The name's Cole, Brendan Cole, as Strictly star is licensed to dance
As soon as Strictly Come Dancing ended on our screens, professional dancer Brendan Cole went into rehearsals for his touring show – something he does alongside his Dance Academy, charity work, television appearances and motorsport.
He's certainly a busy man and I suggest that Aurelia, his first baby with wife Zoe, planned it well by arriving on what must have been his one day off – Christmas Day.
"She's a clever girl," he laughs. "We're absolutely delighted, but as most people know who have their first child, it does feel as if she's taken over my entire life.
"From August to December Strictly takes up my time and then I'm on tour, so it's great that she came when she came. It does calm down spring into summer."
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Brendan was already a hit in Dancing with the Stars in his native New Zealand before appearing in the British version. He won with Natasha Kaplinsky in the first series ten years ago and partners since then have included Fiona Phillips, Claire King, Lulu, Kelly Brook, Lisa Snowdon and, in the latest series, Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton.
Brendan's dancing began as a child when his single parent mum-of-three would drag him, his brother Scott and his sister to dance classes. He says he hasn't stopped dancing since.
But even he has been surprised by the huge success of Strictly Come Dancing.
"It's a really good concept and a great way to show off Latin and Ballroom dance," says Brendan. "It is intense and highly competitive – this is our business, not a Sunday down at the local school hall. We're doing something that we love and it's demanding, physically and mentally. It can be stunning and gripping to watch."
For fans of the series, the pleasures of Strictly are many. There's the skill of the professionals to enjoy, and the delight at seeing the celebrities learn new skills. But what do the professional dancers get from their partners?
"Hmmm. What do we get from them?" ponders Brendan.
"If you're lucky, you get a bloody good friend," he says, and I sense he is being a tad diplomatic.
"Take any kind of athlete, and they dedicate their whole life to their sport. You've got to have a certain mentality to do that. It is ridiculously competitive – your whole life is driven whether you're a cyclist, a gymnast or whatever."
Brendan certainly understands about dedication. He's in the middle of arduous rehearsals for Licence To Thrill, the follow-up to his debut touring show Live and Unjudged in 2010.
"That was the biggest and best thing I've ever done professionally. We did a hundred dates and the response was amazing. It was great to see the audience on their feet, clapping.
"I was determined to do something bigger and better... and this is it. We've got dance and chat and live music. I'm very excited, especially now that we're in the actual rehearsals.
"The content is mine, but we've been rehearsing for a week and the dancers offer different ideas. I've put together the entire show – music, staging, choreography, cast and costumes. Everything has my signature.
"It's a huge show with 14 musicians, six dancers and a crew."
Brendan promises something for everyone with waltzes and foxtrots, quicksteps, tangos and American smooths as well as the Latin dances like the cha cha, samba, salsa and jive.
"The calibre of the dancers is so exciting. Every single one has a real energy. My leading lady, Fauve Hautot from France, has been in Dancing with the Stars.
"And we put the band on the stage – normally they're just stuck in the pits – but the show would be nothing without them. The whole thing is a spectacle and I think the audiences are going to love it. And the more lively the audience, the more exciting we become on stage."
A grateful Brendan is always keen to give something back to others and his Dance Academy projects are helping to pass on his skills to young people. Not just in dancing, but in confidence building and communication.
And I sense that tiny Aurelia may one day be jiving or waltzing with her dad. After all, she's already shown that she has good timing.
Licence to Thrill is at the Hall For Cornwall, Truro (01872 262466), for two shows on January 25 and 26, and Plymouth Pavilions (01872 262466) on January 27.