When former Strictly Come Dancing professional Robin Windsor says he’s hanging up his dancing shoes, he’s not doing things by half.
Once his ‘All Fun’ farewell tour is finished, he is packing his bags and heading off to St Lucia in the Caribbean to work at The Body Holiday, a luxury resort billed as the ‘ultimate getaway for body and mind.’
As the popular dancer says: ‘Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to a farewell after being on the road for 20 years and doing umpteen tours, and living out of a suitcase.
‘I’d been go out to the Body Holiday to do some work for a while, and they saw I was doing a farewell tour, so they asked what I was doing next, and I said: “I don’t really know…” So they said: “How would you feel about working and living out here?” I jumped at the opportunity! I’ll be heading up a team of people, teaching wellbeing and mind-set, it’s a big change and I’ll be going out there in February.’
It sounds terrible, The Guide jokes. ‘Yes, it’s a hard life, he laughs, ‘but I’ve made the big decision to hang up my dancing shoes. I’ll still do the odd dance class out there, but I wanted to make a big change before I’m 40 and that’s coming up in the not too distant future. So I said: “Let’s do it”. I felt it’s the right time.’
Although he’s best known for his five year stint on Strictly where he partnered the likes of Lisa Riley and Anita Dobson, he also had an earlier successful run on Broadway in a show called Burn The Floor.
‘I’ve managed to be quite successful as a ballroom dancer, I’ve done Broadway, I’ve done the West End, and I’ve done Strictly, and I’ve done plenty of tours since. The older you get, the more difficult it is. It’s like having a hangover when you hit 30, it’s a lot harder to deal with – now when I do a show, the next morning it takes me a good half hour to get moving!
‘It does start to take its toll though, and I wanted to go out on a high while I could still do it to the best of my ability, and not when people start looking at you going: “Ooh, he should have stopped a couple of years ago”.
‘I’m going to go out with a massive bang in what I consider to be the best show I’ve done.’
The show will trace highlights from Robin’s dance career, as well as all-new dances. ‘But me being me it’s going to be slightly camp,’ he adds, ‘and there will be a moment where there won’t be a dry eye in the house. Expect a lot of fun and sparkles.’
Robin identifies his appearance with Lisa in his first series of Strictly in 2012 as a particular career high point.
‘There’s so many favourite moments, but dancing with Lisa Riley is probably the biggest moment for me. It changed her career, it changed my career – we became the public’s favourite, my profile shot up right up. Everything changed that moment I jumped into her arms and she caught me on that very first episode. It’s one of those Strictly moments you’ll never forget and I’m glad I contributed to that.’
They made it to the semi-finals and formed an enduring friendship.
‘Lisa lives about 10 minutes from me now, I’ve been through everything with her, and she’s helped me through some very trying times as well. It’s fantastic. Strictly does that, it creates these lasting friendships, you get new family members, which is amazing.’
He’s already preparing for the Big Move – but knows it’s going to be a rather different pace of life from his current home of London.
‘Island life is very different, it’s very quiet. Everybody knows your business. In London you can kind of disappear, and I will miss the fast pace of life in London. And I will miss performing because it’s something I’ve done all my life.
‘But I’ll still be performing, every day when the sun rises, it’s like a red curtain going up and my stage is the beach for the day.
‘It’s going to be strange going back to that environment of working for someone else, but I’m doing a lot of training and learning new skills.’
And how does he think he’ll feel when it comes to the final show of the tour?
‘I can’t even talk about it right now. Every time I think about it, I get a lump in my throat already. I think that’s going to be the most emotional show I’ve ever done in my life.’
THE ALL FUN FAREWELL TOUR
New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
Wednesday, November 7