It's hats off to Erin Boag, the only female dancer to compete in ten series of the BBC phenomenon ‘Strictly Come Dancing’!
From competing internationally, appearing on our screens or passing on her passion for dance to the next generation of stars and dance enthusiasts, Erin has made her mark as one of the most highly respected female ballroom dancers since Ginger Rogers.Read about Erin’s life in dance...
“Dancing does so much to improve the confidence and your ability to communicate.
You have to be tactile, you’re given permission to touch somebody... to look into their eyes and make contact.”
“I just couldn’t sit still in my buggy so I got out and danced... and I just didn’t stop!”
Erin took her first dancing steps at the age of 3 when she was taken along to her older brother's dance class. Unable to sit still in her buggy, she was allowed to get out and join in the fun – those first steps setting her on her way toward an illustrious career in dance.
Her connection with dance was made firm in those early years, Erin quickly becoming hooked and studying a range of forms including Ballet, Jazz Ballet, Disco, Tap and of course Ballroom and Latin. Of them all, it was Ballroom that won her heart.
At 15 she visited Australia to watch a high profile ballroom competition – a turning point in Erin's life and an experience to set her firmly on the path to becoming a professional dancer. Proving to be a fast learner, just three years later Erin became the New Zealand Ballroom and Latin 10 Dance Amateur Champion. She was a fast mover too: in 1994, following her dreams, she moved from her home and family in New Zealand to further her career in Australia… to then make the even bigger move around the world to the UK just 18 months later.
This series of perfectly timed steps enabled fate to play its hand when the following year her path crossed with that of the young and charming Anton Du Beke. Their professional partnership was forged and the pair took the competition world by storm!
Testament to their talent, chemistry and widespread acclaim, the couple were chosen in 2004 to star in the first series of the BBC1 television show ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ – the big break would take Erin away from the competition circuit and onto career opportunities she had not dreamt possible.
“Anton tells people he discovered me dancing in a lap-dancing club and marvelled at my inner thigh strength!
(Of course, it’s not true!)”
Erin met Anton Du Beke in 1997 and the couple quickly began to cut a dash through the dancing world. Within a year of forming their partnership they won the New Zealand Championships in 1998... and again the year after. In 1998 they also made it to the prestigious International Dance Championships at the Royal Albert Hall – an event Erin still holds as being one of the most emotional and memorable moments of her career.
After escalating the Amateur rankings, Anton and Erin turned professional in 2002 and placed 3rd in the UK in their first professional competition in Blackpool. Numerous wins and accolades followed as they worked the competition circuit, prestigious achievements including:
Their talent, sparkle and personalities captured the imagination of the BBC in 2004 when they were invited to take part in the first series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’... and have appeared in ten of the eleven series together (Anton still appearing, Erin leaving the show after series ten). The pair are delighted that ballroom dancing is no longer seen as a relic of a bygone era and that the general public have taken ‘Strictly’ – and ballroom dancing – to heart.
Regularly performing live in shows, events and tours, Erin & Anton dazzle with their charm, wit and ballroom magic, transporting audiences back in time to an age of elegance and romance. From their sell-out tours, dance breaks & weekends to a wide variety of corporate and private events, they’re a pair of consummate entertainers, and as such in great demand.
Household names, dance icons and national treasures, Erin & Anton are undoubtedly the most respected and recognisable couple in ballroom dancing today.
Erin is the only female dancer to have competed in ten series of the the BBC's hit phenomenon 'Strictly Come Dancing' - see all her celebrity partners here in her Strictly Hall Of Fame!
“I’m so thrilled to have been a part of the show from the beginning, back in 2004. I’ve been very lucky with my dance partners – they've all been wonderful, whether they can dance or not. I’ve not clashed with anyone yet and still stay in contact with them all – I’ve had the time of my life!”
“I heard Erin was nicknamed Miss Whiplash, but she’s the most easy going person:
if I get something wrong, the worst she’ll do is pull out my toenails one by one with a pair of pliers,”
joked Austin Healey about Erin’s strict approach.
“I feel very privileged to have met such wonderful people, been able to support such worthy charities
and participate in such fantastic events – all through dance!”
Erin is not only envied by women for her wonderfully handsome dance partners, it's also for those fabulous frocks too - they create quite a stir among fans and she is frequently asked where the stunning outfits come from. The dresses are all created by Dancesport International, the company behind all the dancers' costumes for the 'Strictly' series. And when the show is over?… Some of the outfits are returned to Dancesport International's London showroom where they can be purchased by anyone wishing to own one of her stunning gowns.
Take a look through DSI's website to spot some of the famous dresses as worn on some of Strictly's most spectacular dances. The remainder of the dazzling frocks are used again on live tours, shows and events across the country.
And what about her shoes?… Erin's dance shoes are handmade in London by Supadance who make shoes of the finest quality for some of the world's leading dancers… and they also supply to the general public too.