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The Lowe-Down

Posted on January 9, 2015


In the December issue of Dance Today, Natalie Lowe looked back at Strictly Come Dancing 2014

cops and robbers pro danceWell, so much has happened since last month! The Strictly bus made its way to the beautiful Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where we filmed what was for me, personally, one of THE best shows I’ve seen in years. The atmosphere was electric, the celebrities were on fire and everyone was on form including the judges. We had acrobats, Union Jack soldiers and flying balloons that lifted up Judy, whom we sadly saw leave the competition.

What a delightful lady to work with. With such a beautiful energy, she really embraced what Strictly is all about: a non-dancer taking to the dancefloor and giving her best week in, week out, providing us with joy and the hope that if she can dance and love it as much she did, anyone watching who has always wanted to try should. The physical and positive benefits dance brings into one’s life are truly so remarkable that unless you try it for yourself, it’s hard to understand how life-changing it can be.

Prior to Blackpool, Anton Du Beke and I were in a dance-off with some dance stars of the future for Children in Need, where we were lucky enough to hold up the Pudsey Glitter Bear. It was a great evening of dance, which helped to raise a load of money. I’m proud to have taken part in this event.

We’ve also had the spectacular Halloween Week thrown in there and what an epic show that was as well. So the Strictly dancefloor is really hotting up just in time for the Christmas special and the build-up to the grand finale.halloween strictly

Another great programme starting next year for you all to keep an eye out for is the People’s Strictly, where we choose heroes from the general public and take them through the Strictly experience. I was happy to announce one of the winners last week with Olympian Louis Smith. What a show it will be!

Finally, I would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. I have loved being part of your world for the last four months – thank you for following me through my 2014 Strictly journey. If you need any more health, fitness or dance-related tips and advice, or if you would like to contact me for school appearances, shows, lectures or lessons, then register your interest at and I will be happy to respond to your enquiry.

Strictly facts

03 highlight barry manilowLen and Bruno fly to the US every week during Strictly to judge Dancing with the Stars. It’s a long haul for them…

My Strictly highlight from this month was performing an American smooth foxtrot to André Rieu and Alfie Boe with the gorgeous Brendan Cole and meeting Barry Manilow (pictured)! 

My ultimate health tips for 2015

Tip 1: Get plenty of sleep

I really notice the difference in my desire to achieve more if I have had a good night’s rest. During Strictly my workload is amazing, but very intense.  I get as little as four hours’ sleep most nights, staying up choreographing and researching for the weeks ahead. I have learned to manage my time better, as going without sleep can be extremely unhealthy, both mentally and physically. So learn to wind down early, avoid caffeine before bed, don’t sleep with the heaters on and hydrate before you fall asleep, so you wake up fresh with a sharper mind and a spring in your step.

Tip 2: Stress less

There is always a solution to everything. Positivity will get you everywhere. Whatever’s bothering you, get rid of it! If you can’t get to the gym, don’t worry – you can make up for it some other way. The more you stress, the more things will go wrong: you’re not doing yourself any favours. You’re shortening your lifespan and you’re more likely to eat something you wouldn’t normally because you’re not thinking straight. Find solutions: get up early in the morning and go for a quick run to start your next day on a high, 20–30 minutes are all you need.

Tip 3: Listen to your body

Think of your body as if it were a car. It needs to be well-oiled to work smoothly. If you don’t fill up, you will run out of fuel and break down resulting in dehydration and tiredness. If you’re driving long-distance and constantly overdoing it, never taking breaks, you will overheat and wear out the batteries, the tyres will pop and injuries will occur. Try breaking up your weekly training regime if you’re working too hard, because something will give eventually. Balance cardio, core and conditioning with strength training. Find the perfect balance and shift gears neutrally between life, work, family and training.

Tip 4: Dance!

Dance for me has shaped not only my body but all aspects of my life. To be given the opportunity to learn such a creative, expressive art form and having the passion, focus and determination to perfect it, perform it and then teach it to others has made for an extremely rewarding life. Live, laugh, love dance. It’s the way to a happier, healthier you. Stay safe, healthy and happy. 

Photographs: Natalie Lowe 

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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