Ahead of Strictly Come Dancing 2014 week 3 things are looking good for Karen Hauer and her celebrity partner Mark Wright.
In week 1 the couple impressed with their energetic cha cha and week 2 saw them switch gears and dance a romantic and beautiful American Smooth. With the scores of the two weeks combined, Karen and Mark finished fifth on the leaderboard.
This weekend it’s Movie Week which is always one of the highlights of the series. We called up Karen to find out what she has planned for Mark, talk about Mark’s progression potential and to discuss last week’s stunning pro group dance.
Last weekend you dance the American Smooth and topped your week 1 score. How do you feel that the routine went?
I thought the routine was as smooth and as beautiful as we wanted it to be. I thought that he danced it very, very well. I was very proud because we were working hard on the arms and the footwork, and it paid off. We’re really excited about our score and it’s our highest one to date.
Mark got to show a different side of his personality at the weekend and proved he has that control which the judges said he lacked during week 1. How did he feel about his performance?
He loved it. He’s not a fan of slow dances but I think he learned to be smooth and be more sweet and romantic through it. It’s just a character that he’s playing and I think he really got into character and enjoyed the dance for what it was. I don’t think he thought he’d be able to pull it off and he did which is great.
He did it all with a big smile on his face…
Yes, he is a smiler I’m telling you! That’s one of the things that I love about him so much. He smiles and he enjoys it. Even if anything went wrong you couldn’t tell because he covers it up with joy.
From a viewer’s perspective Mark has proven he can dance both Latin and Ballroom. Would you say he’s a double threat?
Yeah! He’s got a great frame and he’s got great rhythm. We’ll see how the weeks go on but I think we might have something special here. I think he might be a double threat.
We’ve heard that you and Mark will be performing a Paso Doble to the Superman theme for Movie Night this week. What can we expect from the routine?
(laughs) It is what it is! It’s Superman (laughs) It’s a very athletic and strong dance. Mark is very athletic already so I’m incorporating a lot of jumps and powerful movements that you need in a Paso Doble. It’s still going to be very intense and powerful and he’s definitely a superhero. He loves Superman so I think he’s going to be getting into character for this one.
Are you going to make a nation very happy Karen and put Mark in Superman-tight lycra?
(laughs) I don’t think we’re going to see him in tight stuff (laughs) I don’t know maybe we’ll see him in blue leggings!
How has Mark been coping with training this week?
It’s a very intense dance so his muscles are really tired and sore. His legs were very, very sore this past couple of days. He’s working really hard on this dance and I think it’s one of his favourites already.
Is he getting used to learning a new dance every week now that we’re in week 3 of the competition? Would you say he’s finding it easier?
Every week he’s finding it, not easy, but now he knows a little bit more about dancing and moving his body he’s understanding the process of learning a new routine and what it takes to get to where you have to be on a Saturday. I feel like his muscle memory and psychologically is really grasping onto everything and it is becoming easier for him to grab on to choreography. Every dance has its own technique but when it comes to picking up the choreography every week is a bit easier for him but it’s still a struggle getting through all the little details it entails to prepare for a dance.
You must be feeling happy and confident about how you’ve performed so far? You were fifth in the leaderboard after the first two weeks…
Oh my…ecstatic! Completely ecstatic! We were fifth in the leaderboard and we were absolutely stunned. It goes to show that even though he’s just been dancing a couple of weeks it’s a sign of even better things to come from him. I don’t think people really expected him to enjoy himself and do as well as he’s doing so far. It’s hard work for him because he’s not a natural dancer but I’m really impressed by the work he’s doing already.
We’re going to put our money down now and say that Mark is going to have the biggest progression over the course of the series this year…
It’s definitely going to be a journey for him!
We have to talk about that incredible Frozen themed pro group dance from last weekend. How did that all come together?
That was one of the toughest routines to record actually because it was all recorded in different parts. Some parts of the routine were recorded backwards but during the show we did everything in regular timing but the camera shots had to be specific. Some parts were backwards and we had to pick up from different areas of the dance. It was really one of the toughest routines we’ve done and recorded on Strictly. It took a lot of takes! It usually takes 1-2 takes but this one took about 10. It was very intense but I absolutely loved the outcome and I hope the audience enjoyed it as well.
Strictly Come Dancing continues at 6.30pm on Saturday on BBC One. Watch Karen and Mark’s American Smooth from week 2 below: