Being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing means you soon get used to pressure, performing for a live audience, and the fancy costumes, so Camilla Dallerup was well equipped when she agreed to do her first pantomime, Aladdin, at the Milton Keynes Theatre.
Camilla, who won the 2008 series of the BBC dancing show with her partner Tom Chambers, is starring as the Genie of the Lamp in the pantomime, which has its last performance tomorrow, Sunday, January 15.
She said: “I was just asked to do it and I immediately said yes as I have been dreaming of doing pantomime for years.
“I think it’s such a wonderful tradition and it involves all the things I love, singing, acting and of course, dancing.
“My husband (former Hollyoaks actor Kevin Sacre) was always telling me how much fun it is too so I really wanted to do it.
“In Denmark where I’m from, we do have a Christmas play but not with the jokes and comedy that pantomime has and that’s what I love about it.
“I have always loved going to the theatre and with pantomime, you can bring the whole family, which is not something that happens very often.”
Aladdin isn’t Camilla’s first experience of acting however, as last year she acted along side her husband in the touring production of Calendar Girls.
She said: “For my first acting part it was a lovely role to ease myself into the business with.
“Kevin went for an audition and then I somehow got to audition through him.
“It was nice getting to be in the same show together and we will tour together again in Calendar Girls at the end of this month until May.
“I think it’s nice when you are new at something to ease yourself into it, so both parts have been a nice introduction to stage work for me.
“I like the adrenalin, putting that pressure on every day and it’s actually quite similar learning lines to learning steps.
“I’ve learnt a lot from my husband and his techniques that he uses but then I use the skills I have for picking up steps and dances to help me pick up the lines and the feelings of a script.
“I have always talked about doing theatre, I used to audition for plays in Denmark when I was growing up but we didn’t have many plays happening.
“But with dancing, there was a competition every week so I went down that route instead.
“Performing is the same, I also do public speaking so it’s the same thing but with different skills.”
It was to make use of all these different skills that led Camilla to leave Strictly straight after winning the sixth series with Tom.
She said: “I left Strictly to be challenged. The contestants were getting a new challenge and I wanted that too, I like to throw myself in the deep end, you have one life so you have to go for it.
“Strictly was a big part of my life and I worked with some amazing people on there but I’m happy that I moved on.
“I would have loved to have judged on the show but that wasn’t an option at the time, and I love what I’m doing now.
“I still watch the show every year, but I’m not a fan of too many props, every now and then it’s good to have them but I like to see lots of good dancing, but I’m from that background.
“For me, the highlight of doing Strictly was doing the show dance, the winning was just the icing on the cake. To be able to create something that was a bit of each of us was special, I will never, ever forget it.”
Camilla will be appearing as the Genie of the Lamp in Aladdin at the Milton Keynes Theatre until tomorrow, January 15.