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Monday, 13 March 2017

#TeamDoti: Danny Mac - Brave Heart/Beautiful Soul

From Danny to DOTI
By Maria Connolly

EVERY now and then you encounter moments of magic... something sweeps you up into the furore and you’re hooked...left feeling almost insatiable...hungering for the next glimpse...your next fix!

 I had been captivated by Danny Mac throughout his time on Hollyoaks but then he left my screen in January 2015. There was madness in my sadness. I’d long since appreciated this man...yes he has the film star looks...gorgeous smile and just oozes that like-ability factor... ticking every box almost too good to be true. But there was just something more about him...his persona in general seemed that of a genuine, sincere, humble human with a beautiful sweet soul.

But still this boy would surely go on to greater things? Then just over 18 months later on August 2016 I saw it! He tweeted a dancer emoji… Oh my days the excitement...I just knew...HE’S DOING STRICTLY!!!
I just could not wait for the launch show...it was something akin to a child’s Christmas countdown and I was beyond excited.. always avidly watching all social media for any snippets. And so launch weekend arrived and there he was adorned in a blue glittery sequinned ensemble... and man did he shake his tail feathers!! But who would he be paired with???

He wanted a drill sergeant...someone to whip him in to shape and beat him in to some sort of ability.. and WOW he got that.. When Oti’s name was announced as Danny’s partner her face was both shocked and elated.. running in to his arms he swept her up.. neither expected this pairing but here was the start of something very, very special.

Again having to wait 3 weeks for the show to begin felt like torture but I survived thanks to social media having followed everything Danny, Oti & Strictly. Week1 loomed and I couldn’t wait to see what Danny & Oti had in store for us. We saw from their training video and heard from Tess how anxious Danny was.. I felt nervous for him...heart in my mouth nerves took over me.

The stage glimmered lilac and pink and the music started...Oti standing proud in front of a cocktail bar...what was to become a favourite song played and out Danny came from a silver beaded curtain.. oh my.. my heart rate soared...out he came...pulled out some MJ moves and then we were off.
Ninety seconds of pure joy WOW I mean I knew he would be good but WOW his Cha Cha was fantastic and man he could move those hips. He had rhythm and so much more...smiling through their performance I couldn’t see any nerves. The DNCE song ended with Oti’s head in Danny’s hands and Oti let out the biggest scream of joy and hugged her boy.  I can still hear Danny’s sigh of relief that melted my heart.
Ensconced from Day 1, I revelled in a wonderful journey with Danny & Oti...and fell in love with TeamDoti. I was there every dance step of the way. I woke up feeling nervous on Saturday mornings knowing Danny’s anxieties may be getting the better of him. Each week I watched that TV screen…waiting for them to hit the floor with more of their brilliance.. they really should have come with a health warning…
After voting, voting and voting again, I waited for the results on Sundays.. always knowing, yeah of course they’re through.. I mean DID YOU SEE THAT DANCE? Still my heart again in my mouth each week waiting for their names to go through… I tweeted and retweeted… voted and voted some more... unable to wait till next Saturday I watched ITT and Zoe to catch glimpses of their training and their wonderful post-dance interview.. and Monday mornings at work my colleagues were always treated to DOTI’S routine on YouTube however I’m not sure what they enjoyed most.. the dance or my over excited jumping up & down ooooohing & ahhhhing at their every move…  

I could talk about my love of DOTI forever and a day...I could write about them for an eternity and my words would go on longer than the Magna Carta. Thanks to social media DOTI fans were spoiled and treated to lots of ‘behind the scenes’ clips. I felt like I lived each training session...each dance step….all of their emotions...the highs and a few lows.. it was just so easy to get swept away with it all.  I really have lived & breathed TeamDoti for 7 months...and there aren’t enough fabulous adjectives in the English Oxford Dictionary to describe them, their journey and what we saw of their magical performances! 


Even though the show ended without the fair result and the tour has come & passed (that’s another exciting story to be written) I am still living it all. Collaborating on this wonderful tribute I have ventured through all of their training, dancing & judging, producing beautiful photo stills.  And it has been pure joy watching it all in slow-mo. The sheer joy and emotion on Danny and Oti’s faces as their brilliance at story telling came through that dance. They have been divine, sublime, exquisite and flamboyant all with astonishing elegance in their incredible and intricate lifts, movements of precision and jaw dropping finishes. Every move they made was strictly history in the making... pushing boundaries more than any other pairing.


Oti said she had never met a more strong, hard working and passionate celebrity and that was there for everyone to see...albeit Danny was the bookies favourite after that fantastic Cha Cha. I fear that his desire for perfection, endless hours of training to deliver that perfect performance worthy of a 40 probably was his undoing...we heard of his supposed ‘past experience’ and saw Darcey on the Jonathan Ross show say Danny wouldn’t have as much a journey as the others. Well yes the judges did treat our boy more harshly and later Darcey admitted at Week 4 that their amazing flawless and flowing Quickstep had been worthy of 10s and that wasn’t the only week they were underscored. Many fans took to social media to complain, either of his experience or his underscoring.

Danny did set the record straight that he had never been a dancer of any reckoning and his training was that of an actor...he knew what he had taken in to the competition and giving credit to that for anything he had achieved would be taking everything away from Oti and that wasn’t fair because it was 100% down to her.. still it was too late.  People who had an issue with this wouldn’t be for turning.  I cannot comment any further as quite simply put, he was treated unfairly...he was damned from the start. Still, while being treated harshly the judges gave some brilliant reviews and deservedly so.  And as ever we find our boy being generous & humble as while he will always credit Oti for his/their success.. as we know too well it takes two to tango. 😀
Our beloved TeamDoti were dancing chameleons, they were quite simply the fireball that set SCD 2016 alight...they dared to be different regardless of the outcome and were true to themselves. Danny took on both classical ballroom and Latin. Although he felt some of his greatest achievements were in ballroom he took Latin by the horns also THAT SAMBA YES THAT SAMBA but that Salsa too!!!
So Danny turned down the chance to go on Strictly several times and I’m so glad he said yes in 2016.  Perhaps he was just destined to dance with our beautiful Oti.  He started his journey as an anxious protégé and powered through long, long hours. Although I thought it before Blackpool...Darcey exclaimed ‘it’s hard to tell who is not the professional’. For someone whose left shoulder led his preferred dance style, he is like a shooting star zooming through with a majestic magnificence on a journey to West End, Broadway or Vegas show delight.

Throughout Doti’s journey on social media I have met some wonderful ladies who share my love of Doti. It has been said we are a little unhinged...with me being the most unhinged apparently...but I’ll take that.  I’m sure it must seem that way to some...to develop such a fascination...addiction...what? Why? How? We all developed our DOTI adoration for different reasons...I set that series record for one reason only, DANNY MAC, but no sooner had the season started I fell in love with DOTI.. 

He had a blast…dared to put himself out for public scrutiny...to bare himself and his soul to millions of people…risking failure or success on live TV…What a braveheart...and it more than paid off...he had the experience and journey of a life time...had fabulous exposure…made some wonderful friends. and met his darling Oti… genuine friends for life..

My dancing chameleons will forever dance on in my heart..

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