Exclusive! Strictly star Karen Hauer spills secrets on new 2025 show Speakeasy

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Karen Hauer, the renowned dancer from Strictly Come Dancing, to discuss her latest show on tour in 2025, Speakeasy. We talked about the details of the new production, Karen’s creative process, and the unique experiences of touring. Here is our conversation:

Karen Hauer & Gorka Marquez Speakeasy tour 2025

Monica Costa: Last year’s tour had a different name, “Firedance.” What’s the difference between the two shows?

Karen Hauer: “Fire Dance” was the first show that Gorka and I choreographed together. It was very fiery, with all the dances we loved, like salsas and paso doblés, set against a fiery background. We did it for three years, but the first year was cut short because of COVID. We took some time off to come up with a new idea. Gorka and I love dances like swings, Charlestons, and Argentine tangos, and these dances were born in the 1920s underground clubs during the prohibition era. The inspirations from Bonnie and Clyde, The Great Gatsby, and other elements of that time period came together to create Speakeasy. We’ll be taking the audience on a journey through various eras.

Monica: What’s the most exciting part of Speakeasy?

Karen: I think it’s the nostalgic feel, taking people back to the 1920s with the costumes, storyline, and music. The Charleston, one of my favourite styles, plays a big part. The characterisation, the old-school poster, and the flapper-era costumes are all very exciting.

Monica: Can you tease me with your favourite dance from Speakeasy?

Karen: It’s still early days, and we’re creating everything as we go, but the Charleston and Argentine Tango are definitely in there. I love salsa too, especially the old-school style, so we’re injecting a bit of everything.

Monica: Any crazy backstage stories from the previous tour that you can share?

Karen: Backstage is a show in itself. It’s manic, with quick changes happening so close to the stage that the only thing separating the audience and me is a curtain. It’s stressful and hilarious at the same time. We also have fun moments, like the little dance I did with Lou that we put on Instagram. Every tour is different, and with Gorka, we usually just high-five before going on stage.

Monica: Which vintage dance do you think will be the most glamorous in Speakeasy?

Karen: The American Smooth, with its big band, Frank Sinatra vibes, and homage to the Rainbow Room in New York, will be very glamorous. We’ll have the beautiful feathery gowns and the elegance of the 30s and 40s.

Monica: Please describe Speakeasy in three words…

Karen: Mysterious, exquisite, dangerous.

Monica: What’s the one thing you think audiences will be surprised to see?

Karen: The storyline is told entirely through dance, with no speaking on the microphone. The energy we bring and the difference between watching us on TV versus live is astonishing. People will feel the sweat, see the breath, and experience the unexpected.

Monica: You’ve been touring a lot. What’s your favourite city to perform in and why?

Karen: In the UK, Glasgow is epic. The energy there is incredible, whether it’s a matinee or an evening show. Performing in London, especially the West End, is also special because of the high standards and the thrill of dancing in my home-town.

Monica: How do you unwind after a show?

Karen: I usually get into an ice bucket to relieve the muscles, then we travel to the next city. Gorka often drives, and we’ll listen to Spanish music, maybe have a gin and tonic. We unwind by enjoying the journey and preparing for the next performance.

Monica: Do you get any time to visit the city if you only have one show?

Karen: We usually arrive the night before, and Gorka loves finding great brunch spots and coffee shops. We’ll explore a bit in the morning before heading to the theatre for a tech rehearsal and then the show.

Monica: Are you also a choreographer of your show? Is it a lot more pressure doing both?

Karen: Yes, we choreograph our shows. It’s not more pressure because we’re used to preparing our work. We have a great group of creatives around us, and we’re very hands-on with the process, from music and costumes to lighting.

Monica: Where do you get the inspiration for all the Strictly Come Dancing choreography?

Karen: It depends on the celebrity and their abilities. We prepare a blueprint and then adapt it. It’s a weekly injection of creativity, fitting everything into a short amount of time.

Monica: The schedule on Strictly must be intense. How do you manage it?

Karen: It’s definitely intense, with a lot of technique and practice. But it’s the popularity of the show that inspires people to dance and be sociable, which is amazing.

Monica: Thank you, Karen, for sharing your insights. We can’t wait to see Speakeasy.

Karen: Thank you! I’m excited for everyone to see it too.

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