After nine years on Strictly Come Dancing, Ola Jordan was fortunate enough to have a whole range of fabulous celebrity partners, including sports presenter Chris Hollins, with whom she won the competition in 2009. But Ola, who also danced with Steve Backshall, Robbie Savage and Ashley Taylor Dawson, has revealed the cheeky trick she used to play on producers to ensure she was given the celebrity dancer she wanted.
"It's actually quite funny, but when you do those group numbers in the first week of rehearsals and you're partnered with all different people – if there is a really tall person for example and you don't want him because you can tell he's not very good – you then put really flat shoes on," Ola told HELLO! magazine.
Ola revealed the female pros would wear heels if they had their eye on a tall celebrity contestant
"You don't put high heels on because you want the producers to see the big difference between you and him. This is the trick that professional dancers do, the girls, that's what we used to do when I was on the show. If I liked someone and I thought, 'Oh he's a bit tall but I want him,' I would put heels on and then the whole two days I would dance in heels so my height was the same as him. And if I didn't like him, I would put flats on, to confuse producers a bit!"
Earlier this week, the Strictly pro dancers met the celebrity contestants for the first time. Ola revealed that in the first week of rehearsals, the pros and the celebrities all practise for their big group number for the opening show. The pros will almost certainly have their eye on a particular celebrity.
Ola starred on Strictly for nine years
"It's definitely fun for the professionals, they will definitely have an eye on someone," said Ola. "And this is what the producers watch, they watch the rehearsals for two days and pick the pairings. They watch you interact with everyone, you swap partners and they watch how everyone is moving and dancing and then they pair them together."
Ola continued: "When I walked in, I remember one of the years seeing Jay McGuiness dancing on that rehearsal on that first day and I said, 'He is going to win' and he did. You can really tell on the first day, who's going to do well. Sometimes you can just tell by the way they stand and the way they walk into the room."
Ola had people dancing at Sainsbury's party this week
While the Strictly rehearsals were getting underway this week, Ola, 36, was attending a party in Marske-by-the-Sea with former Strictly star Abbey Clancy. As part of Sainsbury's 150th birthday, the supermarket threw a fun-filled bash in the hope of bringing elderly neighbours together – after research found a decline in social connections amongst over 65s.
Ola put on her dancing shoes and made sure everyone was up on the floor. "It was such an amazing party to be involved in, and I loved seeing all the older customers and Sainsbury's colleagues up and dancing together," said Ola. "Dancing and music are amazing at bringing people together, and seeing how much the event meant to the local community I hope it encourages them and other elderly people to keep dancing."
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