STARS HOPING FOR GLORY
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.”