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Strictly's Giovanni Pernice to play Bury St Edmunds dance gig

Italian dancing supremo Giovanni Pernice is bringing his solo show Made in Italy to The Apex this May.

Suffolk News' Kevin Hurst finds out who his favourite dancer to work with is and why he had a special connection with his 2021 Strictly partner Rose Ayling-Ellis

How did Strictly come about for you and what made you want to be a part of it?

Giovanni Pernice is coming to The Apex in May (Pic: Lisa Hornall)
Giovanni Pernice is coming to The Apex in May (Pic: Lisa Hornall)

So I was doing a cookery show for BBC studios and with one of the other professional dancers, Joanne Clifton, we were dancing for the Backstreet Boys. The producers of Strictly were there and they asked me to be a part of the show and I said yes.

It is a family show, it’s a show for everybody, and I think that is why the show is so successful.

People get involved with the celebrity and the journey and that is also why I think the show is so successful.

Giovanni Pernice is coming to The Apex in May (Pic: Lisa Hornall)
Giovanni Pernice is coming to The Apex in May (Pic: Lisa Hornall)

On the Made in Italy tour, you are showing us a bit of your homeland, but how have Italian influences shaped the way you look at dance and life?

Obviously, I am Italian my friend so I have spent all my life being Italian and even though now I call myself English, because my culture is going towards the English side of it, I’m still Italian. Although I have lost my accent, Italy is in my blood.

Yeah, you have definitely lost the accent for sure. Now what style of dance is challenging for you and which one do you find the hardest to teach?

Good question. I find it difficult at my age now to do all the fast dances. I used to be the Guinness World Record holder for the Jive and the Charleston, but now at 32 years old speed is not my strength anymore. I love the Argentine Tango, I love a passion dance, I love those things.

The most difficult dance to teach, I would say are the Latins in general when it comes to technique.

Giovanni Pernice is coming to The Apex in May (Pic: Lisa Hornall)
Giovanni Pernice is coming to The Apex in May (Pic: Lisa Hornall)

Who is your favourite dancer to work with and what makes them so great to work with?

Well, it has to be my partner-in-crime Anton Du Beke. He is not a professional dancer any more, he’s a judge, even better, but Anton is definitely the person they are looking at as a legend really, and the reason why is because he knows what he is doing, he has been there from the beginning and is just a legend and a funny guy to work with.

During your winning season on Strictly in 2021, what were the processes that you and Rose (Ayling-Ellis) had to adopt due to her deafness to learn each week’s dance?

I think between me and Rose it was special because we had this sort of connection which is hard to find with other celebrities and I really adapted my way of teaching for obvious reasons.

It was only difficult the first two weeks and then it started to be normal for us because the more time we spent together Rose learned how to read my lips, so I could speak normally and she could understand our short conversations.

In longer ones, we had an interpreter with us and that is when Strictly and the whole BBC team was incredible because they really looked after Rose with everything that she needed.

And finally, if you weren’t a professional dancer, what would you have liked to have done instead?

I would be a Prime Minister.

Prime Minister, straight away?

Yeah, 100 per cent, it depends. . . or a king, I have not decided yet.

Giovanni Pernice’s Made in Italy, May 1-2, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Call 01284 758000 or visit theapex.co.uk