When Camilla Dallerup quit Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, she really thought that was the end of the line for her and dance.
But now she is out on the road with her professional partner, Ian Waite, in their Up Close and Personal show, which she is calling her ‘farewell tour.’
After appearing in all of the Saturday night show’s first six series, she went out on a high – she got to lift the winners’ Glitterball Trophy with her celebrity partner, actor Tom Chambers (pictured below right).
The Danish-born dancer says she had already decided that the 2008 series would be her last before she won it.
‘I literally just felt that I wasn’t truly aligned with what I really wanted to do anymore. I’ve danced since I was two-and-a-half. I’ve seen the world with it, but I found myself ready to retire from competitive dancing when I was 30.
‘Then Strictly came along and suddenly six years passed, and then I woke up one day in my mid-30s and thought: “My God, what just happened?”
I think I had grown up being “Camilla The Dancer”, and I suddenly thought, who am I actually now at 35 without all of this?Camilla Dallerup
‘I thought this time I am really ready to do something else.’
She has since reinvented herself as a motivational speaker and mindful living coach, and along with actor husband Kevin Sacre (best known for playing Jake Dean in Hollyoaks) has relocated to Los Angeles.
‘I’ve always had this need to go and work with people.
‘You learn so much about motivation and confidence and feeling comfortable in your own skin through dance, which is wonderful.
‘I wanted to go and share that with other people and that they can do anything they put their mind to. I had tried to deny it for a few years really, because I thought I’m so lucky doing this job (Strictly), but then I couldn’t deny it any more as I’m not really happy within.
‘I needed to find out how in my mid-30s I could make myself happy. What I had cared about my entire life, I suddenly didn’t care for so much any more.’
When they moved to LA, it was part of a longstanding ambition for Camilla – but she’d never been to the City of Angels before.
‘After doing motivational speaking, and telling everyone to follow their dreams, and to act on them, one of my major dreams was to write my first book in the sun and I’m a coach who walks the walk, so I said to my husband one day, “If I’m going to be completely honest, I have to do it”, and he said: “Let’s do it, then”.
‘I’d never been to LA before, but I had a feeling that I wanted to be there. I wrote my first book, Strictly Inspirational there, and now I’ve written my second book Reinvent Me, and I run my coaching business over there. I love it!’
But retiring from the dance world hasn’t been as easy as she thought it would be.
‘I’ve been trying to retire ever since I left Strictly in 2008 but something always kind of brought me back in for some reason and I couldn’t say no, especially when it involved dancing with Ian because it always felt so lovely, so I kept a toe in the door.
‘That led to doing quite a lot of touring with Ian, and many different shows and pantos, but I always felt like I’m coaching and that’s what I do and I really want to finish this tour in a nice, celebratory way.
‘I will be sad, obviously, and I will miss working with Ian, and the rumba – without the rumba I don’t know if I would have danced all of these years. It’s pretty unique. It describes life, with its ups and downs and magical moments, it’s really the one where I feel you can connect with the audience in a really amazing way.’
Her second book, Reinvent Me, was published this summer, and it came from Camilla realising that she needed to work out who she was if she wasn’t a dancer.
‘I think I had grown up being “Camilla The Dancer”, and I suddenly thought, who am I actually now at 35 without all of this? And I also wanted to have balance in my life and come home and not just travel all the time. I just had different needs.
‘It had completely defined me, which is why I also needed to find out who is this Camilla?’
Despite that, she’s relishing the chance to bow out in fine style.
‘But I’m really excited about doing this show with Ian, we get to share some of our favourite dances, and our favourite stories and music – we have a singer with us who’ll be singing some of our favourite songs. It’s an interactive show in the sense that we’ll chat with the audience – we’ll be taking questions from the audience – and I’ll enjoy being back in the arms of Ian.
‘Ian and I danced together for 12 years, and this farewell tour is also to celebrate 12 years of being dance partners.
‘I don’t know what it is with Ian but since the first time, it just feels easy, and even if we’ve been apart for six months, we have a rehearsal and it feels like we haven’t been apart, and that’s rare in life.
‘We’ve had an amazing time working together and working with Ian is like hanging out with your best friend.
* Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup: Up Close and Personal is at New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth on Saturday, September 30, doors 7.30pm.
Tickets £26.50. Go to newtheatreroyal.com or call the box office on (023) 9264 9000.