Sunday Mirror - - SAIRAKHAN -

VANESSA Bar­reto used Skype to learn rou­tines with hus­band Paul be­cause she was work­ing away from home so much.

Business con­sul­tant Vanessa, 31, was of­ten stay­ing in ho­tels on the other side of the coun­try while Paul, 37, an engi­neer­ing con­sul­tant, was at home in Bris­tol.

She said: “Learn­ing a rou­tine in a cramped ho­tel room meant lots of stubbed toes.

“The best thing is that the show made Paul and I spend so much more time to­gether and you learn so much about a per­son when you are both un­der pres­sure.

“I’ve learnt so much about the world of ball­room dance, from pick­ing my sparkly ball­room dress to putting on make-up. And Paul’s ‘tango’ face is so cute!”

Paul, 37, added: “The cha-cha-cha was the hard­est dance for me. How on Earth our coach Pauline got me to sway my hips I’ll never know.” AF­TER meet­ing at a club two years ago, Heidi Ayling and Deej Moors have been danc­ing to­gether ever since.

But they found go­ing from award-win­ning freestylers to ball­room aces was tough.

PE and dance teacher Deej, 35, said: “You get to a plateau where you feel like you’re not evolv­ing as a dancer. This was an op­por­tu­nity we wanted to grasp and throw our­selves in at the deep end.”

The pair, from Fare­ham in Hamp­shire, nearly pulled out through fear of fail­ure.

Sales ad­min­is­tra­tor Heidi, 27, said: “At first we thought our ex­pe­ri­ence and pas­sion for dance alone would im­press the judges. We never ex­pected to feel so bro­ken and hum­bled by the tech­ni­cal­ity, pre­ci­sion and per­fec­tion re­quired to suc­ceed.”

Deej added: “The samba was so chal­leng­ing with nine dif­fer­ent rhythms. My brain and legs didn’t al­ways agree.” BEN Richards and Laura Pet­tin­gale put their 11-month re­la­tion­ship to the ul­ti­mate test.

Days be­fore film­ing be­gan, they had only just moved into their first home to­gether.

Ben, 31, a struc­tural en­gi­neer, said: “It was def­i­nitely the most stress­ful time of our re­la­tion­ship. We had our first real ar­gu­ment dur­ing the show. We both found it in­tense.

“There were dif­fi­cult times but we knew that when it was all over the ex­pe­ri­ence would bring us closer.”

Ex­haus­tion also took its toll on the cou­ple, of Toot­ing, South Lon­don, who were of­ten found prac­tis­ing in ho­tel lifts and cor­ri­dors the night be­fore com­pe­ti­tions.

But a few as­pects of the ball­room glam­our have made it into their every­day lives.

Mar­ket­ing man­ager Laura, 29, said: “I’ve been wear­ing false eye­lashes to wed­dings and stuff. And Ben will do my fake tan if it’s a spe­cial oc­ca­sion.”

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