Brian Beacom

THERE was a time when Flavia Cacace could have danced all night. Every night.

Then after six years on the road with dance partner Vincent Simone - whom she’d danced with since she was fourteen - she decided she’d had enough.

The former Strictly star had had enough of sore feet and the smell of wintergreen, touring round the country with shows such as Dance ‘Till Dawn.

But now she’s back, with her new theatre piece Tango Moderno, a fusion of ballroom, Latin and Argentine tango.

What’s going on, Flavia?

“Never say never again,” says the Naples-born dancer, smiling.

“The last one was supposed to be the last. This is our seventh year on the road and it takes its toll but at the same time this is a very different project.

“What we have to consider is we’ve been doing this since a very young age and it’s hard to step back.

“And what’s also been happening is we’ve been enjoying great audience reaction. It’s hard to walk away from that too.”

Flavia adds; “Television is great, but you don’t get the instant feedback you get in a theatre. And the theatre, especially the older ones such as you have in Glasgow, offer a great atmosphere.

“When you work in places like that it’s so hard to give up on something you love doing.”

Tango Moderno is the couple’s first show - it features music by the likes of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran - that’s set in the modern day and in a city.

“It’s left to the audience to work out where the city is but it’s quite urban,” she explains.

“The main difference is that we’re not going to be characters in the show but rather we’ll be narrating it through dance.

“But there are also some beautiful ballads in there which will allow us to do a waltz and a foxtrot. The traditional tango wouldn’t always fit the theme, but modern tango music out there.”

As always, particularly with the tango, “the dance of love”, the show is passion-packed.

How does it feel to be clutching someone tight every night (twice a day with matinees), staring into their eyes with a longing and creating the impression you want to make them porridge in the morning?

“For ‘normal’ people what we do would be intrusive,” she says, smiling.

“But it’s not for us. It’s a job we love to do. We don’t even have to think about it.”

Yet, Flavia, whose parents moved to London when she was four, is all too aware that dance can turn into the vertical expression of a horizontal desire.

She was once a real-life partner with Vincent Simone. Then she appeared on Strictly and began a relationship with Eastenders star Matt Di Angelo.

The couple were together for three years but then Flavia quickstepped into a new relationship with celebrity partner, actor Jimi Mistry. (The couple are now married.)

Dancing can become intimate, you suggest.

“Well, I have to say Vincent and I aren’t tied together for the entire Tango Moderno show.

“We also dance with other cast members. And when we dance it’s firstly it’s about the technique of the routines. Then we have to go on stage and at the emotional content.

“But that content is like acting, and our shows have a story.”

There’s a real sense the lady is still in love with dance, and all that being a professional dancer offers.

Can she believe she’s made a career out of it?

“Sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time. You make the sacrifices and you hope to catch the luck at the right time.

“But I did. And to land Strictly was amazing. But I never planned to go into musical theatre. I’d never gone to musical theatre school. But we were offered the chance and it’s worked.”

However, at 37 she knows there are only so many times a lady can rumba each day.

“That’s true,” she says, smiling. “What will happen is the breaks in between shows will be longer, to give us time and home, to relax, have a normal life.”

That’s not to say her entire life is by performing on a stage.

“In ten years I may be doing something completely different,” she maintains.

“I’m open minded. Perhaps I’ll be working in fitness and health, or I may be working with animals, dogs or horses.”

She adds; “For now, I love what I do. And I love the fact people can come along for two hours and forget about their lives and their problems and just enjoy great music and great dancing.”

• Tango Moderno, the King’s Theatre, until Saturday.