’s great because they keep you sane. You suffer from solitude quite a lot because you’re away every week at different hotels. Sometimes you wake up and think ‘where am I?’ because we travel so much.”
Putting together a major new show is tough. It takes weeks and weeks of 10am-to-6pm rehearsals before a technical week ahead of the first show. Flavia says: “You have really long days and there is a bit of adrenalin and nerves. Once the show’s up and running it eases off. We tend to do a half-hour warm-up before every show. We have a little time off and people do their own thing, going to the gym, resting or walking. You learn to do that, or you take a massage or see the physio.”
Vincent moved to the UK when he was 17 to follow his dream of dancing.
“I wanted to become the best in the world, as everybody else does, so I moved here. It was a coincidence that I met Flavia, who was Italian and moved here at the age of four.
“Every day, we had dance lessons and were training. Our lives were really about that, you know, about competitions and trying to win. We wanted to get into the final and get the world championship. That was our lives.”
The couple then got asked to do a couple of performances on Strictly before the show’s producer asked them to become a part of it full-time.
Flavia says: “We didn’t know how big the show was. Even now, I can’t believe we’ve been through all of that. It was amazing.”
Vincent says: “Before we were famous in the ballroom world and we could walk the High Street. Now people stop us and want to have a photo. It was a shock to the system. Since then, we’ve never looked for work, it’s come to us. We didn’t think ‘shall we do theatre?’ The producers came to us and here we are.”
Favia adds: “It’s been a long road and initially during the first part of our careers it was a helluva lot of sacrifice. You think back and realise how hard you worked and that we didn’t have a life. We were obsessed with the weekend being about travelling to an event and a competition and paying a £40 entry fee.
“Then at 10am we’d do round one and come out at 10pm in the evening. That was the weekend gone. Then it was dance lessons, practice rehearsals and training. Now we look back and it’s ‘wow’. We wouldn’t do that again. My niece is dancing these days but I am so not-pro dancing. I know how hard it is and what you have to go through. I’m trying to sway her off. It’s really hard work. I know the sacrifice young people have to make in their teens and 20s. It can effect lots of things in later life. But it’s worked for us and we’ve kept going and gone from one thing for another. We were lucky, things could have been very different. We don’t regret anything.”
The couple has visited Birmingham on plenty of occasions and always feel at home in the Second City. They’re looking forward to their return and will be out and about in the city’s restaurants and shops.
Favia says: “We love Birmingham and are always happy to come up there. I remember places because of the shopping. I try to go to Lasan every time, if my husband comes up. He loves Birmingham too and studied there.”
Vincent adds: “I used to buy, buy, buy. I’d buy one for the stage and one for myself. My wardrobe is exploding. So no more shopping.”