Cape Town – On Sunday night retired Bafana Bafana winger (and now Jedi dancer), Delron Buckley became the 5th celebrity contestant to be voted out of Dancing with the Stars SA on M-Net (DStv 101), saying he would have loved to make it to the next round.
Channel24 spoke with Buckley, who danced with his partner, the former professional ballerina Angelique Allison, and shared about losing 10kg and fitting back in his clothes of 5 years, ago, how the show changed him, the friends he made, and how he was much more nervous stepping into the spotlight on the dance floor than when he played football in front of 90 000 people watching in a stadium.
Is there anything you think you could have done differently?
No, not really. Ha ha. I gave it my all with every dance. I did it with passion, with love, with 100%, so that's the way the cookie crumbles. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed every minute, I wouldn't change anything. I went into this show, got my dancing on and made it to the 7th episode.
How do you feel about being voted out?
Well, on the one side I'm very sad because I would have loved to go to the next round. But you know, the competition was really competitive. I mean, the celebrities are picking up their game. You saw the way everybody was improving.
It was hard, I mean, if someone says to me, "Ja, you're eliminated. You're the loser," – no. I'm not the loser, I'm the winner because through this whole dancing experience I got to meet such a lot of nice people.
I made friends, met celebrities, and even people working on the dome backstage, doing the camera. You cannot believe the experience and friends that I've made, and all the kinds of stuff which just made me feel "wow, I'm one of the dancers". So if someone says to me you lost – I didn't lose. I won big time.
What has the experience been like for you?
It's been a "wow experience". I've never ever though that the dancing industry is such a world that opened my eyes – for one – because it showed me a lot of things. It's one of the best experiences I've ever had besides me playing football at the top level in Germany.
What did you think of the judges?
Well, at the end of the day the judges, they're the legends, they're the professionals, they know if a person's posture isn't right. They know if you're on top form, so I listened to everything they said to me. I took it in and tried to implement it even much better. But they're doing their job.You can't hold them responsible if they're negative to the celebrities and to the dance. As I've said, I took it with a smile and tried to do better in the next show. But yesterday wasn't enough and that's the way it went.
What was the hardest for you?
The hardest for me was coming out of my comfort zone because I just know playing football, overseas, in front of 90 000 people is a different category. And then you come to the dancing industry where you have to learn steps. I've never danced in my life and I had to learn how to dance.
Then you come into the rehearsals, being in the dome a few days before the live show, and it's the spotlights, there's cameras, there's people backstage, everybody running around – and that was just totally different for me.
I mean, it was nerve-racking to be honest with you, standing there and waiting to go onto the dance floor and dance.
I've never ever, to be honest with you, never ever felt so nervous. Even when I played football and ran onto the field – 90 000 people watching you play – I was never nervous. But in this dancing show you cannot perceive all the mixed emotions going through my head before I ended up on the dance floor.
What did you not expect about this journey?
It was very, very hard. We were practising 8 hours a day and I even lost 10kg in two weeks, so it tells you the effort and the training I put in. It was also mentally challenging.
They give you a partner – it’s like an arranged marriage. They give you a partner that you've never seen, I didn't know this person's character, she didn't know my character, she didn't know how I am, I didn't know how she is – and then you're with this person for 8 hours a day, every single day.
It was very mentally challenging, which also opened my eyes to other people's way, how they react.
I was very privileged to have a dancer like Angelique Allison because she was very professional. What I liked about her is she was never a person who was late, she always had our choreography one week in advance. She was organised. She was so good at doing all the admin and the music and doing the choreography that I was astonished and I was happy to have her as my partner.
What did you learn about yourself?
To push myself to a level that I never thought I'd get to.
The first dance I did was a quick step and I thought to myself "Oh, I'm going to fall out in the first round because I can't do this. And all of a sudden I thought, you know, I pushed myself so hard, so what I've learnt is to keep pushing yourself – because the challenge I took on was Dancing with the Stars SA – if you push yourself so hard you can achieve what you didn't expect you could.
You have lost 10kg, how did Dancing with the Stars SA change your body physically?
Well, I'm actually very, very happy because now I'm at the weight I used to be when I played professional football 5 years ago. And my clothes are fitting me again. Ha ha.
I have my weight back, my body is looking tops, I just have to maintain it now and make sure that I keep looking this way.
Every time I felt I was moving quicker, moving better. Like for instance with my partner, Angelique, she loved to be lifted up in the air and turned around, and that was getting easier because of my weight loss. The less kilograms you have on the more faster, the more flexible you are.
(Photo: Cathy Pinnock)