We spoke to Strictly Come Dancing professional Kevin Clifton as he takes to the stage for Rock of Ages at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent
It’s been two months since Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley unexpectedly won the Glitterball Trophy in the series finale of Strictly Come Dancing 2018.
And now the 36-year-old professional dancer from Grimsby in North Yorkshire is swapping his Cha Cha Cha for drums and guitars. He will make his stage debut into musical theatre starring in Rock of Ages, which is on stage at the Regent this week.
“Rock of Ages has been my favourite musical for quite a long time,” he tells LIVING. “I’ve seen it quite a few times over the years because i’m a big rock n roll fan and a massive musicals fan and Rock of Ages combines those two things perfectly.”
Set in LA, Rock of Ages is a comedy musical focusing on a love story. The soundtrack boasts 25 classic rock anthems like We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight this Feeling and I Want To Know What Love Is.
Clifton plays Stacee Jaxx, the unreliable, charismatic and flamboyant rock star who everyone adores.
“He’s that typical, stereotypical over the top rock star – and I think it’s going to be so much fun to play. Kind of a bit arrogant as well, really self obsessed, so it’s completely different to how people perceive me or anything I’ve done before!
“After the last few years being on Strictly people only see that side of me – just a ballroom dancer from Grimsby so to get this opportunity was amazing and I just saw it as a chance to do something completely different.”
For Clifton, dancing was all he ever knew. His parents were both professional dancers and now they run a dance school in Grimsby, which he attended from a very young age.
“Apparently when I was about four years old I just started joining in at the back of the class,” he recalls. “I don’t even really remember it to be on honest so it just feels like I’ve always danced. From there I just kept on coming every week and at some point I must have joined a class properly with loads of other kids and it just became a normal part of life. It was never even really a decision it was just what I did, it was just my life. I’d wake up, have breakfast, go to school, come back home, do homework and go to dance class, it was just so normal.”
But getting on to the musical theatre scene has been something he’s wanted to do for a while.
“I’ve always loved musical theatre,” he shares. “I’ve always had quite a fascination with it and loved going to watch musicals and I’ve always been quite inspired by musicals when it comes to dancing. So when Rock of Ages came about I just wanted to grab it with both hands because it just seemed like it came at the right time and also because Rock of Ages is my favourite musical it just seemed like it was meant to be!”
Kevin was crowned Strictly Come Dancing winner alongside his celebrity partner Stacey Dooley in 2018. But it was the last thing they expected.
“On the night it was just this explosion of emotion when it happened, it was like a mad mad moment because we weren’t expecting it and I got proper over emotional no matter how much I tried to stay calm.
“We just didn’t expect it at all not for one second. I would have put all my money on Joe winning in that moment! So when Tess said Stacey and Kevin my legs gave way and I just collapsed to the floor.”
And if he could dance one dance for the rest of his life?
“My favourite dance is the Pasodoble but it’s a bit aggressive for the rest of your life! So I’d go with Jive and then I can dance the rock n roll songs as well.”
Kevin plays Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent from April 12 – 16. Tickets are available from The Regent Theatre Box Office, or by calling 0844 871 7649.