Strictly Come Dancing's Ian Waite has had his pick of the ladies when it comes to dancing tours.

In recent years he's waltzed his way across the UK with the likes of Natalie Lowe and Oti Mabuse but for this year's production he fancied something a little bit different.

"For the last three years," he begins, "I've been blessed with some of the best dancing partners in the world and so when it came to this show, I was thinking 'who could I dance with this year'. There was a long list of girls, amazing dancers all of them, but then I remembered something my dad suggested which was getting some of the boys back from years ago.

"I've remained good friends with Vincent and knew he wasn't touring this year, so I asked him and he said yes straight away."

Joining forces for the very first time, their brand new show, The Ballroom Boys, promises to be as fun as the title suggests.

Neither are strangers to life on the road, with It Takes Two regular Ian having done several tours with former dance partners Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, Natalie Lowe, and most recently Oti Mabuse.

While Strictly’s original and best-loved Italian, Vincent has graced theatres up and down the country with Flavia Cacace in their Argentine Tango inspired shows.

Argentine Tango legend Vincent and King of the Ballroom Ian, will be joined by two professional female dancers and a vocalist in a night that promises to be packed with dances, songs and plenty of banter.

"I think that's one of the things we're really looking forward to," Ian adds, "Vincent is so funny and we've plenty of stories from our Strictly days so that's going to be a lot of fun.

"But the whole show is a hark back to the good old days of top hats and tails, but also a little bit of the Rat Pack as well."

Funnily enough it wasn't those Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire films that first got Ian into dancing.

He says: "I was brought up with all those films. Nan used to sit me down and we would watch them together but I wasn't a massive dance enthusiast back then and it definitely wasn't how I got into dancing.

"I was ten years-old when my mum and dad got divorced and my dad was told there were lots of single women at the local dancing school so he went along. He loved it so much he wanted me and my five year-old brother to go to a class. I wasn’t too keen, as I was playing rugby and football for my school team but after taking my brother for a few months they got me up for a Gay Gordon’s (a folk dance) and the rest is history, as they say."

He certainly found his step quickly, picking up prizes at a very early age including being crown European Champion at the age of 17.

"My father eventually married my dance teacher," he explains, "and she took me up to London when I was 14 to be taught by some of the best coaches in the world.

"As soon as I started winning competitions I knew this was what I was destined to do and when I became European Champion it me the credibility I needed to move into the top six dance couples in the world."

But his big break into the wider conscious of the country didn't really take hold until the start of Strictly Come Dancing.

Ian adds: "I had moved back from living in Holland for seven years and Strictly had just started its first series in the UK. I really did think it was perfect for me, as I was just about to retire from professional competing and I had grown up teaching beginners right through to professionals.

"Six months previously I had been second in the world show dance, the perfect combination to be able to do the show.

"That said, when I first heard about it, I did think to myself 'this is never going to work, how are they going to get celebrities to dance properly'. Just goes to show how wrong you can be.

Ian joined the programme in the second series, partnered with Olympian Denise Lewis, and went on to series seven, dancing with the likes of Jodie Kidd, Penny Lancaster and Zoe Ball, who now presents Strictly spin-off show, It Takes Two, which Ian still regularly appears on offering advice.

"It’s difficult to choose a favourite partner," Ian tells me, "because they were all fantastic in their own way but Zoe Ball will be the most remembered and I also got to dance and choreograph two dances with Darcey Bussell which was a dream come true. I always seemed to get partnered with the leggy blonde or the athlete but that was fine by me."

Still part of the Strictly family, Ian continues to tour the country with his colleagues.

"It is like one big happy family," he explains, "and when you meet-up with an ex-pro, or one of the celebrities, it does feel like bumping into a long lost friend.

"The show's been very kind to me and to be able to do these shows is a real privilege. What I like about them is the way it's developed my presenting skills on stage and then of course back on the television. I've really enjoyed doing It Takes Two but I would like to take the presenting one step further."

But what would Ian like to present a show on?

"I love, love, love painting," he reveals, "mainly the more modern stuff so perhaps I could do something on that. I would love that. On It Takes Two I always try and make it entertaining, there's nothing worse that just going on about the technical stuff, so may be I could do that with modern art."

Ian Waite and Vincent Simone: The Ballroom Boys Tour is at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, on May 4, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are priced from £31 to £12, available from the box office on 01206 573948 or on-line at