OTI Mabuse, the sleek, chic Strictly Come Dancing star, is known for her whip-cracking efficiency in the training room, her roars of joy when the judges provide positive comments, her huge laugh.

Her partners, the judges (who include her sister Motsi), and the nation all adore her because she is frank, funny and speaks her mind.

Today, after three months of lockdown, as she prepares to launch her own dance school and bring her first ever solo tour, I Am Here, to fans across the UK, the eight-times South African Latin American champion dancer is in a much more reflective mood.

“These strange times…I have been okay, it has been fine,” she says, slowly.

“It has been terrible for so many. But for us…we are very fortunate. It has actually been great to have some time with my husband. We just stayed home, tried to stay positive, tried to help other people stay positive.”

Oti announced this week that her husband, Romanian dancer Marius Iepure, would be joining her on the tour.

“It’s about my inspirations in dance, in South Africa and then in Germany, which is where I met Marius so it makes sense to have the person I’m talking about in the show, dancing with me in the show,” she says, laughing.

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The show is called ‘I Am Here’, a literal translation of her name from Setswana, a language of South Africa.

It speaks of quiet confidence, of dreams fulfilled.

“It is my dream, to be here, to be doing this,” she agrees. “But also, I think the title says something about how we all feel just now - I’m here, I will no longer take one day for granted, I will appreciate everything, friends and family, dance, the ability to work.”

Oti has not stopped working since she joined the professional cast of Strictly in 2015, partnering Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo. She won the glitterball trophy with Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher last year.

She cemented her primetime TV success – Strictly audiences regularly top 10 million - as a mentor on talent show The Greatest Dancer, when one of her acts, Scottish teenager Ellie Ferguson, was crowned the winner, and she has recently become the host of CBeebies show Boogie Beebies.

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“Honestly, what better feeling is there, than to see little children dancing?” she laughs. “And for me, as a dancer, to be given my own television show? It is such a privilege. I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Oti was born in Pretoria and started Latin American and ballroom dancing at the age of four inspired by her mother, Dudu Rosina Mabuse, and her two sisters, Motsi and Phemelo.

“Growing up in a hard, dangerous, rough township in South Africa, my mother was determined to help her young, ambitious daughters become successful,” says Oti. “We all danced, my mum had practically a whole dance school set up for us. She is amazing.”

I Am Here, which comes to Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo on May 22 next year, is a whirlwind celebration of Oti’s life and career. She moved to Germany to pursue her career in dance, although her first plan was to study civil engineering, and her success caught the eye of producers on Let’s Dance, the German version of Strictly Come Dancing. A chance encounter with a BBC employee who needed help speaking German led to a conversation about Strictly, and Oti’s move to London.

Lucky breaks and incredible talent aside, Oti’s story is one of determination and self-belief in spades.

“I don’t think self-belief is something you are born with,” she says. “I am lucky, I have people who care about me, who push me. When I am not feeling the strongest, I know who to go to.

“As I grow older, I grow wiser and I think I am growing in to who I am.” She emphasises: “In to ACCEPTING who I am.”

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In an interview six years ago, Oti said her two main goals before she was 30 were “to win Strictly and to open a dance school.”

She laughs: “I had written down a 10-year-plan. And it’s happening. It’s HAPPENING. The school has been a dream and passion of mine for years, and of course, we had to move it back a bit when everything shut down earlier this year but now it’s here.”

The London-based school will include classes in a range of styles for competitive dancers, as well as beginners, and there will be online sessions too for fans around the country.

“Love of dance in the UK is not going away,” she says. “People here really do embrace it fully and a show like Strictly, which is done to the highest standard, encourages and supports that.”

Glasgow, one of Oti’s favourite cities on the Strictly Live tour, has a “strong dance scene”, she says.

“I was so looking forward to coming to Glasgow for the first time and oh, I loved it, LOVED it,” she sighs. “Coming to Scotland is always fun.”

With her first bunch of 10-year goals successfully achieved, what is next for Oti Mabuse?

“Oh, my first plan is to write another 10-year plan,” she laughs. “I don’t know, I don’t know – off the top of my head? To make the dance school a success, for years and years to come, for people to love it and come back again and again. To develop the presenting side of my career, to choreograph more – my goal is the west end – to WORK, to keep WORKING and to give 110 percent. That is always the goal.”

Oti's 2021 UK tour, I AM HERE' is on sale now - otimabuse.com