Strictly star Kevin Clifton looks forward to exciting Suffolk show
- Credit: Archant
Strictly siblings Kevin and Joanne Clifton are realising a long held ambition by performing in a show together. Kevin talks about surviving lockdown and looking forward to getting in front of an audience again
Strictly champion Kevin Clifton may not be in the current series of Strictly Come Dancing which is dominating the Saturday TV schedules on BBC1 but he has never been busier with two ballroom tours in the pipeline and a West End show on the cards for next year.
The arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic and the closure of the UK’s theatres put a spoke in the wheel of one of Kevin Clifton’s long-cherished dreams, the opportunity to dance with his sister fellow Strictly champion Joanne Clifton, something they have never done before.
The pair were due to perform alongside one another in the cutting-edge dance extravaganza Burn The Floor, the show where Kevin Clifton first made his name, but lockdown put paid to their dream. Although, the show is to be revived next spring, Joanne had an outstanding commitment which prevented her from making the new dates.
However, the siblings were not to put off and with theatres able to re-open with socially distanced seating, the pair hatched a plan to stage a more intimate, small-scale tour which would invite audiences to get to know them in a way that would prove difficult to achieve in a conventional dance show.
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The result is “An Evening With….” which is designed to give audiences a glimpse into the Clifton family’s dancing lives, from young children growing up in a dancing family, to the successful performers they are today.
Kevin is promising an evening which see them singing songs from their CD, sharing stories of their dancing lives, as well as performing some favourite Ballroom and Latin dances with their professional partners.
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The show is one of the first high profile UK tours specifically designed to work within the restrictions laid down by the Covid social distancing regulations. Taking time out of rehearsals, Kevin says he is very proud that they have managed to put together a show that he feels proud of and would work in the old world as well as the new.
“Jo and I have wanted to do a show together for years, she came to watch Burn The Floor last year and she said that we should do it together and that became our project for this year. Then Covid happened and it got moved back and we thought that’s it, we’re not going to get to perform together. I was supposed to be in the musical Strictly Ballroom this autumn and that got pushed back to 2021 and that gave us some time to put a new show together.
“The show materialized out of what we were allowed to do and I think a more intimate show for a smaller audience works very well. There’s more dancing and singing than talking but inbetween numbers we will be swapping stories about our careers and towards the end taking questions from the audience.”
He said that one of the outcomes of lockdown earlier this year was a reminder that he loves performing. “Normally my life is so packed, everything is so back-to-back, that I do worry about burn out, so when lockdown first happened and we were sent home from the Burn The Floor rehearsals, I thought it was marvellous. It was a chance to relax without worrying about a show because there was nothing I could do.
“But, as the weeks and months went by I got really bored. You say what would I do if I had all this free time. Would I learn a new skill or learn a new language, no, I just wanted to get out and perform. It really brought it home how much I missed performing.
“If I was billionaire and didn’t need to work I know I would still go out and perform. I would still dance because I really do love it. I need to do it.”
So, with competitive dancing titles under his belt, a Strictly championship to his name, roles in West End shows Dirty Dancing and Rock of Ages with Strictly Ballroom pencilled in for September next year, are there any other goals that he would like to achieve?
“Yes, I would love to do a straight play on stage. I did dialogue in Rock of Ages and had an acting coach for the dramatic scenes and I really enjoyed it. It was a challenge and I like challenges.
“So, it would be great to be cast in a straight play and really immerse myself in a role and really develop a character. It’s not that far from dancing because you become a character when you dance, you take on characteristics of someone who’s not you and your body language changes, so it would be good to take it one stage further.”
What about Strictly? Can he see himself returning to TV on Saturday nights? “Never say never,” he laughs.
An Evening With… Kevin and Joanne Clifton visits Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre on Monday November 16.
Kevin Clifton will be performing at Ipswich Regent in Burn The Floor on Wednesday April 28 and in Strictly Ballroom, directed by Craig Revel Horwood, from November 8-13, 2021.