Ballroom is two people dancing together to music, touching in perfect harmony.
My perfect morning is spent drinking coffee, eating porridge and reading the paper at a local cafe.
Because we had no other relatives living in the U.K., me, my parents and my siblings continuously journeyed abroad to bond with our extended family.
I’m busier than ever and it’s led to new opportunities. But I’ve never worried about being rich or famous – for me, it’s all about the dancing.
Too many multi-vitamins are packaged as one size fits all, but you should be more specific about what you need. When I was competing as a dancer, I took zinc for healthy skin and immune system.
Give up smoking. Don’t get so fat. So much illness is self-induced – which I can’t stand. And I’m not a good nursemaid. Don’t call me if you’re ill.
Being fit is the easiest part of being a dance professional. I used to just throw on a backpack full of rocks and run up a hill. You don’t even have to go to a gym.
If things don’t go fantastically, you just have to deal with it.
I like to get up and get out. Otherwise you end up kicking about, and it’s easy to flick the telly on; then before you know it, it is 11 A.M. and you haven’t done anything.
With the media how it is these days, people expect to know everything. I don’t talk about my girlfriend because essentially she doesn’t want to be talked about.
I’ve been playing golf as long as I’ve been dancing, since I was 13 or 14. I play off six. I like to get out on a golf course as often as I can.
My only drive was to be the best dancer in the world, but I never won the world championship.
My goal is to be the best TV presenter, the best entertainer, the best singer. I still want to be the best dancer. I want to be the best at everything I do.
When I’m dancing with any woman, I immediately get rid of intimacy barriers. I just give her a big hug and crack on.
Ballroom dancing: it’s a wonderful thing at so many levels because you’ve got to follow the rules. They used to call those rules etiquette once upon a time, but you don’t really have that any more.
It’s great that ballroom dancing is being recognised. For many years ballroom dancers were misunderstood and other dance forms didn’t want anything to do with us.
I’m a bit of a traditionalist; the ballroom is all about tails and I never mess about with that. But for the Latin you can have a bit fun: tight trousers, gold shirt open to my waist, be a bit ridiculous.
I don’t like the Samba; it’s nonsense. With a lot of these Latin dances I can’t really understand what they’re all about. I like the Rumba and the Paso Doble but the others I could take or leave.
Since being involved in ‘Strictly Come Dancing,’ my life has changed completely. I can’t walk down the street without women throwing themselves at me, I usually wouldn’t mind, but they are of a certain age. Hopefully, after this series, they will bring their daughters!
My favourite dance is the Foxtrot. It’s a proper dance with proper music. It has class.
You can’t talk about yourself in the third party – that makes you a lunatic!
One day, I just wandered into a dance class full of girls, and that was it. I thought, ‘Hang on! I’ll have a bit of this.’ I went back a week later and got dragged up by the teacher. It wasn’t a massive calling.
A dancer’s career is short – you just keep going until your legs pack up.
I don’t get grumpy at a ‘Strictly’ level, you understand. We’re just making a television show – the person I’m dancing with can’t dance; they’re doing their best, and we’re not going to win the World Championships.
I just get grumpy with bad behaviour.
I’ve never worried about being rich or famous – for me, it’s all about the dancing.
I went professional with my partner, Erin Boag, 11 years ago, and we had success competing round the world, but appearing on ‘Strictly’ has changed my life.
It may sound cliched, but ‘Strictly’ is a real journey. I try to encourage my partner to stay in as long as they can, but above all to enjoy it.
I’ve been playing golf as long as I’ve been dancing, since I was 13 or 14.
Being a competitive dancer is an expensive business – you have to buy the £2,000 or so tail suit and the shoes, and then get yourself around the world to the competitions. And there is not a lot of money to be made in competing.
Because we had no money when I was growing up, when I started dancing, I wasn’t allowed to be frivolous – my mum made me go to every lesson because she was paying for it.
I don’t mind how good or bad my partner is, as long as we have a lovely time.
Mum was always hard-working. She came over from Spain and bought her own council house.
The Fred Astaire movies made a huge impression on me.
My goal was to become the best dancer in the world and, because I started late, I always had this feeling I was playing catch-up, so I’ve been a bit of a maniac most of my life, sort of striving.
I have no trouble with my sleep, but the amount I have varies from four to eight hours, depending on my schedule.
So much illness is self-induced – which I can’t stand. And I’m not a good nursemaid. Don’t call me if you’re ill.
The worst question is, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ I don’t know. Variety is the spice of life. That’s the best way to describe it.
I want to do lots of exciting, varied, interesting things. That’s what I want to do.
You spend your life having lessons, practising and competing as an amateur, and working during the day. As you get to the top end of the amateur field, you try not to work anymore; you earn your living through dancing, maybe by doing a bit of teaching. It’s an ongoing life’s work.
I worked as an interior designer. I worked as a furniture salesman. I worked as a financial adviser. I worked as a painter and decorator – that wasn’t for very long. I was a baker for about four-and-a-half years.
I’ve become a produce snob. I like to eat food that’s in season.
I’m going for Britain’s Best Dressed Man award, but strangely, I’m never on the list.
I get really very upset when I’m voted out, and I feel very disappointed.
I wish I’d become a professional dancer sooner. I did other jobs – like baking – while dancing part-time, and didn’t commit until I was 29.
I go through money like a bloke with three arms.
Bruce Forsyth is my hero, and the thought that I’d be in a TV show with him was incredible.
‘Strictly’ is a bit like scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final or sinking the final putt in the Ryder Cup – only a few people get the opportunity to do it, and they have got to be famous.
I always enjoy the process, meeting somebody new and spending time with them and becoming friends with them. That has always been the joy of ‘Strictly’ for me, so I enjoy every year.
I think cookery shows have become so sophisticated, and everyone’s so marvellous at it, but there are people like me who aren’t into the cooking malarkey, who still don’t know how to boil an egg for three minutes.
I do watch what I eat, but I don’t make it myself. When I eat out, I just have to make sure the things I buy are good and healthy.
The thing about me is that I love variety. I like to try new things, and I don’t want to be pinned back.
I think I’ve got a bit more to offer than just dancing. It might just be me that thinks that, but it’s worth saying.
I’m happy to dance with anyone, to be honest. I’ve had some great partners, who have all been talented. But not all of them at dancing.
I got sent some cheese once. I’m not sure if that was saying something about my act, or just because I like cheese.
I don’t profess to be Luciano Pavarotti, but I can hold a tune.
I’d like to do a kind of ‘Sunday Night At The Palladium’-style variety show on the BBC.
I was one of those people who just flitted about in life. I had no plans and no sense of direction.
We didn’t know anything about Judy Murray until we met her, but once we got to know her, we found she was an absolute scream.
If I do find myself walking up the aisle and dancing at my own wedding reception, I want the first dance to be both spontaneous and dramatic.
As I grew up, I wasn’t a great buyer of albums, but I really liked ‘The Jam.’ I like good musicians and loved the energy of their songs.
I hated most music in the 1970s, especially disco, but Bowie was edgier.
Frank Sinatra was a great singer, but my favourite is Sammy Davis Jr. He had incredible versatility in his voice, often doing impressions of people. It’s always going to be classic, and you’ll never get bored listening.
I remember watching the Three Tenors at the World Cup in 1990, and it was amazing. They made opera accessible to the man in the street.
As soon as I left school at 16, I worked in a factory making aircraft components.
My father is Hungarian and moved to Britain during the uprising, and my Spanish mum comes from Galicia; they moved here at the end of the Fifties.
There is not a lot of money in competition dancing. There never has been; it’s all about winning the trophies, really. It’s not like golf.
As soon as I started dancing at 14, I knew I was always going to be a professional dancer.
I enjoy watching talented cooks bringing together ingredients into a fabulous dish.
Life’s supposed to be an adventure, a surprise!
The world would be a better place if everyone learned to dance.
When you dance together, there’s a fabulous interaction. It’s quite intimate. You’re touching your partner, leading them. Learning how to behave in that person’s proximity is a skill. I love it. I can’t imagine tiring of it.
I just like to sit and admire my garden; it’s so well kept by my gardener and my girlfriend.
At places like Chelsea, often the garden displays are so big and grand that you’d never be able to have them at home.
The Ritz in London has an old-fashioned charm, with waiters wearing tails and white gloves. The dining room is exquisite, with immaculate service and ornate details.
My old dance teacher, Jimmy Wilde, a former European ballroom dancing champion, was so sophisticated.
If I avoid anything, it’s that I don’t really go to places that are like a little corner of England. I also never mind going to a dance show because I love it all so much.
Wherever I can get a fast track, I’ll try to because I can’t stand the airport experience. If you can afford priority boarding, then do it. Nobody wants an unpleasant experience before it starts.
I have a magnificent chin and a long, odd-shaped face. As a result, I always look better in collars.
I work out in the gym three times a week on top of my dancing, so I have to eat a lot to keep my weight and energy up: a big breakfast, and little and often throughout the day.
I know what I’m good at, and if I’m asked to do something I’m not – like hip-hop dancing – I get self-conscious.
I look better with a tan, but I’ve never gone the fake route. I don’t need to – I have good foreign genes: half Spanish, half Hungarian.
Having been part of this wonderful show ever since series one, I know all too well what it’s like to perform to the nation on the famous ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ dancefloor.