Strictly's Kevin Clifton on going on tour with Rock of Ages
Strictly champion Kevin Clifton is very excited about taking on his latest role.
“I first saw Rock of Ages in Broadway in 2009 and since then I have been obsessed,” he laughs.“I have seen it loads of times and have the soundtrack and everything.“I will probably be in awe the first time I meet all the cast.”
You would think that starring in his first musical would be daunting but Kevin is excited.“I will be nervous but I am excited to be a part of it,” he says.“I saw back in September when the tour started that Nick Winston was directing and choreographing it and I tweeted saying I was gutted to not be able to take part because it is my favourite musical and I really admire his work.”
Someone from the musical saw Kevin’s tweet and he was asked to audition for the role of Stacee Jaxx, a rock star and a bit of a bad boy.“Stacee is an interesting character,” Kevin smiles.“I think people just think of me in a suit doing ballroom so it will be nice to show them a different side, one where I am singing, dancing and acting. It is something a bit different.”
Although talking to Kevin the rock and roll lifestyle is one that he has been interested in for a while.“I was a goth growing up,” he laughs.“I wore leather trousers, had black nails and long black hair, I was basically a wannabe rock star.”
Kevin is best known for being one of the professional dancers on BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.
He started in 2013 and was first partnered with Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid, he has made the final five times with partners Louise Rednapp, Kellie Bright and Frankie Bridge.In December 2018 he won for the first time with journalist Stacey Dooley.“I always thought I would be cool if I won, and I just cried,” he smiles.“I was very over emotional, it was unbelievable. We all thought Joe and Dianne were going to win so when Tess read out our names we couldn’t believe it my legs just went from under me.”
Asked about what makes the best partner on the show he says it isn’t about how well they can dance but someone who is willing to learn, will work hard and you can have a laugh with.“Stacey was brilliant but she wasn’t a natural dancer,” he reveals.“She did work extremely hard though, we trained for 14 hours a day.”
The whole process clicked for Stacey, Kevin says, after a disastrous cha cha in week two.“She was embarrassed as she didn’t want to be the first one eliminated.“When we got through to movie week we did the Charleston dressed as minions and it gave her so much confidence and from there she just grew and grew.”
But they nearly didn’t make it past week seven, the week they performed a contemporary dance to Alicia Keys’ song Empire State of Mind as part of couple’s choice.“Usually you start training on a Monday but we couldn’t start until the Wednesday as Stacey had injured herself,” he said.“We had two days to train so I wasn’t sure if we would be able to do it on the Saturday.“Overall though it was personally my favourite dance as I love that style, but to be honest if we had been eliminated that week I would have said I had had the best Strictly experience.”
However he says that Stacey’s best dance was the pasodoble which she did in the final.
If touring until April 6 wasn’t enough Kevin is also touring with dance show Burn the Floor from April until June.
He will return in May as part of the show.“I feel that show made me the dancer I am today,” he reveals. “I learnt so much doing it, I had won championships and trophies and then toured with that show.“It feels like coming home.”
On if this 2018’s Strictly would be his last he said he doesn’t know but would love to go back if the BBC want him.
For more on Rock of Ages, visit www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk For The Hawth, visit www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/The-Hawth
Strictly pictures: BBC