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Aliona Vilani joins Brendan Cole for Licence To Thrill tour

Posted on December 20, 2013


Brendan Cole will be joined by fellow Strictly Come Dancing professional Aliona Vilani for his Licence To Thrill tour. Aliona steps into the leading lady shoes for the tour after French Dancing with the Stars champion Fauve Hautot pulled out having injured the cruciate ligaments in her knee.

Brendan said: “It is such a shame not to have Fauve returning to join me for the tour; she is a phenomenal dancer and will very much be missed on the tour. However, I am really excited to have Aliona stepping into her shoes. Having worked with her on Strictly since 2009, I know what an incredible dancer she is and I can’t wait to see what she brings to the show.”

Aliona joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2009 and was runner-up in 2010 before going on to take the glitterball trophy in 2011 with McFly’s Harry Judd.

Brendan presented his new show Licence To Thrill, the follow-up to his debut theatre tour, Live and Unjudged, in 2013 and next year’s 48-date tour kicks off on January 16 in Eastbourne.

The rest of Brendan’s stellar cast includes Australian dancer Melanie Hooper, who first joined Brendan for the final run of his Live and Unjudged tour, Germany’s Patrick Helm, who has been assisting the artistic director on this year’s Strictly, as well as performing in a number of the professional dances, and home-grown dancer Crystal Main. Completing the line-up is Brendan’s brother, Scott, who always brings something unique to the evening.

Brendan said: “My dance cast is truly international with a collective CV from competition, theatre, stage and television! I’m very lucky to have a cast that have been in Dancing with the Stars around the world, as well as stars from the Broadway hit Burn The Floor and, of course, Strictly Come Dancing. With this wealth of talent, we will ensure audiences have the best seat in the house, every night, all night and I can’t wait to see the show back out in theatres again.”

The Licence To Thrill band will be led by musical director, Barry Robinson, and includes 14 musicians and vocalists Ian Mackenzie and Julie Maguire.

Brendan and his Strictly Come Dancing partner, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, will compete in the Strictly grand final tomorrow, Saturday, December 21. Aliona Vilani will compete in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special with celebrity partner, Matt Goss (both pictured), on Christmas Day at 5pm.

For more information on the Licence To Thrill tour, click here.


Photograph: BBC

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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