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Dartford: Strictly winner Joanne Clifton stars in Flashdance the Musical coming to the Orchard Theatre

By Angela Cole

What a feeling – to go from Strictly winner to one of the most famous dance roles in theatre.

Last year more than 13 million people tuned in to see Joanne Clifton and her dance partner Ore Oduba lift the Strictly glitterball trophy.

Now she plays Alex, the steel welder-cum-nightclub dancer in Flashdance The Musical, which comes to Kent next week as part of a UK-wide tour.

Strictly's Joanne Clifton in Flashdance the Musical
Strictly's Joanne Clifton in Flashdance the Musical

Here she talks about Flashdance, that water scene and her glitterball moment.

What’s your earliest dance memory?

Being at my mum and dad’s dance school. Mum put me into ballet but I was absolutely rubbish at it and I hated it. So I stopped the ballet but I did ballroom, Latin and then we did disco and little group dances. And then we started entering competitions when Kevin (her brother, who is also a professional dancer on Strictly) was five and I was four. Quite a lot of people think we’re twins but there’s a whole year and 11 days between us.

What was your favourite dance routine during your winning Strictly series?

It was Singing in the Rain because I thought that was a turning point for me and that style is just my thing. The audience seemed to love the jive. I’m not keen on Latin but I’m glad they enjoyed it. But probably equal was the ballroom show dance we did at the end. They’ve both got all that Hollywood glamour which I love.

Your brother, Kevin, was the first to congratulate you even though you had beaten him. But was there a little bit of sibling rivalry throughout the course of the show?

I’m more competitive than Kevin in general, in life. But he is my big brother and I wanna pay him back for all the wrestling moves he used to practise on me when we were kids, but if he had a good week I was really happy for him and he was for me.

Flashdance the Musical
Flashdance the Musical

Having left Strictly, you went into musical theatre – was that a new direction or a return to an earlier love?

Before Milly I did two other musicals on the fringe but Milly was my first big stage show. And I have wanted to do musicals since I was a kid. I absolutely love singing and I love acting and I like the excitement of the audience coming in and only knowing me as a dancer, sitting there and thinking ‘ooh, let’s see if she can actually act’!

In Flashdance, you have to perform several dance routines that are so well known they have become iconic movie moments. How are you feeling about that?

I absolutely love it. I think the audience will get the same feeling as me. When the music starts, particularly Maniac and What a Feeling, even if I’m tired after a day of rehearsals as soon as that music comes on I get an absolute buzz. In the script, for the Maniac routine it says ‘there are gallons of water’ – well there aren’t gallons but there is water in a bucket. I am contemplating whether I should ask for the water to be quite warm. It is such an iconic movie, such iconic songs and scenes, everybody knows Flashdance, everybody knows What a Feeling and everybody knows the Maniac water scene – it’s going to be great.

Read our review of the show here


Flashdance – The Musical will be at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford from Monday, October 9 to Saturday, October 14. To book, visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.

It will be at the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from Monday, November 13 to Saturday, November 18. To book visit assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk or call 01892 530613.

It will also be at the Marlowe Theatre from Monday, June 18, to Saturday, June 23, 2018. Go to marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.

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