SHE’S the longest serving professional dancer on Strictly having complete 11 series of the popular TV show but if the public thought they had seen everything Karen Hauer has to offer on the dancefloor they should think again.

Karen is pairing up with fellow Strictly favourite Gorka Marquez in their own show Firedance which comes to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall next month as part of a major tour. And she’s promising something special.

“There’s no holding back,” she said, “we both go into full-on mode from the start.”

Much as we love Strictly which pairs professional dancers with celebrity beginners, nothing can quite prepare you for the power, spectacle and skill on display when the pros go it alone.

Messenger Newspapers: Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez in Firedance (Picture: Raymond Gubbay)

“An audience doesn’t need to know the years of training, the technicalities and the sheer hard work that has gone into it all,” said Karen, “They just see the finished polished product. That’s why we love it so much. It’s like a volcano - you’ve no idea what’s going on underneath but when it explodes on stage and everything comes out in our performance, it feels magical and effortless.

“People don’t want to see the hard work, that’s just something we do every day. They want to see the ease and enjoyment and that’s how they get transported into our world.”

Karen and Gorka are bringing back Firedance after a successful tour last year and she’s looking forward to taking a new and improved show out for audiences to enjoy.

“It is quite refreshing to be able to revisit a show,” she said. “There may be a few small things which you feel didn’t quite work or could be improved upon. I love Matthew Bourne’s productions and they way he constantly reinvents things.

“The base choreography remains but he will add little things here and there and you can see how much the dancers enjoy it because they have done it before. It’s the same thing for us. You feel at home with it and it’s much easier to put your emotions out there and dance it out without having to think quite so much.”

Having said that Karen is quick to point out that even dancing at the highest level, concentration is key.

Messenger Newspapers: Karen Hauer in Firedance (PIcture: Raymond Gubbay)

“There’s never a time when you stop concentrating,” she said. “Something I always tell the celebrities on Strictly and the professionals I work with is ‘don’t enjoy it too much’. There’s a point where if you let yourself go you lose control of your body and it all goes wrong.

“When a show is ingrained in you, you can relax a little bit, but that’s down to the years of training we have done to get to this level.”

Firedance is a real dance spectacular complete with a live band, fire artists and an array of professional dancers on stage with Karen and Gorka. Complex routines are part of a captivating dance-off inspired by the timeless movie blockbusters such as Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Carmen and West Side Story.

“Strictly has given us this wonderful opportunity to be able to go out there and produce something, direct it and choreograph it. To have your own show is a lot of work but it’s incredible. You always have to think ‘how am I going to top what we did before?’.

“There are so many shows out there now with all the Strictly pros, many of them telling their life stories.

“But we’ve done that. We’ve been through the phase where people want to know about us and that’s great. But now it’s about evolving. We’ve done our talking in our shows, now we just want to dance.

“Just because we are Strictly professionals it doesn’t mean we have to stay on the mic and talk and then give a little bit of dancing.

Messenger Newspapers: Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez in Firedance 
                                                     (Picture: Raymond Gubbay)

“I want to dance and tell stories though movement and bring other elements into the show with the fire artists, singers and other professional dancers. We’re not your typical ballroom dancers as we’ve been trained in so many different styles which gives the whole thing a little bit more more oomph. If grandma makes the same cake every year it’s amazing but if you add a few more ingredients, that makes it even more special.”

On Strictly, the professionals will always be limited to what they can to with their routines to a certain extent due to the inexperience of their celebrity partners.

“The celebrities soon realise how hard it is to do just one dance step,” said Karen, “there are so many components. They have so many things to think about all the time.

“That’s why I love being on tour, especially with Gorka and the professional dancers we have on this show. With the celebrities you are teaching them their ABC but for us it’s a different language all together. Don’t get me wrong, it is incredible to see how quickly the celebrities pick things up but I think it is quite extraordinary to see us at our full potential.

“When I dance with a celebrity, I don’t dance a full 100 per cent because I have so many things that I have to think about. I’m making sure I’m leading them, I’m constantly keeping my eye on them, constantly counting for them, constantly making sure if they go wrong how do I get them back on track. When we perform as professionals we’re not thinking about any of that.”

On the last series of Strictly Karen was in a same sex pairing with comedian Jayde Adams.

“I feel so grateful to be able to say I’ve been part of Strictly for such a long time,” she said. “The team is just extraordinary. They have created this machine which is very family orientated and is also pushing the arts, pushing self discovery, pushing back boundaries with same sex couples. It has shown so many ways of accepting others and accepting yourself and that is an amazing achievement

“I have to hand it to all the producers and fellow professionals who work so hard and also the celebs who take part. They come into this Disneyland and you have no idea what you’re going to get. It’s like Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory with all these different ingredients but you know that the results will be joyful. Strictly is definitely one of a kind.”

Firedance, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Saturday, March 11. Details from