FOR 10 seasons she was one of the most popular professionals on Strictly Come Dancing.

Now Erin Boag is putting the finishing touches to the theatre show, Swing Time, with partner Anton du Beke which is heading to Manchester next month.

“This will be the ninth year that Anton and I have been on tour,” said Erin. “We’ve actually been dancing together for over 20 years. How amazing is that?

“We are a bit of an old married couple but we’re still together.

“The secret is that we go home separately at the end of the day,” she laughed.

“But it’s been 20 wonderful years. Of course, we have had our ups and downs like any partnership, but we’re great friends and that’s really nice going on tour.”

Thanks in the main to the success of Strictly, dance has never had a higher profile, but Erin said that even the most devoted Strictly fans are surprised when they see a live dance show.

“It’s even better when you see dance live.” said Erin. “With our show there’s a lot of glitz and glamour, all the costumes and there’s the music.”

For Swing Time, Anton and Erin will be accompanied by the 25-strong London Concert Orchestra conducted by Richard Balcombe, guest vocalist Lance Ellington, one of the singers from Strictly, and six professional dancers.

“We don’t travel and just push play wherever we go,” said Erin, “that wouldn’t be right for what Anton and I do.

“There is nothing like walking out on stage every night and performing to a live orchestra. It is completely wonderful.

“We have six wonderful professional dancers who are just amazing and we then there’s Lance Ellington who brings the house down night after night.

“Because everything is done live, it is an even greater spectacle than watching it on TV.

“People can actually see how fast it is, how rhythmical it is, you don’t get the camera flashes, you actually get to see the dancers’ feet.

“You can see it all coming together, you just get one big picture rather than different ones from different angles.”

In Swing Time, Anton and Erin will be dancing to big Broadway numbers including I Could Have Danced All Night, I Got Rhythm and Guys and Dolls.

The show will also feature a question and answer session which has become a trademark of their tours.

“We’ve always had a Q&A section in the show,” she said. “I think it gives people a chance to get to know Anton and I but also ask something that they have always wondered about.

“There are certain questions which you can guarantee will crop up at every show like what happens to the costumes after the show? or who was your favourite on Strictly? and is Craig really a bad person?

“But sometimes you get really odd questions which make you laugh and wonder ‘why do people want to know that?’

“It is a unique show every night particularly with Anton as you never know what he might get up to on stage but ultimately I think it’s the audience that makes a show.”

Swing Time has been in the planning stages for months.

“Anton and I are very hands on,” said Erin. “We sat down months ago and knocked together a few ideas with our musical director and show director about how we wanted the show to look and what pieces of music we would like. From there, the rest of the show develops.”

As Strictly viewers know, professionals like Erin and Anton are also fabulous choreographers and without the restrictions of amateur partners, they can really let their imaginations run riot.

“My favourite dance is the quickstep,” said Erin, “I’ve always loved it and Anton’s is the foxtrot so you can guarantee that they are going to be in the show.

“If there are certain things we like, we will try and put them in the show.

“Anton and I been dancing together for so many years both know what we can do. People go for a good night and you want to give them best possible night you can give.”

Swing Time will see Erin on the road until April, playing at over 30 major venues in that time - not easy for a mum of a toddler, Ewan, who will be three in the spring.

“My mum comes over every January for three months,” said Erin. “She gives up her summer in New Zealand for our bleak winters and then I say ‘see you mum’.

“No, she is excellent. My husband Peter is also at home as well and I get back to them as much as I can.

“My mum calls it her ‘Nana duties’, She loves it and while Ewan not yet at school it’s a special time for both of them.”

Erin may no longer be involved in Strictly but she has her own views on who should replace Len Goodman as one of the show’s judges.

“I’d love to see Anton on the judging panel but it’s whether the BBC would be brave enough to appoint him,” she laughed.

n Anton and Erin’s Swing Time, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Saturday, February 25. Details from 0161 907 9000