Express & Star

Things hotting up as Karen and Gorka return with Firedance

Strictly Stars Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez are returning with a scintillating cast to tour the UK's theatres.

Strictly Stars Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez say they love having the freedom to express themselves fully with their show

They will return to the Midlands next month with Firedance, featuring fresh flavours and super-charged choreography.

Fans can look forward to an evening of rhythm, passion and chemistry as the duo reignite, with the tour visiting the West Midlands on March 31 to headline Birmingham Symphony Hall.

The duo are excited about the show and are deep in pre-production so that they're ready for the opening night.

Karen says: "This is our third year doing Firedance and of course the first year we only got six shows in before it got stopped by the pandemic, so it still feels very new and exciting. It’s a show that is fresh, it’s sexy and it’s just a celebration.

"We have all the dances that the audiences love, like our tangos, our sambas and our salsas, so it just celebrates all the fun we have together as a friendship and everything we love to share with people. We just love dancing together so much, so we’re bringing that joy out onto the stage for everyone to have fun with us."

Gorka and Karen will star in Firedance
Gorka is ready for Firedance

The show has changed each year and Gorka says there are more songs, new dances and more ideas this time around.

"It’s still along the lines of what we did before, but we’ve remade some of the show and brought in some more uplifting songs, some more modern songs and a fair few surprises too," he says.

"The idea is still the same obviously, we’re going to be dancing all night, there’s lots of fire and a lot of energy, so everything that people loved about it the last time is still there, just with some new things brought in which we think really adds a whole new spark to the whole thing. It’s very exciting, as we know people are going to really enjoy it."

The previous shows have been really well received, so the couple have to make sure they don't stray too far when they reimagine what to do. It's important to change it up while retaining things that fans loved the last time the duo hit the road.

Karen Hauer and Jayde Adams during the live show of Strictly Come Dancing

Karen explains: "We have a great creative team who work with myself and Gorka, like our choreographer Nathan Clark, who is just amazing. For us it’s always about the volume when you do a show, as you can hear and feel when a number really, really connects with the audience. So it’s always fun to be able to evolve and change things up, as you have an idea what people are really going to respond to and the challenge is to then be able to give them that.

"It’s all about evolution, so seeing what new songs are out there that we really like and then finding how to bring them into the show, while connecting them to different parts of it that have already had a great impact and are really loved by the audience. It’s like a little puzzle, putting it all together and seeing what parts worked, what parts didn’t so much and what you can do to constantly be improving the whole show."

As much as Gorka and Karen are the stars, Firedance is about the other performers and the production as it is about them. That's really important to the two leading lights, as they seek to share the limelight and make sure people can bring their own creative talents to the fore.

Gorka Marquez and Helen Skelton during the live show of Strictly Come Dancing

Gorka says: "Yes, that’s one of the things that makes Firedance so special, I think. As Karen said, we have an amazing team with us, so the production is always huge and of the highest standard, so that raises the volume of the show.

"From day one though, when we were looking for dancers, singers, musicians and so on, we were determined to get the most amazing ones we could find. That way, when we are not on the stage, the show is still amazing as the level everyone is at, you can’t help getting lost in it for the full 90 minutes. For us, it’s all about the dancing, the music and the performers."

A lot of dance shows take in the artists talking to the audience, but Karen's and Gorka's is purely all about the dancing. They are keen not to dilute the performance with chat, and want to dazzle crowds from the moment the curtain goes up to the moment it falls.

Karen says: "The lovely thing is there are so many great shows out there that have all the chatting and connection with the audience in that way, but we want to find our connection with what we were born to do and what we’ve been doing since we were kids and that is simply through dancing.

"If Fred and Ginger were dancing, or in a movie together, they were just dancing and that’s what we love. You can just go out there and move your body and have fun. Also, everyone knows everything they need to know about us already. I grew up in Venezuela, Gorka grew up in Spain and we love dancing, that’s it."

Karen is ready for Firedance

When the duo have thrilled millions on Strictly, they've found themselves dancing ballroom because that's a requirement of the show. In Firedance, however, they are freed from the constraints of ballroom and can follow their own passions.

Karen says: "I think the nice thing is that we’ve trained in so many different styles, that being able to utilise that is really special.

"Obviously we can do all the waltzes and tangoes etc, which we do in our own way and we do enjoy putting things in there that we know people really like to see, but there’s still dances we actually don’t like. Every dancer has some, so it’s great to have the freedom to just do the things we love and I think that comes over in the performances.

"We like the fire dances, we like the strong, rhythmical dances that have power behind them. At the same time though, we do have some very simple, beautiful and understated numbers that people love to see, so there’s a good mix in there, but it’s all the things we love. The fact we have a background in different styles is a good thing, so why not put it out there and show ourselves in a different light?"