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Strictly Inverness 2024 diary: The journey begins

By Andrew Dixon

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Dancers for Strictly Inverness 2024.
Dancers for Strictly Inverness 2024.

Nervous excitement is the only way to describe being part of Strictly Inverness 2024 so far.

I’ve been to a few Strictly Inverness finals (in the audience) and they have all been spectacular with such an amazing standard of dancing that everyone involved in the 13th edition will aspire to reach.

Getting there from square one will be a journey for all of us, with ups and downs and lots of fun along the way.

I’m sure lasting friendships will be forged as we all share goals of learning to dance, putting on our best performances at showtime while raising money for event organisers and hosts Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre along the way.

We all know the important work the hospice does and I’m not alone in having family and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer, with differing outcomes.

I’ve thought about doing Strictly before but now seemed the right time to force myself to carve out time for something new, challenge myself and meet more people.

Dancers for Strictly Inverness 2024.
Dancers for Strictly Inverness 2024.

The event will make history as having its first same-sex dance partnerships, which adds an interesting extra dimension but is also due to more women wanting to take part than men. Hopefully my Strictly diaries will inspire more men to get involved in future.

Although I’m excited to be involved, I think my kids and a few of my colleagues are even more excited. Hopefully that feeling will continue as we build towards the contest in May.

But the first big night was pairing night at Loch Ness Country House Hotel. I must admit the butterflies in my stomach were building all day as it was like stepping into the unknown, but everyone was so nice and some admitted feeling the same way! We were put at ease early on and a wee icebreaker forced us to speak to each other before we took to the dance floor.

Our enthusiastic tutors showed us a few moves and it was a case of rinse and repeat with a series of potential dance partners until the tutors were finished matchmaking. I’m really pleased with my dance partner Ruth, who is a lovely person and will hopefully keep me on track. We clicked immediately on the night as she recognised me from our daily newsletters and came over to start chatting, and I just about kept up with her and her injured foot (thankfully I didn’t add to the damage with my clown feet!)

For me, the salsa dance moves were tough to keep up with as the music got faster but looking back, I should have just let myself go a wee bit more. That’ll be lesson one and although this was just a taster, I’m sure that there will be huge improvements as Ruth and I get to know each other and start to move in sync. I’m sure that’ll be the same for the other 15 couples too.

Every 10 out of 10 performance starts with a first step. We’ve all just taken ours.

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