Strictly Come Dancing will broadcast live from the iconic Blackpool Tower on Saturday, 18th November. The annual visit to Blackpool will commence with an extraordinary opening routine performed by the Strictly cast. Following this, the remaining couples will grace the renowned sprung dancefloor in the country, showcasing their talents with stunning routines.

The professional dancers are well-acquainted with the Tower Ballroom, and they have been reminiscing about their initial experiences and cherished moments at this iconic dance venue.

Carlos Gu

Carlos Gu

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Blackpool is a historical place for all dancers around the world. If you want to be the best dancer you go to Blackpool. If you want to see the best dancing you go to Blackpool.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

That was the first competition in Blackpool as a kid. I was 15 and I was there just to see the world, see everybody, the legends, you see it from the videos. It’s just magic.

What was your favourite memory about performing at Blackpool?

My favourite memory performing in Blackpool is when I got into the semi-final in the world category. When your name and the country you are representing is being announced it makes you very proud. There is a huge number of competitors in Blackpool, thousands of couples. 90% of them, their name and where they are from will never be known, unless you get to a certain level in the competition. So, everybody knows you, everybody knows your name and everybody knows where you come from. You feel proud.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

The Tower Ballroom is a place where, when you step into it, you become a dancer without even moving. The atmosphere, the energy, the history and the beauty of it, makes you want to dance.

Dianne Buswell

Dianne Buswell

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

It’s so special because, as a little 6 year old girl living in Australia, I asked my mum if I could dance in Blackpool. My parents could not afford to take me so it was always just a dream, until I finally got to dance there with Strictly.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at the Blackpool?

The first time I danced there in the competition was with Joe Sugg and it was so special. We got our first ten and Joe’s nan was in the audience, it was the best.

How would you describe the Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

The Blackpool Tower feels royal, it’s so grand and makes you instantly feel like a dancer.

Giovanni Pernice

Giovanni Pernice

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Because it’s a real achievement for the celebrity to get there. It’s a place that is different to the studio so everybody gets excited when we go to Blackpool. It’s like we are going on a trip with all the cast and all the crew and all the production. And also, because the place itself is just unbelievable.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed in Blackpool?

The first time I performed in Blackpool was with Strictly. I never performed in Blackpool when I was a kid. So, for me, the first time entering the ballroom was sensational. I saw this incredible place, the chandeliers are huge! The whole concept of the place and having never been before, plus the people, who were very friendly, it was great.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

Scintillating, huge and stunning. For a dancer, there is a sprung floor which is amazing as well. It’s remarkable, a beautiful place.

Gorka Marquez

Gorka Marquez

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Blackpool is an iconic place is for dancing and when you think of Strictly, you think of Blackpool, they are connected to each other. Blackpool is like the Wimbledon of dance.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed in Blackpool?

The first time I performed at Blackpool was my first year on Strictly, when I did the group numbers. Then in 2017, I did a Quickstep with Alexandra Burke and that was incredible. The Quickstep, Jive and Paso Doble are some of the bet dances you can do there because the floor is so big and so springy.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

When you walk in you can feel the energy in the room and the history. It is a very majestic building.

Graziano Di Prima

Graziano Di Prima

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Blackpool is the home of Ballroom – Reaching Blackpool on Strictly is always incredible and last year with Kym was my first time while still in the competition.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

My first year on Strictly in 2018 was the first time I danced at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Being on the dance floor with all the cast was a highlight of my time on Strictly. We didn’t have the money when I was growing up in Sicily to compete in Blackpool, so Strictly made my dreams come true.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone that has never been?

It’s the home of Ballroom – there’s a huge sprung dance floor and that makes you want to dance to your best. And the ceiling is so beautiful!

Katya Jones

Katya Jones

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Because it’s the mecca of the Ballroom world. It’s where the history of Ballroom has been made. Multiple legends of the dancefloor have performed there. So, for me, as someone coming from a different country, if you were going to compete in Blackpool it meant that you were good enough. It gave us all motivation and dedication, to make it to Blackpool.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

The first time I performed at Blackpool was when I was 13 or 14. Luba and I went there. It was magical and quite surreal. I remember going on a dinosaur ride, I don’t think it exists anymore. We would go on the ride between rounds and eat chocolate from a vending machine.

What was your favourite memory about performing at Blackpool?

It was when myself and Neil, when we started representing Great Britain, made the final for the first time. I don’t think a British couple had made the final for over 20 years. When they announced our number, we didn’t believe it so we didn’t come out. A whole crowd pushed us on stage saying “it’s you, it’s you!” Not even winning, but that first time making the final, is my favourite memory. Neil has got our number tattooed on his body, so that’s how much it meant to us.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been?

Magnificent. You can feel the history of it in the air. It will just take your breath away, knowing how much history and tradition has happened there. It’s magical. But also, architecturally very beautiful, grand and monumental.

Lauren Oakley

Lauren Oakley

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Because it’s like the mecca of Ballroom and Latin dancing, It’s like going home when you dance there. It’s just really special. For me especially, my mum danced there when she was pregnant with me, my cousin has danced there, it has been in the family for a while. I don’t remember ever spending an Easter not at Blackpool. We would have an Easter hunt in the arcades.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed in Blackpool?

I was seven. I just got my first dance partner and I remember being taken aback by how amazing it was ,and how dancers from all over the world were there performing and competing. Because we were so young we didn’t get placed, we made the first or second round, they wanted to send us there to get the experience. I was excited. I got more nervous, the older I got, but when I was young it was just really exciting. It felt really special.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

Grand. Magical. Atmospheric.

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe

Why is performing at Blackpool so special?

In the Latin and Ballroom world, Blackpool is where everyone wants to dance as it’s where all the competitions happen. It’s called the home of Ballroom.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool with Strictly and how was it?

2018 on Strictly Come Dancing was my first time at Blackpool Tower Ballroom. I didn’t have a celebrity partner that year so it was the opening number and group numbers – it was a magical opener with Gloria Estefan! A real pinch me moment!

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone that has never been?

The perfect dance floor that means everyone dances their best! It’s a huge building right in the heart of Blackpool opposite the sea.

Jowita Przystal

Jowita Przystal

Why is performing at Blackpool so special?

You can’t explain it, but the atmosphere, the feeling of being there, on that dance floor, is just magical. It’s a privilege to be able to perform there.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

My first time was actually last year, with my celebrity partner Hamza Yassin. The first time I entered the ballroom I had tears in my eyes. It was so special and even more so because we were opening the show that night. I will never forget those goosebumps before and after our first dance.

I also had the pleasure to do two group dances and the music act with Neil, Katya and Giovanni, dancing to Sam Ryder.

What is your favourite memory about performing at Blackpool and why?

Opening the show last year with Hamza just felt so amazing and I was so proud of him because he danced beautifully that night.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone that has never been?

It’s the most beautiful place, very majestic, with a soul, a home of Ballroom dancing.

Kai Widdrington

Kai Widdrington

Why is performing at Blackpool so special?

It’s where I did my first ever competitions, when I was eight years old. Walking into the Blackpool ballroom was like walking into another world of Ballroom dancing, seeing all the guys dressed in tail suits and the girls in the beautiful Ballroom dresses. If you fall in love with dancing like I did, you fall in love with Blackpool. There’s nothing but happy memories there.

Winning a title at Blackpool is also a massive thing – I won a British team match there with the juniors, which was a big highlight for me. Representing your country at international competitions in Blackpool is amazing. The music, the outfits, the dancefloor and the history of the ballroom is what makes it so special.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

When I first went to Blackpool as a youngster, I wasn’t very good, I was just learning to dance. But my teachers said just go and try the competition. I remember walking into the ballroom and just being in total awe of the entire setting. I don’t think I placed very well, but it hooked me and I came back in the following years and eventually did a lot better.

What is your favourite memory about performing at Blackpool and why?

My favourite memory about dancing at Blackpool, was when I was fortunate enough to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Championships. We won what was called the team match, where it was the top two Latin couples and the top two Ballroom couples competing against the other countries in the world. Great Britain hadn’t won it in 20 years or so and we managed to, so that was a big highlight for me.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone that has never been?

It’s where Ballroom dancing originated, where Ballroom dancing was founded and created. It’s where all the people that were the pioneers of Ballroom dancing took their first steps on the competition floor. They paved the way for the future generation and now my generation as well, so it’s a very historic and special place. We’re very fortunate that we get to go back there every year with Strictly.

Karen Hauer

Karen Hauer

Why is performing at Blackpool so special?

Performing at Blackpool always holds a special place for all of us dancers, the history that it’s famous dance floor holds. All the amazing talent that it has had there, and continues to have, is inspiring and continues to inspire the younger generation of talent that will be dancing on that floor as well.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

The first time I performed in Blackpool with Strictly simply took my breath away. The energy in that room is electrifying.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone that has never been?

It feels like you go back in time when you walk into the Blackpool Tower. The beauty of its architecture, the grandeur of its chandeliers and that springy dance floor makes you want to take a deep breath to breathe in it’s history.

Luba Mushtuk

Luba Mushtuk

Why is performing at Blackpool so special?

It’s a very special place and a dream of mine to perform in. Since I was a little girl, my teachers would say “one day you will go to the Blackpool Tower”. It really is beautiful and always brings back beautiful memories.

Can you tell me about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

It was the Blackpool Junior Championship, I think at that time I was 10 or 11 years old. We made the final and it was an incredible experience. After preparing for it for so long we felt like all the hard work had paid off and I remember how proud our teachers were as it was our first time competing there.

It was also my first time competing with live band music, I remember how special that was. That feeling of dancing to live music on that iconic floor for the first time, even now it gives me goosebumps. I realise how lucky I am to go back every year with Strictly.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone that has never been?

Magical, incredible, special, beautiful. A mesmerising place with the sprung floor and incredible ceilings, stunning chandeliers, that make you want to dance. It looks like a piece of art itself.

Michelle Tsiakkas

Michelle Tsiakkas

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Performing at Blackpool is so special because there is so much history in that venue. So many amazing dancers have danced there and got their titles as dancers there. And the venue itself is just so beautiful, so grand. As young dancers you watch your idols dancing there and you dream to achieve the same one day.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed in Blackpool?

The first time with Strictly was amazing, the atmosphere was just something else. It’s very different from the studio as the venue is bigger. You can feel the energy from the audience as well.

Last time I was dancing there was as a backup dancer for some of the competing couples competing. I was part of Fleur’s Destiny’s Child performance, I think we all felt like we were Beyonce on stage! And she got her first 40, so feeling like I was part of it was special.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

You have to be in there to understand what the feeling is and feel the magic. I think if you are a dancer, it is even more special, because of the history in that ballroom.

Nadiya Bychkova

Nadiya Bychkova

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Blackpool was always the main place for dancers, the most important competition in the year. It’s similar to the World Championships but only the two best couples from each country would go to Blackpool, so it was a gathering of all the best dancers from all over the world.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

I was ten years old, it was my first ever competition outside of my country. You prepare for the whole year to go there and obviously, as a little girl, it’s like a dream come true to be able to perform there. I managed to get into the final which was incredible, I still remember that. And seeing all the amazing dancers performing there. It’s very special.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is breath-taking. I believe that in the walls and in the carpet, you can feel the history of dance. Even if you know nothing about dancing and the history you can feel it. It’s a very iconic place.

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Blackpool is the top of the top. It’s every Ballroom or Latin dancer’s dream to be able to dance there. There is no feeling that can compete with the feeling of performing in Blackpool.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

The first time I performed in Blackpool was at the Winter Gardens when I was about 17 or 18. When I was young, my dance teacher would often mention England, the UK and Blackpool. My teacher built up a dream when I was a little girl and ever since, I told myself I need to go there and see how it feels. I think you need to always give yourself a dream and believe no matter what you will make it happen.

What’s your favourite memory about performing in Blackpool and why?

I remember every single moment when I competed in the Winter Gardens. Every single moment. To step on that competition floor was just a dream come true. I was always at least the top three when I was competing in China, but when you come to England, you have the top judges, judging you.

How would you describe the Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

I would use one word, magic. When you step in you feel all the beautiful energy and it makes you want to perform. The bouncing floor makes you feel like you can dance more, because the floor dances with you. The audience. Everything.

Neil Jones

Neil Jones

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

I started competing and dancing there from the age of nine. For me it was the most special place to go to, I knew everything about it and loved everything about it.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed at Blackpool?

The first time I performed there was at the Winter Gardens and I came second in my first year and thought “this is incredible!” Then I went to the Tower Ballroom, it was a World Open, and I remember going there and dancing but I was knocked out on the first round. I was just amazed by everything and it didn’t push me away, it made me more hungry.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been?

It’s just amazing, especially the floor, it’s incredible how much it moves. As dancers we really like a sprung floor. You can be sitting on the edge and you can be bouncing as everyone is dancing, so you feel the music even more. I have a lot of emotions and feelings about it. The way Strictly does everything up, the lighting, how they capture it with the cameras, for me makes it even more special.

Nikita Kuzmin

Nikita Kuzmin

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Blackpool is the mecca, it is the place to be, the place where dreams come true. Even as a child going there, I used to look at Blackpool like the stars were there, the sun was there, the whole universe was there.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed in Blackpool?

The first time I performed in Blackpool, I was probably seven or eight. I was really young and I was incredibly scared. I have never been scared of any competition in my life, but Blackpool was the only one. I went into the wrong heat because I was too nervous and it was too late for my parents to do anything about it because I was already on the dancefloor doing my thing, the wrong thing at the wrong time!

What is your favourite memory about performing at Blackpool?

I think my favourite memory from Blackpool is dancing to the live orchestra. It makes it so special.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been before?

The place is iconic and magical. You dream of going there as a child and now as an adult, I have accomplished my dream. I now get to come there and perform to the Strictly Come Dancing live audience and be proud of what I have achieved.

Vito Coppola

Vito Coppola

Why is performing in Blackpool so special?

Because Blackpool is the most important and best competition in the world. It was one of my first competition’s abroad. In 2008, I won a dance competition in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom and I still have memories of that today.

Then last year on Strictly, Fleur and I scored 10, 10, 10, 10, the best score. So, for me, Blackpool bring so much joy every time.

Could you tell us about the first time you performed in Blackpool?

It was 2008, I remember I was a bit terrified because there was not one but two world champions there. I got into the semi-finals, then I got to the final and when I got to the final, I said, “OK this is a moment I have got to enjoy, don’t expect anything, just enjoy this moment”. I still remember dancing on the dancefloor, the feeling, the smell, everything. When they announced I won the competition it was that kind of feeling that I can’t describe.

How would you describe the Blackpool Tower Ballroom to someone who has never been?

It’s so magical. It’s about all the stories, all the great champions who have performed there before us. You can feel the vibe, you can feel it from the walls, from the floor. It’s unbelievable. Blackpool is the best competition, the best in the world.