Worcester News reporter Grace Walton has put on her dancing shoes to take part in this year's Strictly Worcestershire competition.

In her latest report, Grace describes meeting her fellow contestants for the first time.

THE tension is over as the Strictly Worcestershire team for 2019 have met up for the first time.

Upon arrival at the Chateau Impney, in Droitwich, myself and my dance partner, Jack Tingle, made our way to the meeting where admittedly we were ‘fashionably late’. I will have to take the blame for this. As it has not been long since I passed my driving test and I managed to get lost on my way to the hotel. I am reluctant to mention I also had a satnav to navigate me there!

During the meeting, Julia Williams, the director of Worcestershire Ambassadors, discussed what is expected of us closer to the event, on May 23. We are encouraged to completely remodel our look and go all out with theatrical make up, spray tans and puffy hair.

“You can never be too dark,” Said Julia, “The lighting will make you very pale, so everyone will get the darkest spray tan to make sure you all stand out on the day.”

There was a lot of chatting, countless laughter, enthusiasm and not a single bad vibe in the room. I am excited to get to know my fellow rivals more throughout the following months and become a true ‘Strictly family.’

It was interesting to find out Jack and myself are the youngest couple to have ever entered Strictly. I am 21 and Jack is 22.

I have been a bag of nerves throughout this experience so far. I am not the typical female who is keen to wear dresses, have painted nails and make up, and do girly things. The idea of wearing high heels on the show night frightens me. I cannot walk in them on the best of times, let alone gallivanting across a stage at some pace.

Our dance instructor, Sharon Tilki, is very patient and makes us feel at ease. I can definitely say my confidence has grown over the last couple of weeks.

At the end of the day, it is a competition and we would all like to win. Nevertheless, this experience will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and we may as well enjoy every minute of it.

The idea of performing in front of a large audience of potentially 750 people is what drives me.

The past few weeks at training have gone well. Every week is challenging, but just as fun. It is incredible how quickly you can put a few moves together and see how the choreography will flow.

Last week at dance practice, we met previous Strictly winners from two years ago - Fiona Watson and Jonathon Bell. They were showing us their videos on YouTube of the competition, from their third week of training right through to the final performance.

It was refreshing to have a chat with a previous couple and gain an insight on the process of Strictly. It is difficult to imagine how Fiona and Jonathon were once in the same boat as us beginners, having no confidence or co-ordination, yet with patience and a lot of practice they stole the show.

The introductory photo each contestant had will be appearing on trucks throughout the country to publicise the event. It is here we will have our ’15 minutes of fame’.

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