Ed Balls said he is worried about twisting his hips around the jive, just a few weeks before he dances for millions of viewers in live broadcasts of Strictly Come Dancing.
The former shadow chancellor, 49, who lost his parliamentary seat in the 2015 general election, said his participation in the show, an autumn television staple, was “definitely a midlife crisis” but that he embraced it.
Although training begins this week for the series, which starts on BBC1 later this month, Balls admitted he did not yet know whether he could actually dance, and feared that some moves may be physically beyond him, despite the training.
“I can do line dancing – unfortunately there’s no category for that,” Balls told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. “I’m quite worried about the jive, because my hips don’t really move in the right way. But I’ve got a great professional partner and I’ve got three weeks to train.
“It’s a chance to say that politics is about human beings and that those of us who come out of politics – in my sort of retirement phase – can do new things. It’s exciting.
“We’ll see whether I can get to do something big again in the future, but in the meantime what could possibly be bigger than going on Strictly?”
The other celebrity contestants taking part in this year’s competition are Lesley Joseph, Greg Rutherford, Tameka Empson, Will Young, Laura Whitmore, Ore Oduba, Melvin Odoom, Louise Redknapp, Danny Mac, Daisy Lowe, Naga Munchetty, Anastacia, Claudia Fragapane and Judge Rinder.
A special pre-recorded launch episode will be broadcast this Saturday, introducing the contestants and showing them pairing up with their professional partners. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will present.