Karen Hauer reveals how 'passion project' with Gorka Marquez is a 'little different' to other Strictly style shows
PUBLISHED: 14:09 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:38 05 February 2020
Strictly Come Dancing favourite Karen Hauer has teamed up with fellow professional Gorka Marquez for the first time on their brand new Latin tour Firedance. Here she talks Strictly, fitness and dogs and reveals why fans can expect something "a little bit different" from the pair.
Since joining the cast of Strictly Come Dancing in 2012, Karen has been part of some of the most memorable duos in the show's history with her partners including Jeremy Vine, Dave Myers and Charles Venn.
In 2019 the 37-year-old, who was born in Venezuela and grew up in New York, made it to the semi-finals with Chris Ramsey thanks to some unforgettable performances such as the pair's street dance to the PJ and Duncan hit Let's Get Ready to Rhumble.
Having performed in a number of live theatre productions, including Burn The Floor, Karen is now heading out on tour with Gorka in a Latin spectacular which is set to get temperatures soaring.
The duo will be joined by a live band featuring Latin musicians and a dance ensemble, performing some of the more passionate dances such as Argentine tango, samba and salsa.
Congratulations on making the semi-finals of Strictly Come Dancing with Chris Ramsey. What was it like dancing with the comedian?
It was one of my favourite seasons I have done on Strictly. He was relaxed, fun, wanted to learn and obviously being a complete beginner it was great having someone like him with his outlook on life and his outlook on learning was right on brand.
He was such a lovely man to work with, so hard working, and never when I got partnered with him did I ever think we would get to the semi-finals, but we had the best time and we enjoyed what we were doing and that was all that mattered to us.
Did you have a favourite routine from the series?
Our commercial dance was really good and the one we did in Blackpool, our salsa to Uptown Funk, where he was just a complete superstar.
Those were definitely the highlights for me and at the end of it all it was just about us enjoying it and for him to enjoy his Strictly journey.
You are going on tour with fellow Strictly pro Gorka Marquez in your own show Firedance. What can fans expect from the two of you?
We are incorporating dances that are the paso doble, the tango, contemporary dance and dances that really mean a lot to us especially as we both come from Latin backgrounds, Gorka being from Spain and myself being from Venezuela.
All these dances are acting based with the fire dances and ones that mean a lot to us.
And I guess what is more important is that it is a passion project for us that really reflects a lot of character and emotion and we tell a story through all the dances that we are doing.
It's something that we really, really care about and we are not really going to chat, it is going to be all dance all night.
How did this collaboration with Gorka come about?
Obviously we have been working together on Strictly for four years now and then last year we just started doing some gigs together and it was fun.
We have the same mind set, we love the same styles and he is really easy to work with and he is such a wonderful dancer.
We have a lot of things in common in terms of what we like especially when it comes to dance. We both speak Spanish so it was a no-brainer from when we started dancing together.
We both love the rhythms of the dances and the music is the heartbeat of all the movement that we do so we're really excited about picking all the music and the styles, it's really important for us.
It's not your usual Strictly Come Dancing style tour, we are a little bit different from the tours that are going to be out there because we are specifically picking dances like salsa, samba, paso doble, Argentine tango, dances that we really connect with emotionally.
Is there going to be a storyline throughout the dances?
It's going to be a West Side Story style, a couple meet and it's how they go through their love life. We are still working on the storyline right now but it does have that Romeo and Juliet theme to it.
Are there any particular dance styles you're excited to perform with Gorka on the tour?
I'm a sucker for a paso doble because it's such a beautiful dance. It's strong for a man and it's strong for a woman as well and you can see how to incorporate every detail from how your fingers move, the back muscles and the strength behind it and the music, I'm really looking forward to that.
But I also love a good beautiful contemporary dance, it's soft, I love the balance between those two and the opposition of it.
What's the difference performing in a live theatre space to performing on Strictly?
When you are on television you are performing for those 90 seconds and it has to be perfect, you are pretty much going for perfection or for getting through that particular dance.
But obviously you are dancing with a celebrity so you can't really go too full out, you don't want to scare them.
When you are in a live theatre you are able to express your self everyday completely different because the waves of emotions that are coming and how I am as a person in life will definitely affect how I am on stage. But I take that on board and I find it quite fascinating. I love both as they are very exciting and very thrilling.
You are the longest serving female professional on Strictly. How has the show changed your life?
It's absolutely changed my life, the way I perform, what I am allowed to do having danced on such a high platform is really lovely.
When I first started dancing I never thought I would be here talking about my own show with Gorka and living in London and having dance as my career.
It's a very a difficult career to go into and Strictly has definitely made a change to everything, the fact that dance now is now a number one television show people love.
We almost take them out of the realm and bring them into our own little world of happiness and emotion.
Away from dance you have created your own Hauer Power fitness programme, how did that come about?
I've always loved fitness since I was a kid, it's something that has been with me for a while.
For me it is about connecting myself to my inner self, to my body mentally and physically, it's been something I have had to work on and it really helps me in my daily life.
That's why I created Hauer Power, it feels good, it feels nice. I do the workouts at home for 12 minutes and it's about moving your body around, getting yourself mentally and physically ready for the day.
It was something I was taught by my mum since I was a little kid, to exercise and release that energy and also trying to centre myself and knowing myself from the inside out.
At home you have your pack of adorable rescue dogs, Betty, Marley and Phoebe. Is this a cause close to your heart?
My three rescue dogs are one of the best things that have happened to my partner David and I.
We absolutely encourage people to adopt and not shop and the charity we work with called the Wild At Heart Foundation is an amazing foundation that re-homes rescue dogs and they bring an awareness to all these countries and people and bring more knowledge about taking care of dogs.
And they have changed my life and absolutely change our lives every day. They teach me more about kindness and about love and loyalty, there is so much love you get from a dog.
But it's really important for us to rescue dogs and help them find their forever home and I'm definitely going to have about 17.
Everyday I look at the website and I see a puppy everyday that I want but I think it's an extremely amazing thing for people to be doing and it's very important nowadays.
Are there any other projects you are working on this year and do you know if you will be back on Strictly?
We don't know yet about Strictly but I'm going on the professionals Strictly tour after Firedance so I'm a busy girl!
Firedance is at the Ipswich Regent Theatre on March 10 and tickets start at £32.50.
You can purchase tickets at ipswichtheatres.co.uk, 01473 433100 or in person at the box office.