Ahead of this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing semi-final, we got the chance to pose some questions to stars of the show and soon-to-be married couple Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer about their experiences in their career to-date, working together and much more.
How are you both finding working with your respective celebrity partners on this year's Strictly Come Dancing?
Karen: Dancing with Mark has been amazing as he is so passionate, determined and enthusiastic. When he first joined the show we called him Marky no moves and seeing him grow and improve every week has been a joy to experience. His dedication to get better each week really does prove how much this strictly experience means to him! The fact he is also getting married next year is a bonus too, we call ourselves the wedding planners!
Kevin: I couldn't have asked for a better dance partner. When we first started I really didn't realise how good she could be and she has just got better and better every week! She is such perfectionist and works so hard to improve with each dance which is good as it shows how much the competition means to her.
You're both through to the Semi Finals - does your competitive side come out with one another?
Karen: Definitely not, I want Kevin to win and Kevin wants me to win! I actually find it quite comforting competing against Kevin as we have each other to lean on and share advice with throughout the competition.
Kevin: As Karen says, we are both so happy to have got this far in the competition together! It is so nice to be on the same journey as we can help and support each other along the way!
How does this year on Strictly compare to those that you've been in before?
Karen: The competition this year has been absolutely incredible. I have loved being part of the strictly family, we have all had so much fun together! We obviously miss Bruce but Tess and Claudia have been an amazing duo!
Kevin: I have loved every minute of the show so far. The standard this year has been so high and the competition is tougher than ever so the pressure is definitely on!
What have been some of your most challenging moments on Strictly to-date?
Karen: Every year strictly challenges you as a choreographer because you have to create a dance that's specific just for this person. Both Dave Myers (whoKaren was partnered with last year) and Mark Wright came into the competition as complete beginners so that has been a challenge in itself. It just makes teaching even more rewarding though! Mark and I have been in the dance off twice which is always so nerve wracking but you just have to go out there, smile and do your best!
Kevin: Frankie and I got quite negative comments from the Judges a few weeks back for our samba which was a bit disheartening for both of us. It is always hard when you get negative comments as it really does knock the celebrities confidence. Frankie was amazing though and came back fighting!
Likewise, what are some of your fondest and happiest times on the show?
Karen: Getting through to the semi finals last week was just such an amazing moment. It is the furthest I have got in the competition and it just meant the world to Mark and I! I mean, did you see our reactions haha!
Kevin: Getting through to the final last year with Susanna Reid was a huge highlight for me as it was my first year on the show! Dancing with Karen on the show are always the best moments too.
What advice do you have for ambitious young dancers who are hoping to make it in the world of dance?
Karen: Dedication and perseverance is key! Don't give up and don't let anything knock you down. It is an extremely tough industry so you need to make sure you have a thick and don't take things too personally.
Kevin: Like Karen says perseverance is so important. I didn't get in to strictly the first time, but my determination and enthusiasm shone through and got me a job on the show the following year. Don't give up and turn the no's and setbacks into a positive!
What do you think is the best way to maintain a healthy and loving relationship?
Karen: Our schedules can be so manic during Strictly and even though we are on the same show it can be hard to spend quality time together. Kevin and I make sure that whatever time we have together is not spent talking about work. Our favourite times as when we are at home together, eating a delicious home cooked meal in front of the sofa!
Kevin: Sometimes we have had to rehearse at opposite ends of the country which can be tough as we really miss each other. Being there for each other in person or at the end of the phone during the show is so important for us and is a nice comfort. Whenever we get time out we make sure we go on dates, watch films together and just relax without thinking about work!
What can fans expect to hear and see from you going forward?
Kevin and Karen: Well, I suppose we need to start planning our wedding! Other than that, we will both be taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour which we are both so excited to be part of! The tour kicks off in Jan 2015. No rest for the wicked hey?
For all things Kevin and Karen go to: @karen_hauer and @keviclifton on Twitter or visit their website: http://www.kevinandkarendance.com/
Tagged in Strictly Come Dancing