Interview with Strictly star Joanne Clifton

A dream come true… SoGlos chats to Strictly star Joanne Clifton about her starring role in iconic musical, Flashdance, ahead of its eagerly awaited run at Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre.

Two pies a day, getting soaked on stage and dancing in your knickers… SoGlos talks to Joanne Clifton about her dream leading role in smash-hit musical, Flashdance.

With songs guaranteed to get audiences on their feet, the sensational show visits the Everyman Theatre’s stage from Monday 29 January to Saturday 3 February 2018 – and SoGlos gets the lowdown on what to expect from the ultimate feel-good musical.

How is the Flashdance tour going so far?

Amazing! It’s a dream come true, honestly.

We’ve done six months of it already and it’s gone brilliantly so the tour just keeps extending! As a dancer it’s a dream role for me, and I was lucky enough to get it!

It’s had amazing reviews…

And now we’ve had the break it’ll be even better; there’s been a lot of changes to the set, the lighting’s changing – it’s just getting bigger and better the whole time.

How do keep the energy up night after night?

I’m kind of used to it because I’ve danced all my life and we were trained that way when I used to dance competitively, stamina-wise, but I am getting older… so I just eat a load of pies!

Pies and mash gives me the energy. Especially on two-show days – I probably have two pies on those days!

For those who don’t know, can you tell us about Flashdance?

It’s about a girl called Alex who moves away from home and she dreams of being a dancer. She’s a welder by day and flashdancer in the club by night, but she dreams of going to dance school.

She falls in love with her boss, has an older mentor who teaches her, then she goes to an audition – and I’m not going to tell you the end…

It’s got all of the iconic scenes in it from the film, including the water drop – so yes, I do get drenched every night! There’s ‘What A Feeling’, the audition scene, ‘Maniac’, ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ – all of the amazing bits that are in the film!

You should see the cast! They're amazing, amazing dancers and they go full out every night. The audience gets tired watching them. They must be like 'how do they do that?!

Do you have a favourite number to perform?

Dance-wise, I love ‘Maniac’ and ‘What A Feeling’.

Singing-wise there’s the love song; the leading man is Ben Adams from A1, and there’s a love ballad called ‘Here and Now’ which I sing with him. We actually released it last year and it got to number one in the soundtrack singles chart!

How does a tour like Flashdance compare to Strictly?

Performing live every night is like doing the live Strictly every night!

On Strictly, during the week, you’re teaching a non-dancer, so although it can be tiring you’re doing easier steps than normal and you’re not going full out all of the time – you’re just teaching technique.

So, a tour is very different. I would say that it’s a lot more difficult going out with a show like Flashdance that’s energy, energy, energy!

You should see the cast! They’re amazing, amazing dancers and they go full out every night. The audience gets tired watching them. They must be like ‘how do they do that?!’

We’re all on stage dancing through the whole thing. Whereas with Strictly you’re just doing that once a week, really.

Do you get swept up in the energy every night?

Oh definitely! Having a live audience and being in a big theatre, you get such a buzz! You think you’re shattered, but when you get on stage and hear the audience react… as a cast we all pull together and have a really great time.

It’s such a fun show to do! We do a mega mix at the end and everyone gets up on their seats and sing along with us – it’s such an amazing feeling!

The audience must love it!

Yes! You get the die-hard fans of the film, hen dos all dressed up in the iconic grey jumpers and headbands… it’s just so amazing!

In Flashdance, I'm dancing in my knickers on stage in front of thousands of people!

What’s your favourite thing about being in Flashdance?

The honour of playing the role! I do love the whole 80s vibe and just dancing our way through the night.

I was the only person on Strictly who asked to have our costumes longer, because I’d done ballroom where you wear long dresses – I didn’t like being in skimpy outfits.

And now, in this, I’m dancing in my knickers on stage in front of thousands of people!

My least favourite is the very opening because I have to ride a bike – and even after six months I haven’t learnt that, so I just kind of scoot around the stage, which is a little embarrassing…

I can ride straight, I just can’t ride around corners!

And finally, how would you sum up the show?

The main word is energetic! Fun, typical 80s… and Ben Adams does a forward roll!

For more information see Flashdance – The Musical, call (01242) 572573, or visit directly.

© SoGlos
Friday 26 January 2018

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