12 Jan An exclusive chat with “The Ballroom Giant” Gary Edwards
By Matthew Martino
A phenomenon in the dance world with decades of progression within the industry, success is certainly the one byword that runs through out Gary Edwards’ CV – I had a chat with him to find out more about The Ballroom Giant.
Q. Tell our readers who is Gary Edwards?
GE: I’m an Essex born Dance Professional, World Championship Dance Judge and am qualified in many forms of dance. I’m a very positive thinking guy who’s had a blessed life and takes every opportunity that life presents. I’m known for being positive,honest, direct and have a reputation for adding credibility and a lot of fun to a judging panel. I was previously known as “The Judge” and “Bond” (007) but for the past few years people have called me “The Ballroom Giant”.
Q. Where did the ‘Ballroom Giant’ name come from ?
GE: When Len Goodman originally announced that he was leaving Dancing With The Stars in the US he suggested to the producer that i replace him … I instantly went for advice from a TV professional called Gareth Davies in the UK, who gave me a lot of presenting training and we became instant friends. He was one of the first series producer’s of Strictly and he told me once “you are an absolute giant in your industry” to which he added “in the ballroom world that is”! Ironically I’m also 6’4 tall, so the name was obvious! We both looked at each other and said there’s my Twitter name then and “Ballroomgiant” was born!
Len then decided to do a U turn and remain on DWTS and so I now appear as the ‘expert’ Judge, on DWTS AllAccess! This is an internet show which runs live at the same time as the show and we can say what we like about the performers and the judges !!!
Q. How has the dancing world evolved over the years, as someone who has been involved from a young age what changes have you encountered?
GE: Dancing has changed massively since I started – the music, the choreography and of course the TV shows moved it to a whole new level! I’m a huge fan of what Strictly has done for the Dance World, even before it started I used current pop music for my shows and lessons, especially when teaching kids. I always like to feel that dance is relevant in today’s society as well as healthy and fun!
My judging criteria is technique, entertainment value, story line and character of the dance!
Dancing is far more entertaining these days and in my own words of advice to my students, “you want me to mark you? entertain me on the dance floor”!
Q. What would the Strictly gig mean to you?
GE: I actually didn’t realize how much it would mean to me until these last few months!
Strictly isn’t just an entertainment show based on a dance competition, its a family that brings the country surprisingly together! My best friend passed away a few years ago and he always said that I was made for Strictly! At this moment in my life there’s nothing I want more than the opportunity to Judge Strictly. When my name first hit the headlines as a possible candidate, I returned to Essex and the media and the general public have been so positive,warm and welcoming.
Teaching pop king Michael Jackson the Cha, Cha, Cha has been the highlight of my career so far, I had to keep it quiet from everyone for many years, but the honour of doing Strictly would be a real life changer for me – the icing on the cake!
GE: This is the easy question to answer and the most surprising to many!
I’m British,I am fiercely loyal to my country, my charity patronage is the WDSA U.K. (Wheelchair Dancesport) and I donate to UK charities as well as supporting The British Military.
After visiting 64 countries during my life so far, I can answer that I enjoy the UK more than anywhere! I love Miami Beach but I adore my house in the UK and I’m incredibly proud to be from Essex and Great Britain.