Brendan Cole – his dance is his Bond
BEING the centre of attention is a feeling Strictly Come Dancing mentor Brendan Cole relishes, which is just as well as there's no escaping the spotlight now that he's starring in his own show.
Playing up to his ballroom bad boy image, and releasing his hidden wannabe James Bond, the dancer is wowing audiences with new stage show Licence To Thrill.
He is joined on stage by five other dancers and 14 musicians and the night of ballroom and Latin is a tribute to the style of Bond, with music from down the years.
It is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Brendan's debut theatre tour Live and Unjudged, with which he has toured the UK for the past three years, and sees him return to Plymouth Pavilions on Sunday, January 27.
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"It's our best show yet, full of drama, passion, fantastic music and dancing and, hopefully, a lot of fun", promises the 36-year-old.
"Live and Unjudged was my debut theatre show, and I loved every second of it and was very proud of all that we achieved with it.
"With the new tour it's very exciting as there will be a new cast, new choreography, new costumes, new music and putting that all together is a challenge but something I really enjoy doing.
"When initially thinking about ideas for the new tour I knew I wanted to stage a sophisticated show with a huge evening of dance, music and chat.
"The inspiration for the Bond theme of Licence To Thrill came from the classy elegant persona that Bond gives and in this, the 50th year of James Bond, it seemed fitting.
"A couple of the big music tracks associated with Bond are being used and the lighting and costuming will be reflecting that as well. One of the big songs is Gladys Knight's Licence to Kill, hence the Licence to Thrill title.
"There will also be a dance-off between the male dancers done with capes to Live and Let Die which I'm really excited about."
Like the variety of dances found on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing, Brendan has included an exciting mix of steps from waltzes and foxtrots to the fast-paced quicksteps and tangos, and the excitement of the Latin dances with the likes of cha cha cha, samba, salsa and jive.
Brendan says: "Everyone has their favourite dances that they expect to see on Strictly Come Dancing and I like to include all dance styles so that no one goes home disappointed.
"When you are competing in Strictly it is all-consuming and the mind must be completely focused on the job, looking after your partner and all that goes with getting ready for the Saturday show each week."
The pressure is perhaps even more intense in his own show, but there to help him onstage is dancer and older brother Scott. The talented twosome started learning to dance at the same time but sports-mad Brendan, then aged six, was far from keen at first.
"After a few months I took to it," recalls Brendan. "I loved the competitive element and found it exciting. I was very competitive with my brother and he still tries to get one up on me, even on the show!
"When I was young I did get flack for my dancing. It was teasing more than anything and it certainly made me stronger and stand up for myself. It's probably why I say how it is. I'm very real and I certainly don't tend to bite my lip. If something is on my mind it probably will come out at some stage.
"I also have a sister who dances too and is a teacher in New Zealand where we were born so all three of us are good at it."
Brendan worked as a builder before becoming a professional dancer and hasn't looked back since. Last year he appeared in the ninth series of Strictly Come Dancing with celebrity partner Victoria Pendleton.
Although they didn't fare so well, Brendan's past achievements include becoming the first Strictly champion with partner Natasha Kaplinsky in series one, and receiving perfect scores from the judges with Lisa Snowdon in 2008, something never previously achieved in the show's history.
Tickets for Licence To Thrill range from £19.50 to £32.50. Call 0845 146 1460 or visit www.plymouthpavilions.com