Millions of TV viewers tune in every Saturday night to marvel at their skill and artistry.

Now the professionals from Strictly Come Dancing are heading out on the road to show live audiences what they are all about.

The Bolton News: The 12 dancers who are part of Strictly Come Dancing The Professionals tour 2024

The 2024 tour features 12 of the world’s best dancers and will be at The Lowry, Salford Quays on Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15.

Here some of them share their excitement about going on tour and what makes the live shows so special

Gorka Marquez makes no bones about it.

“I’ve danced on all the Strictly Pro Tours,” says the 33-year-old Spaniard, “and, for me, it’s the most fun part of being involved with Strictly. I love the Saturday night show but it’s in a studio.

“What’s special about the tour is that it’s in a theatre in front of a live audience. Nothing beats being able to look into their eyes and see their reaction. I really like bringing out the best in my celebrity partners, but the Pro tour gives us the opportunity to showcase ourselves.”

Gorka and Bury-born girlfriend Gemma Atkinson - the pair met on Strictly in 2019 - have a four-year-old daughter, Mia, and a baby son, Thiago, born last July.

“When we’re in London or Manchester on the tour, Gemma will bring Mia to see me: she loves to see Daddy dance. I try to get home on odd days the rest of the time. I’m a judge on the Spanish version of Strictly so I’m used to being away from home.

“But I miss the family, of course, and they miss me, particularly Mia who likes me to take her to her swimming lesson on a Saturday morning. Thiago’s too young at the moment to understand the passage of time. But this is all part of the job and I’m doing something I love.

This will be the second Pro Tour for Italian, Vito Coppola, 31, who, along with actress Ellie Leach, carried off the prized glitterball in 2023’s TV show.

He said: “I enjoyed last year’s Pro Tour so much; it was my first time ever dancing on a stage in front of an audience. It took me a moment or two to get used to the space restrictions. In a TV studio, you can dance through 360 degrees. In a theatre, there’s an edge to the stage.

“But, if you’re surrounded by 11 other professionals, as will happen this time round, you somehow all dance as one body. These dancers are from all over the world but they’re like brothers and sisters to me – and what unites us is our passion for dance. It’s very special.”

This will also be the second time Chinese dancer Nancy Xu, 32, has been a part of the Strictly Pro Tour.

“I was so excited to be involved last year – and I wasn’t disappointed,” she said. “It was one of my dreams come true. This time round, there will be a dozen dancers - I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it!

“You really get to know the other dancers when you’re on tour, both onstage and off. It’s hard to beat good quality time with people you respect so much. I know I’ll be slightly nervous before stepping out in front of a live audience but in a good way: it gets the adrenalin going. The more they want to give to us, the more we want to give back. I can’t wait!”

Says Luba Mushtuk, 34, who recently became a British citizen: “I always find performing with other professionals inspiring. It makes me want to be the best version of myself every single show. They’re a great bunch. I love being with them: it’s a lot of fun on the stage but it’s a lot of fun off-stage, too. It’s like being part of a big family: I like us!

“We also have an incredible director/choreographer in Jason Gilkison who always knows how to bring out the best in us. When you’re out there, you feel a tremendous adrenalin rush. It’s why I love theatre so much.”

Ukrainian-born dancer, Nikita Kuzmin, 26, a recent runner-up in Celebrity Big Brother, is in complete agreement.

Last year’s Pro Tour exceeded all his expectations. “It was my favourite tour ever,” he says, “and so nice to be in such harmony with all the other professionals. It was fun, it was entertaining; we were truly like a family.”

But, echoing his fellow professionals, what makes the real difference, says Nikita, is the live audiences. “That’s the reason we dance: to see the people enjoying it, to get that response. It’s just unbelievable.

“What’s more, this year is going to be even bigger and better. We’ll have lots of personal sides to the show and special reminders for the people who watched the last season of Strictly. There’ll be so much dancing, I honestly believe it will be best Pro Tour ever.”

Polish-born Jowita Przystal, 29, joined the Strictly Pro Tour for the first-time last year.

“It was my biggest dream come true,” she said. “We’re all different but together we created something unique.

“Last year was amazing and this year is going to be even more dancing, more fun, more everything. As a performer, the stage is my happy place. And performing live in front of a theatre audience is the cherry on the cake.”

Says Australian Dianne Buswell, 34: “We spend so much time on Strictly focusing on the celebrities, and rightly so, but the Pro Tour is a chance for us to go out and show the world what we’re capable of.

“And I love theatres: the minute you step out on stage, you can not only hear the audience clapping and cheering but you can see how much they’re enjoying themselves.”

So why does Sicilian Graziano Di Prima, 30, regard the Pro Tour as something special?

“Because it’s both a celebration of the TV show,” he says, “and of us as professional dancers. Our director, Jason, also makes sure that each one of us has a solo spot to demonstrate what we can do.”

“There’ll barely be a day throughout May when we won’t be performing.”

And afterwards? “A holiday in the sun, please.”

For more details visit Tickets for the Lowry shows are available from