anton du beke emma barton

Anton du Beke hits back following Shirley Ballas' criticism on Strictly

The dancer has been partnered with EastEnders actress Emma Barton

Gemma Strong

Anton du Beke and his dance partner Emma Barton faced some tough criticism following their debut performance on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday. And on Tuesday, Anton took the opportunity to respond to the critique levelled at them, as the pair made an appearance on Strictly: It Takes Two. Anton and Emma received 23 points for their Jive at the weekend, and received generally positive comments, with Bruno Tonioli describing their dance as "crowd pleasing". But Shirley Ballas was altogether less impressed. Despite describing Emma as a "natural born performer" she asserted that her posture was wrong and the dance itself was "too heavy".

Shirley Ballas described Anton and Emma's dance as "too heavy"

Speaking to Rylan Clark-Neal on the spin-off show, Anton, 53, pointed out that he and Emma, 42, had had to fit her training around Emma's work on EastEnders, stating: "It's quite difficult because there's quite a bit going on with her day job." He further admitted that he had made life tricky for Emma by picking such a technical dance, revealing that he had used the opportunity to try out new things in the routine. "Going straight in with the Jive, 100 miles an hour, I didn't make it easy!" he said. "So much chorography that I'd wanted to do in the past that I could finally do! Very, very highly technical, very difficult. I thought Emma was brilliant."

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Asked by host Rylan how she had found Saturday's performance, Emma answered: "I loved it. I loved the set, I loved everything about it." She also insisted that while she is juggling two jobs, she feels very lucky to be appearing on "two of the biggest shows" on TV. "I just have to think, I am very lucky, I am on two of the biggest shows, and there are times in my career where I've been unemployed, and I'm so lucky," Emma reflected. "That was quite scary, I think I was enjoying the show a little bit too much, I actually forgot where I was!"

The couple will be performing the Foxtrot on Saturday's show

This Saturday, Anton and Emma will again take to the dance floor, hoping to impress the judges and viewers ahead of the first elimination. The duo are performing a Foxtrot to Sunshine of Your Love, which Anton said was his "favourite" ballroom dance. "We're going to Foxtrot them! Even I'm getting emotional about it… They're going to go, 'Well, that's a Foxtrot!'" he said.

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing: week two songs and dances revealed

This weekend will see the first couple eliminated from the 2019 series. All the scores from last week's show will be combined with the scores for their week two dances, as well as the results from the public vote, to determine who'll be the first couple to leave the competition this year.