“Zoe had been coming to the island since she was a little girl and after a number of long-haul holidays, we decided that it would be nice to have an overseas property but one closer to home, and where better than Mallorca. This is obviously the longest period I have spent on the island but prior to this, it was so easy for me to pop back and forth to the UK for work. It’s just a few hours’ flight to Gatwick, I can be there by 9am on a working day.”
After capturing the attention of TV audiences in the UK and across the world as one of the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing for so long, he ventured out to produce his own theatrical musical shows and has been busy touring.
“The last tour finished on March 16 last year and, as a family, we could see what was coming (Covid) and decided to head to Mallorca, which I had fallen in love with, and sit out whatever was heading our way on the island. We flew out the next day and, apart from the few travel windows, I’ve only been back to the UK for work commitments a few times.
“Being with the two youngsters, it’s been great being here. We all love the island, the people, we have a great group of friends - although getting together has been restricted. We’ve got the mountains behind us and the sea just ten minutes drive away and there is so much to do. I got into cycling, although I need to get the bike out soon I think. But being in Mallorca has enabled to me to keep as fit and as healthy as possible for when I can resume my shows.
“All of the shows are choreographed by myself and all of the near 200 dance routines are mine. I wouldn’t say I’m a great musician, but I understand music so that is a great help, and the tours are great fun and a wonderful experience.
“I guess when my mother decided that my sister and I should learn how to dance when I was seven in New Zealand (he was both in Christchurch), I had no idea how far dance would take me - that it would become my passion and my career.
“Growing up in New Zealand, I was obviously working in other jobs but when I was 18 I decided to take a gamble, a leap of faith. I booked a one-way ticket to London, which was the capital of dance back then, and took off with a thousand pounds in my pocket and gave myself a year to either make or break it as a dancer.”
After a few years as an amateur and competing in various competitions on and off TV, he landed a position with Strictly Come Dancing. In his debut series, Cole’s celebrity partner was BBC newsreader and presenter Natasha Kaplinsky. They went on to win the show and he went on to dance with a host of celebrities.
“To be honest, there were those who entered because they were really up for the challenge and wanted to dance, so were very good; others were slightly more hard work, but great fun. Then there were those who had perhaps been pushed into the show by their agents and were initially a bit hesitant but were also great fun; and then there were other partners who were just not up for the whole thing. The latter takes a lot of time. Normally, the professionals would be in the studios some three months before the show and the competitors would then eventually come in, obviously having to work dance sessions around their work or family commitments. Sometimes we would be in the studios for up to ten or eleven hours a day, depending on how well our dance partners were learning on the job and how dedicated they were. Dancing, especially professionally, is extremely hard work and very demanding, but I love it; it’s my life and passion.
“And that has really come to flourish over the past ten years since I have been mounting my own tours. Apart from the intensity and excitement of the shows, they are very interactive and it’s a joy to see how the audiences react.
“As dancers, we’re always telling a story. You can take a waltz, which most people think is rather slow and dull but turn it around into a wonderful journey for the audience. They get mesmerised by the experience, and the response is always overwhelming and extremely satisfying. After all the hard work, touring round various countries, to get that feedback and see the expressions on the audiences’ faces makes it all so worthwhile. That is why, as soon as I can and life starts to return to normal, I will be back on stage with my shows.
“I have thought about staging one in Mallorca; it’s rather complicated at the moment, but who knows what the future might hold. I would have to get the timing right, so when we’ve got some holidaymakers and homeowners back on the island.
“While I love the peace, tranquillity, landscape and general atmosphere of this wonderful island, it’s been extremely sad to have seen it so quiet over the past year. It was great to have gone to the local market the other week and see so many more people, see the island getting some its energy back.
“It’s been tough to have seen so many businesses closed and people worried about their futures, struggling to live from day to day. The sooner we can inject some energy back the better, especially now the good weather is round the corner. That said, we can hardly complain about the weather here in Mallorca.”
Apart from dance, sport has always played a big role in his life. When he can, he’s out cycling, playing football, tennis, paddle, you name it, and over the years, as a result of being involved with a host of charities, he has had the honour to have played for the Soccer Aid Unicef football team alongside fellow celebrities and legends from the worlds of football and sport in general.
“The last time was amazing. We had Usain Bolt on the team and stepping out at Old Trafford in front of 75,000 people was something I will never forget and for such a good cause.
“But talking sport, sometimes keeping in shape is tough. You need to be highly motivated, especially if having to train alone. That has not only been a challenge for me at times, as I know it has for so many other people, be they professionals or not. However, here in Mallorca, with its great weather and light, even when it’s cold, it makes finding that motivation easier. This really is a magical island, I even enjoy doing the school run surrounded by the mountains and the countryside. It certainly beats driving up the M6 or M40 every day, and long may it continue once we get back to normal.”
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