James and Ola star in The Nutcracker
Former Strictly pros James and Ola Jordan talk about their festive plans, their love of The Nutcracker and the secrets of their happy marriage...
James Jordan, 40, and his gorgeous Polish wife Ola, 36, were two of the most popular professional dancers on Strictly Come
Dancing. James left the programme four years ago, Ola the following year. Since then, they’ve been touring with their own show and Ola went into the I’m A Celebrity… jungle, after an ill-fated turn on The Jump when she suffered a serious ligament injury to her leg.
But just before James prepares for a return to our screens on Dancing
On Ice this January, we’ve waved our Christmas wands, added a sprinkling of glitter and invited the charismatic couple to recreate one the most iconic festive ballets – The Nutcracker…
You look gorgeous, you two! Is The Nutcracker your favourite ballet?
O: Oh, yes! For a dancer especially, the ballet is incredible. They’re amazing athletes – ballet takes such endurance and strength, and The Nutcracker is magical, definitely one of my favourites. It’s beautiful, and the costumes are stunning! I haven’t seen the new film yet [ The Nutcracker And The Four Realms], but I’m loving my new look – it definitely channels Keira Knightley!
J: There’s also something so Christmassy about going to the ballet – it makes you feel all… warm and jolly!
The ballet is also very romantic – are you two?
O: James is a lot more romantic than me, believe it or not! He loves a cuddle, he’ll come home with flowers, surprises…
J: I’m quite thoughtful, even though I say so myself. I like to sweep Ola off her feet. On special occasions, I go the extra mile. I put a lot of thought into things.
O: It’s true. Last Valentine’s Day
he booked us a surprise city break away. And he’ll fly my parents here from Poland and surprise me, things like that!
J: It’s not always romantic. We’ve been together coming on for 19 years now, and we’ve been married for 15. We do have a lot of banter, though!
Is humour one of the reasons you’re still going strong?
J: Definitely. And also, neither of us rules the roost, which is important. People often say, ‘Oh, we bet James wears the trousers in that relationship’ – but I can assure you, I don’t!
O: So can I, haha! But it’s not that I do either – it’s about give and take. We work at it.
J: It’s not always smooth sailing – no long-term relationship is. But most times, it’s great. We work with each other, too, and it’s always worked well – I know a lot of couples couldn’t!
O: We even go to the gym together. We push each other further. We do most things together, come to think of it! We take it you’re watching Strictly Come Dancing?! J: Of course, wouldn’t miss it. If I was a betting man, my money would be on Stacey Dooley winning. Though Ashley Roberts
‘The Nutcracker is magical… There is something so Christmassy about ballet’
is great and technically the best dancer out of all the celebrities.
O: Oh, Ashley’s amazing, I just love watching her dance. But I think the contestant the public really loves is Stacey. We shall see!
It’s almost Christmas! What are your plans?
O: We’ll be staying in the UK this Christmas. My mum and dad will probably come over from Poland, and I have my sister here. It should be good.
J: We normally take turns, and have one Christmas at my parents’, one at Ola’s. A typical Christmas for me usually involves a few drinks too many, watching Home Alone, which we love, and falling asleep on the sofa!
O: I’ll also introduce some Polish traditions. ‘ Wigilia’, on Christmas Eve, is almost bigger than Christmas Day for us – we have this big fish dinner. On Christmas Day, though, I’ll cook an English Christmas meal.
J: Well, she’ll try… joking! The first time Ola did the dinner on Christmas Day, she forgot to turn on the oven properly. We checked the turkey three hours later and it was still stone cold. We didn’t actually eat until about 10pm at night!
O: That was a disaster. By the time the food was ready, we were both starving... What do you wish for this Christmas? O: Just everyone together, healthy and happily getting a little bit drunk! We had a terrible Christmas last year. James’s lovely grandma died on Christmas Day.
J: It was horrible. She died in my mum’s house, while we were all there together. That’s why my side of the family are all going to a hotel this year. Mum just doesn’t want to be in her house, bless her.
Will the day be rather bittersweet for you all, then? J: A little. I know for my mum it will, particularly as she was an only child. She was very, very close to her mum. But look, it’s part of life, unfortunately, losing people you love. You’ve got to move on, while remembering the good times.
O: Yeah. It was a tough year. We were also in and out of hospital last year as James’s dad had a heart attack in March, when we were all meant to be going on holiday together.
J: It was a bit of a rubbish year. But it reminds you about what’s important. For us, health and family is what we’re all about. It sounds cheesy, but I’m not about the gifts, either. If everyone’s happy and healthy, that’s my perfect Christmas and New Year.
‘My Christmas wish? Health and happiness,’ James