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Strictly's Ian Waite reveals why the show is harder than ever for the professionals

The Strictly pro is now a regular on It Takes Two

ian waite strictly
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
February 15, 2019
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Strictly Come Dancing star Ian Waite has revealed he would only return to the popular BBC show under "really special circumstances". The former professional dancer, who appeared on the series from 2004 to 2009, has teamed up with fellow pro Vincent Simone for the very first time in their brand new production - The Ballroom Boys. Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, the 48-year-old confessed that as much as he loved his time on Strictly, he would never return as a professional full-time. "I'm not sure I'd go back as a dancer," he shared. "I would like go back as a judge or do a special piece like Ian's Insights - to go back to a dancer would have to be really special circumstances."

ian waite strictly tour

Ian Waite gives his verdict on Strictly Come Dancing

Asked how much the series has evolved over the years, Ian admitted that the professionals have to dedicate a lot of their time to make sure their celebrity partners are perfect. "It's a totally different show to when I was doing it - less than eight or ten hours a day is just simply not enough," he shared. "You must put those hours in for your celebrities to be so good." His comments come shortly after pro Pasha Kovalev announced his decision to leave the ballroom show after eight years. "Pasha has been such a brilliant part of the show. He came on when I left," commented Ian.

MORE: Strictly star Ian Waite ties the knot with boyfriend Drew Merriman

ian waite vincent strictly

The dancer has teamed up with Vincent Simone

"I was a little surprised, but eight years is a long time to do Strictly - it's really hard work and he's been touring for all those years," the TV star continued. "He was a great part of the show, so chilled out and relaxed and so professional. I loved working with Pasha." Speaking about the long hours, Ian remarked: "The celebrities are so good nowadays, I just think that to do it for eight years is really hard and really tough. I think you get to the stage where you think, 'I love it but it's enough now.' He's done so well I think - so the better you do, the longer you stay in the competition. Pasha made the final last year and did so brilliantly. [He no doubt] wanted to go out doing well - good for him."

MORE: Claudia Winkleman opens up about Strictly curse

Elsewhere, Ian also gave his verdict on same-sex partners taking to the Strictly dancefloor. "I think it will happen one day," he said. "I don't know if it will happen yet." Despite wanting same-sex partners on Strictly, Ian did explain as a ballroom dancer, that style of dancing is "built around masculine and feminine roles". He explained: "That's the only problem with having same sex couples. I got married to another man so it would be hypocritical to say there's only male and female roles. I think at some point we will have it! Why not?"

READ: Pasha Kovalev to return for final Strictly Come Dancing performance

Looking ahead to his own tour with Vincent, Ian shared: "It is very much a variety show, there is obviously going to be a lot of dancing - a lot of ballroom and Latin dances. Mixed up a lot of genres. Since its old school, with both of us being original pros, we wanted to make it a classic show." He added: "In the past, Vincent hasn't been able to talk in his shows, but we are talking – talking about Strictly and the funny moments and most embarrassing moments. We get the chance to talk about that and get the audience involved."

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