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  • INTERVIEW | Joanne Clifton Swaps Sequins for Steel in Flashdance the Musical

INTERVIEW | Joanne Clifton Swaps Sequins for Steel in Flashdance the Musical

Joanne Clifton takes to the stage as the fiery leading lady in Flashdance currently touring across the UK. Complete with classic 80s hits and high-powered dance moves, ultimately it’s a story about a young girl with big dreams.

Having been in Flashdance for over a year now, Joanne describes it as being the most physically demanding show. “I have a six-minute audition song that’s a solo dance at the end of the show to What A Feeling, the thought of that at the very end is hard but once you’re on stage and feel the reaction of the audience it’s amazing,” she said.

“Alex is a 19-year-old girl who is a steel welder by day but a dancer at night. She dreams of going to dance school but is too scared to try and audition,” Joanne explained. “Then she falls in love with her boss who is passionate about Alex fulfilling her dreams, so behind her back, he pays for her to go and audition which causes a real rollercoaster in both her life and relationship.”

It’s a mammoth role and Joanne explained that the stamina has been a huge challenge. “I am basically on stage the whole time, it’s very demanding,” she said. “People obviously know me as a dancer, but it’s a completely different style of dance. It’s like when people say on Strictly that it’s not fair that other people have danced before so it’s cheating, but it’s so different.

“If you have a ballet dancer who turns their feet out to waltz where you turn your feet in, it’s actually very hard. I am a ballroom dancer and I’m now rolling around on the stage doing commercial, jazz and street dance, which has been really hard to learn.”

Being on Strictly Come Dancing for numerous years, Joanne always maintained her practice through singing and acting lessons on the side, which helped propel her into her musical theatre career. After leaving Strictly, Joanne went on to play Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Dale in Top Hat and now Alex in Flashdance.

“I’ve just signed a new show for after Flashdance and there is hardly any dancing at all, it’s a very heavy singing and acting role so it will be exciting to take on a new challenge,” Joanne said. “My dream role would be Rose in Gypsy, but obviously I am too young at the moment.”

When comparing the stage show of Flashdance to the film, Joanne explained that they’ve really added so much more depth to the original story. “They’ve filled it out a lot, added some characters and some beautiful musical numbers,” she said. “There is one love song that me and Ben Adams who plays my boss sing called Hear And Now, we loved it so much that we recorded it and released it on iTunes where it went straight to number one.”

Joanne is constantly mesmerised by how much the audience gets involved, and the real buzz in the atmosphere during the show. “It’s just such a great night out,” she said. “If someone’s looking to see a Shakespeare play, it isn’t that, but what they will see is a whole load of dancing, a bunch of amazing songs that they all know and love like I Love Rock and Roll, Maniac and What A Feeling– they’re guaranteed to have a really fun night at the theatre.”

Flashdance is on at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry from Tue 4 Sept to Sat 8 Sept and then continues on tour across the UK.


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