Two local people are taking the plunge as they prepare to put on their dancing shoes and go Strictly Come Prancing.
Strictly Come Prancing – Dundee’s answer to the BBC TV hit show – is already shaping up to be the most talked-about charity event of the year.
A dozen local couples will battle it out at a glitzy dance-off at the Apex Hotel in November in front of a panel of judges headed by celebrity style guru Gok Wan. Funds from the event will go to children’s charity Help for Kids.
Grant James Mulholland, 34, from Broughty Ferry, and Shirene Smith, 48, from Charleston, were strangers before they were partnered up for the event.
The glitz and glamour of the competition inspired financial director Shirene to sign up.
She said: “I have been fascinated with the idea of a dancing competition for ages – it is on my bucket list.
“I love the hair, the costumes and the make-up that comes with it.”
Company director Grant decided to put his name forward for a good cause.
He said: “I have done a lot for Help For Kids over the years.
“I am terrible at dancing and I have no co-ordination but the children really need the funds.”
The pair get on well, both having wanted to be partnered with someone they didn’t know in order to take the competition more seriously.
Grant has been surprised at how much hard work is involved in creating a dance routine.
He said: “Dancing is more strenuous than it looks and I take my hat off to anyone who does it professionally.”
Shirene, who says her only experience of dancing is in the pub, is determined not to come last.
Grant said: “I am quite competitive – I want to win.”
Their friendship is blossoming and Grant said the pair are yet to fall out. He added: “Shirene is the one with the rhythm and the moves.”
Shirene admitted that she was not nervous about the event until she realised they would be performing in front of 500 people, as well as Gok Wan.
The pair have just got their routine together and have been taking time out of rehearsals to watch YouTube videos of professional dancers.
Grant said: “We have really been going for it and practising for hours.”
Shirene thinks her dancing skills will improve as the event draws closer and has already been thinking up ideas for future events.
The glitzy event is being hosted by the Apex Hotel Marquee in Dundee.
Kim Wilkinson, director of sales for Apex Hotels in Scotland, said the competition is unlike anything it has ever hosted before.
She said: “We are really looking forward to it.
“For the last two years our marquee has been up for 10 to 14 days, however Dundee is crying out for such a venue to host larger events and Strictly Come Prancing is just one of the fabulous large- scale events planned this winter.
“It is also great that is it local ‘couples’ who will be hitting the dancefloor and we would love this to become a regular event on the Dundee calendar.”
The company is especially delighted about fashionista, Gok Wan, taking to the stage.
Kim said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Gok is returning to Dundee.
“He held a fashion brunch club with us last year and he was great fun with all our guests, so warm and engaging.”
The Apex Hotel also thinks the event is helping an “amazing” cause.
Kim added: “This is particularly poignant at this time of year when we look forward to the festive season, and being with our own families is at forefront of our minds.
“We are reminded that we can all make a difference by supporting the wonderful work that Help for Kids offers.”