Pass the legwarmers…
Awwwwww, we love Joanne Clifton at Muddy. The Strictly champ of 2016 is currently wiggling her leg-warmers as Alex in Flashdance, and lucky us, she’s coming to New Theatre Oxford from 18 – 23 September. I put on my skimpiest leotard to interview her and, after neatly folding my bottom away in a double drape movement, this is what she had to say for herself.
Give us the basics
Well…. I’m 33, and single at the mo as it happens. Born in Grimsby but I moved to Italy when I was 16, and stayed there until I was 30.
Ciao Bella! That’s a long stint in Italia!
Well, I went over there to study and compete there, it’s like a university of ballroom dancing basically. People don’t realise how strong and fit you need to be for ballroom dancing. We trained like athletes, took lessons, had personal trainers, personalised diets, blood tests all the time, even psychology lessons to learn how to pick ourselves up after a defeat and be mentally strong. I went out there to become a world champion and once I achieved it I came home.
Give us some insider gossip from Strictly
Well, Ore was always very keen to walk around in his underpants. We all get dressing gowns on Strictly, but the girls’ ones are quite short and he took to wearing mine – so he’d be in his underwear with my polka dot silky short dressing gown. He did look good in it though.
Who’s the better dancer, you or your brother?
Clearly me! Though we’re very supportive of each other. Actually we used to dance together until Kevin was about 13 or 14, then it got a bit weird doing the rumba together if you know what I mean! Then Kevin went more Latin American and I was more ballroom, so we never really competed against each other.
How hard are you training for Flashdance right now?
They’re long days – 10am until 8.30pm every day apart from Sunday. There’s loads of dancing in it, everything from jazz and hip hop to contemporary, all the stuff I’ve never really done. The hip hop in particular is fast with all these little arm movements – it takes me a bit to get it, but I love it.
How you feeling about the iconic ‘pull water all over yourself’ scene?
I’m betting that my cast will play jokes on me with some really cold water. We’re together for six months and so you get close and also a bit naughty. I fear it will be icy. The other thing about that scene is the costume. The original was pretty skimpy but I’ve got a bit of a sticky outy bum so I’m hoping for a bit of coverage in that department.
What’s your biggest vice?
Apart from Muddy Stilettos? Nutella. I’d live on Nutella.
What’s been your most embarrassing professional moment?
Wtihout question it’s the moment I had to dance Under the Sea with Scott Mills dressed as a lobster. I came to Strictly as the current world ballroom champion and then I danced that! Very embarrassing, but very funny too.
Joanne Clifton stars in Flashdance at New Theatre Oxford, 18-23 Sept. Book tickets