Thursday, 08 October 2020 10:47

Strictly Q&A with Kevin and Joanne Clifton

Strictly Champion siblings Kevin and Joanne Clifton are heading out on tour this autumn in An Evening with Kevin and Joanne Clifton, an intimate show produced for a socially distanced audience that comes to Poole Lighthouse on Saturday 31 October 2020.

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The talented brother and sister were originally due to tour together for the first time earlier this year in the world’s leading ballroom show, Burn the Floor, but unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tour was unable to go ahead. While the tour has been successfully rescheduled to 2021, Kevin will now be headlining it without his sister, as Joanne’s prior commitments mean she is no longer available. Hailing from a successful dancing family – parents Judy and Keith are former World Champions – the siblings have numerous competitive Ballroom and Latin dance accolades between them, including World Champion, British Champion, European Champion, and International Open titles. They have both also won the highly sought after glitter ball trophy on the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing – Kevin in 2018 with journalist Stacey Dooley, and Joanne in 2016 with TV presenter Ore Oduba. Keen to still work with his sister, Kevin and the show’s producers came up with the idea of this touring show, perfect for a smaller audience.

Here, Kevin and Joanne field a few of our questions...

How did the idea of a show in front of a socially-distanced audience come about?

K - Our producers stayed optimistic the whole time throughout lockdown. Rather than bin the show (Burn the Floor 2020 tour) altogether, they kept following the guidelines with an attitude of 'What can we do?'. When it became possible it just became about making sure it was safe and everything was in place for a tour to happen. Me and Joanne jumped at the chance to get out there again.

J - Kevin and I have always wanted to do a show together, so it was such a shame that we couldn’t do the big tour this year. We recorded an album together, so I think the producers were like: “Well, let’s do a mini tour with all the songs from the album on etc” and we jumped at the chance! 

Are you excited about the tour and what are you looking forward to most about it?

K - I'm just so excited to be back in a theatre with an audience. It's the energy created between performers and the audience that I get such a buzz out of. I did my first in person audition since lockdown for another musical a few weeks ago and it really hit home how much I've missed performing with, and for, other people.

J - So incredibly excited! I think just getting in front of an audience again, albeit socially distanced, just the thrill of it and with the bro!

What can the audience expect from the show?

K - This year me and my sister made an album of songs from Burn The Floor, past and present, so think of this like an album tour. It will be a more intimate show with us singing songs from the show, dancing, telling stories from our careers and taking questions from the audience.

J - There’ll be songs from our album, stories and dances. We have our dance partners too (we’ll be a bubble), so we’ll be doing dances separately and together. 

How did you feel when Burn The Floor 2020 tour had to be postponed?

K - We've wanted to do a show together for so long. Obviously the 2020 Burn the Floor tour was supposed to be that show, but COVID-19 put a stop to that! We were mid-rehearsals when lockdown started, so we were all in great shape and raring to go. The show was shaping up to be incredible with a lot of new choreography and ideas, so obviously I was gutted when we found out it would have to be delayed. But as things stand we are going out next spring, although Joanne is already committed to something else, so unfortunately she can’t do it. That’s why ‘An Evening with...’ will be so special, as we may never get to tour together again.

J - I was so gutted. The show was ready! And it was the first time I got my passion for Ballroom dancing back in an extremely long time, and the cast were incredible! I was so looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I already have some commitments for next year which means I can’t do it. 

What are your earliest memories of dancing?

K - Our first competition was when we were really young. We were the only ones in our age group, but we were too scared to dance on our own so they had to bring an older couple onto the floor. When they gave us a first placed trophy we thought we had beaten them!

J - We have a video of our very first competition – four and five years old. We won! But we were the only ones in it. We were so proud of ourselves.

Were you competitive siblings when you were younger and if so, are you still now?

K - It's funny, when we were younger I was really competitive and Jo was very passive. Now it's switched the other way. Jo is super competitive and I'm a lot more chilled. She's still my sister though, so there will always be banter. All I do is make fun of her!! Once we get on stage I anticipate we'll probably want to out-do each other!

J - We’ve swapped! Kevin was so competitive as a child and I was so laid back! Now it’s me! That’s why I LOVED IT when I beat him on Strictly!

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