Interview: Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour dances into the Metro Radio Arena

We catch up with Strictly’s Kevin Clifton who compares the live arena tour to that of a rock concert

It’s all change on the Strictly Come Dancing tour this year.

While Craig Revel Horwood will still be giving his acerbic comments to the celebs, his cohorts Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli have been replaced.

Craig will now be joined by the winners of the 2008 BBC1 Strictly series, Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup, who will all be giving their views on the dance routines by the line-up of celebrities, all bar one from the 2014 series, and their professional dance partners.

The Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour is at the Metro Radio Arena this Wednesday and Thursday and with the demise of Frankie Bridge who is pregnant, the only non 2014 contestant will be S Club 7’s Rachel Stevens, who will be partnered by Kevin Clifton, who danced with Frankie in the series.

He’s looking forward to it. “On the tour everyone dances slightly more freely as no-one is scared of getting kicked off the show. There’s a bit of pressure on the TV as it’s a competition, you don’t want to get kicked out,” he tells me during rehearsals.

“Here it is a bit more of a company feel, like we are putting on a show together as opposed to competing against each other.

“I feel like there’s a little bit of pressure been lifted and everyone dances maybe a little bit better on the tour.

“The big thing is you have a chance, if you didn’t win on the show, which of course is everyone except Caroline (Flack), you have the chance to lift the glitterball.

“There are thousands of people screaming and shouting so if you manage to get a good reaction from everyone that night you are in with a chance. Hopefully you won’t get booed by everyone. I haven’t heard of that happening.

“What you want is to entertain everyone and hopefully everyone enjoys what you do and if you do get to lift the glitterball it becomes an amazing night.”

Celebrities from this year’s series taking part are Simon Webbe from Blue, Radio 1’s Scott Mills, ex rugby star Thom Evans, TV presenter and current champion Caroline Flack, TV and radio personality Mark Wright and TV presenter Alison Hammond, while Strictly favourite Zoe Ball will host.

Since winning the 2008 Strictly series, Tom Chambers has won a prestigious Olivier Award nomination for his performance in the award-winning West End musical Top Hat. “Wow, what an opportunity. Having won the 2008 TV series and performed on the tour with Camilla, I know what it’s like to be on the arena dance floors and take the comments from the judges.

“I can’t wait to get into the famous judging seat and see which of the celebrities wins the competition at each performance,” he says.

Camilla is well known to Strictly fans, having competed in the first six series of the TV show. On her new role as a judge, Camilla adds: “I’m thrilled to have been invited to return to the Strictly Live Tour as a judge. I can’t wait to join Craig and my former dance partner Tom Chambers in arenas from January. I’ll be using my background as a dancer on the TV series to give the contestants help and advice throughout the competition. See you on the dance floor.”

Kevin, meanwhile, has quickly proved a popular pro dancer since joining the series in 2013, when he partnered Susanna Reid.

“This year it is very much the cast of the 2014 show. Usually you have quite a few mixed in from a few other series,” he says. “This time most know each other and are good mates, so I hope that shows in the performances.

“Everyone has a good camaraderie and sparks off each other already. I think it is going to be a great tour and it was a really good cast too as we have all stayed good mates and supported each other all the way through.”

Kevin has settled well into his Strictly role in his two seasons on the show. In 2014 his sister Joanne also joined the TV series as a pro dancer and she too is on the tour.

The pressure gets harder and harder throughout the series. At the beginning you can’t think past Halloween week and that is week six and the first milestone in the competition. Once you get to Halloween week, Blackpool is on the horizon. That is week eight and everyone wants to get that far,” reflects Kevin.

“Once we made it to Blackpool it was `right now we only have a few weeks to the final and it would be good to make the quarter final’. Then it’s all about the final. Once you make the final you say it’s great to have made it that far but really you want to win.

““For anyone who doesn’t make Blackpool the tour is the first time they experience that bigger setting than the TV studio.

“When they get to the arenas it is awesome. I don’t think my sister realises just how big it is going to be and the noise everyone makes.

“It’s like a rock concert. I love it from doing it last year and it’s one of the best parts of doing Strictly.”

Performances are on Wednesday at 7.30pm and on Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Details on http://www.metroradioarena.co.uk or tel. 0844 4936666.

Source: The Journal

Article: Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour: Kevin & Joanne Clifton doing Grimsby proud

Glitterball successes: Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer preparing for the show

Perfect partner: Rachel Stevens and Kevin Clifton at the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour.

On stage: Mark Wright and Karen Hauer. Submitted picture by Manuel Harlan.

Top two: Scott Mills and Joanne Clifton. Submitted picture by Manuel Harlan

Pictures from the 2015 Strictly Live Tour Mark Wright and Karen Hauer Credit Manuel Harlan.

Entertaining: Scott Mills and Joanne Clifton perform on the Strictly Live Tour. Submitted picture by Manuel Harlan

Selfie: Joanne Clifton and Karen Hauer preparing for the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour

Showing off their moves: Joanne Clifton and Scott Mills on the tour

KEVIN and Joanne Clifton are doing Grimsby proud as they burn up the dance floor on the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour.

The pair, along with their partners Rachel Stevens and Scott Mills, have been taking the nation by storm all over again on the tour and Kevin even took the coveted Glitterball Trophy when the duos performed together in Nottingham.

The tour, which will arrive at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena tonight, sees your favourite celebrities from the popular BBC show along with their professional dance partners dusting off their sequins as they take to the floor to compete across the UK in front of live tour judges, professional dancer Camilla Dallerup, her former celebrity partner Tom Chambers and live show judge Craig Revel Horwood under the watchful eye of host Zoe Ball.

Kevin and his partner, former S Club Seven singer Rachel, wowed audiences when they performed the tango and the rumba at The Capital FM Arena in Nottingham with audiences voting them the winners at the pair’s first performance at the venue.

The following night saw Kevin’s fiancee Karen Hauer take the Glitterball with the help of Towie star, Mark Wright when they performed the cha cha cha and the foxtrot.

Kevin tweeted: “Had an amazing time in Nottingham, me and Karen both took Glitterballs. On to Leeds.”

Kevin and Karen, in a Q&A with Strictly fans, said: “The best part of the tour is getting to see all the amazing support and love from all the Strictly fans.

“This year’s tour is absolutely brilliant. There are lots of exciting numbers and the costumes are just gorgeous. It’s an absolute pleasure to be out there every night .”

Sister Joanne has also been showing off her moves on the floor along with BBC Radio One DJ Scott Mills. The pair came second when they performed at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, but lost out to Blue singer Simon Webbe and his partner Kristina Rihanoff.

Joanne tweeted: “Thank you so much for anyone who voted for me and Scott Mills tonight! Top two, can’t believe it you made our tour!”

The siblings have faced stiff competition on the tour as Simon and Kristina have taken six of the live tour’s Glitterball trophies so far.

Kevin was partnered with Rachel after his partner from last year’s show, The Saturday’s star Frankie Bridge dropped out of the show after suffering from severe morning sickness while pregnant with her second child.

Kevin said: “Dancing with Rachel has been amazing. I’m really impressed with how quickly she picked up all the routines and how well we get along. She’s a beautiful dancer and a really sweet person.” Rachel said before the show: “It’s no secret that I loved my time in Strictly and that I’m a big fan of the dances so I’m excited to be back and to get my dancing shoes on again – I can’t wait!”

DJ Scott Mills was also eager to take to the floor again, he said: “Being on the biggest show on television has been amazing. It’s been a brilliant experience to learn the routines, something I thought I would never do!

“Now I’ll be showing off my unique new talent to fans of Strictly across the country as part of the Live Tour. It’s going to be a busy few weeks.”

Rachel and Scott joined other celebrity favourites from the show such as rugby player Thom Evans and TV presenter Alison Hammond, as well as the 2014 champion, Caroline Flack.

The tour, which started in Birmingham at the Barclaycard Arena will culminate at the O2 Arena in London on February 8.

Source: Grimsby Telegraph

Interview: Strictly passion in Sheffield for dancer Kevin

The professional dancer: Kevin Clifton

The lad from Grimsby who isn’t afraid to let his passion for dance show has become a firm favourite with Strictly fans in a short time.

Kevin’s enthusiasm for going on the road seems typical of his positive attitude to life, which shone through during his weeks partnering Frankie Bridge from The Saturdays.

Kevin said: “I love the tour. When I came to see Karen a couple of years ago (his fiancee, Strictly dancer Karen Hauer) a couple of years ago I really enjoyed watching it.

“I was really hoping that I would get asked to do the tour. I think it’s really good fun and I can’t wait to do it again this year.

“The pressure of getting kicked off the show isn’t there any more. You’re not worried about going home if you don’t do well on that night.

“Everyone can dance with a little more freedom and less pressure, just having good fun.

“There’s a really nice atmosphere and you get to see how popular the show is. You don’t get a sense of it on Saturdays, just seeing the TV studio audience and judges and other couples.

“Suddenly you see just how many people are crazy about the show.”

Kevin admitted he was a little apprehensive about the last TV series, though.

“The first series I did was amazing and I didn’t know how the second one was going to compare. “When I was paired with Frankie, I thought I might do alright.

“To make the final again and for me and Karen to both make the final was just like the dream for us.

“If I’d known that beforehand I would have gone mental. It’s been an amazing experience. Frankie was a brilliant partner.”

As the pop star announced she was pulling out of the show due to her pregnancy, Kevin has now paired up with S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens, who was runner-up in 2008.

Kevin and his professional partner Karen got engaged when he proposed on stage as they appeared in the West End dance show Burn the Floor.

He said: “We would have got married during last year but there just wasn’t time. I didn’t think it through when we got engaged.”

The couple were on tour last year in Australia and Japan with Burn the Floor, as well as appearing in both Strictly live and on tour.

This series it’s become even more of a family affair as Kevin’s younger sister and childhood dance partner Joanne joined the show, dancing with Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills.

Kevin said: “It was great having Jo come on the show. I was hoping she would get the job.

“As a brother you want her to do well, and I was hoping that Karen and Mark would do well too. Jo and Scott were under pressure every week they were in. It was triple the nerves!

“If one was in the dance-off you’d be nervous for the rest of the weekend.”

He added: “Jo seems to have lived her life living off my mistakes. It’s the same with Strictly. She came in a year later, so she could learn from all the things I did right and wrong.

“It’s always been like that. When we were competing, I was the first one to leave and do stage stuff. I was always the one looking for something else to do.

“We’ve both been dancing since I was about four and we started competing and dancing together when I was six or seven, until I was about 15.

“We didn’t really want to dance against each other. We both kept up ballroom and latin and then when we stopped dancing together I did latin and she did ballroom.

“There’s a lot of dedication and hard work but it’s what we’re used to really.”

Source: The Star

Article: Strictly Come Dancing celebrities gear up for Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena

HIDDEN away in a secret location in London, a group of celebrities are perfecting their dance moves and adding any last minute adjustments to their sparkling costumes.

From the salsa to the foxtrot to the rumba, their faces were plastered across TV screens late last year as contestants on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing.

And now they’re gearing up to jump on the tour bus and travel to locations dotted across the UK – including Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They’ll be hitting the dance floor in each city to compete for the magnificent Glitter Ball Trophy – and keep the judges’ comments sweet.

But for this year’s champion, TV presenter Caroline Flack, she won’t be having her winning partner Pasha Kovalev by her side.

The winner has been paired with professional dancer Tristan MacManus, who was partnered with Irish actress Jennifer Gibney on the show, but this isn’t stopping her from looking forward to the tour.

The 35-year-old, who will be wowing audiences on the big stage performing the Charleston and salsa, says: “I always knew Pasha wouldn’t be going on the Strictly tour because he has a show of his own. But I didn’t want it to finish so they’ve paired me with Tristan.

“I’ve been astonished by the popularity of Strictly. I was buying some trainers from a guy in East London recently and he suddenly said, ‘Shouldn’t you be learning your waltz?’

“It’s no exaggeration to say this has been the best experience of my life. It’s given me a new belief in myself, a greater self-confidence.”

Caroline was chosen as this year’s champion by judges Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Darcey Bussell after being propelled to the top of the leader board with a perfect score.

Competing alongside her in the final were fellow celebrities Mark Wright, Simon Webbe and Frankie Bridge.

Boyband member Simon Webbe is so eager for the tour, he turned up to rehearsals an hour early. He says that for him, Strictly was an eye-opening experience after suffering from depression last year.

The 36-year-old, who was a singer in Blue, says: “I can’t wait for the tour but I’m not wishing away this rehearsal time. I’ve come in early today because I was so excited.

“2015 has started amazingly. It’s a new chapter for me and my family and even the boys from Blue. It feels weird but humbling at the same time.

“In a nutshell, I went through depression. I didn’t share it with anybody though.

“I found myself in a predicament when I got into Strictly. I didn’t realise how big it is. When I was told Strictly will change your life I took it with a pinch of salt. It’s been food for the soul.”

Fellow finalist Frankie won’t be joining the boys on tour due to being pregnant with her second child with footballer Wayne Bridge, but stepping into her shoes is former contestant, Rachel Stevens.

S Club 7 singer Rachel will be joining the Strictly gang to perform the quick step alongside dancing partner Kevin Clifton, who couldn’t be more excited to hit the road.

The 32-year-old, from Grimsby, says: “I love the tour. Number one, because no-one is getting kicked off the show so it doesn’t feel as much of a competition. We’re all in it together putting on a show. And also, I think from the tour you realise how much everyone loves Strictly.

“When you come out on the tour you go to these massive arenas and instead of thinking, there’s a few people over there and look for this camera, there’s suddenly thousands of people all around you on all sides going mental.”

He adds that despite this being his second time on the Strictly tour, he still gets a rush of nerves before each performance: “I get quite nervous anyway. I get stage fright whatever I’m doing. Last year on the tour I remember being on the other side of the curtain and hearing the audience’s roar. The butterflies really go.”

For professional dancer Aljaz Skorjanec, this is also his second time on the popular dancing programme.

After joining the show in 2013, the 24-year-old, from Slovenia, took home the trophy with celebrity partner Abbey Clancy.

This year he may have missed out on the embellished prize, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a whale of a time with TV presenter Alison Hammond.

Laughing away while trying on his glitter-clad costume, he says: “On tour I wouldn’t say the competition is as big as it is on the TV show. For me the biggest difference is that the audience are all around and you need to make sure you perform to the very first row and to the people at the back. Everyone must be engaged. All 10,000 of us are going to have fun.”

Bubbly Alison has no regrets about signing up for Strictly, despite missing out on the chance to perform in Blackpool.

The 39-year-old, from Birmingham, says: “Why wouldn’t I say yes to Strictly? Strictly is the one show that you watch and the one that I feel has no air of nastiness. Strictly makes you look good and wants you to look the best that you can be.

“We got such a good response. Some people are still tweeting and texting and saying they are missing me and Aljaz. I’m like, really? It’s only January. We really did have an effect on them. It’s a massive compliment.”

She’s a natural behind the cameras on ITV’s This Morning, but put her in front of a crowd of thousands, she’ll be both nervous and excited.

“I can’t wait for the tour and seeing the home crowds and playing up to them – I’m just really looking forward to it,” says Alison.

“I’m nervous and excited. My nerves work well for me. I’m nervous about everything, I’m always nervous but I love it, I love the buzz.

“For me, it’s about how big the arenas are. You have to get around these arenas – we’re just working out the dance floor and I’m like oh god, I don’t know if I’m fit enough. Honestly, I just can’t wait but I hope I can do it.”

Former rugby player and model Thom Evans was eliminated before his time on the show when less-talented dancers managed to avoid the dreaded dance-off.

But now he’s back and ready to prove his skills on the dance floor with blonde bombshell Iveta Lukosiute.

Practicing their individual routine at rehearsals, the pair already look perfect enough for the arenas.

Scottish Thom, 29, says: “It feels slightly weird to be back but it’s amazing. My time on the Strictly show was cut quite short and just to be back it gives me a second chance to go out there and fulfil that potential.

“I always thrive with big crowds and I feel like it’s going to bring out the best in me. I can’t wait to get started really.”

He added: “I hope I’ll continue dancing. I’ve got such a buzz for it but it will be hard to maintain it. If it’s not in a class it will be on a dance floor somewhere, so I apologise in advance.”

Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour will be at the Capital FM Arena on Tuesday, 7.30pm, and Wednesday, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. For tickets go to http://www.capitalfmarena.com or call 0843 373 3000.

Source: Nottingham Post

Article: Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour kicks off tonight with Grimsby there every step of way

Joanne Clifton and DJ Scott Mills will be reunited for the Strictly Come Dancing tour.

Kevin Clifton and his fiancee Karen Hauer will be going head to head on the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour. Kevin will partner Rachel Stevens while Karen will dance with Mark Wright.

The cast of the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, including professionals and celebrities pose together before starting the performances.

IT MAY seem like the sparkly sequins and fancy footwork have barely left our TV screens but tonight sees the start of the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour.

Despite a recent tweak to the line-up, Grimsby will be well-represented by professional dancing siblings Kevin and Joanne Clifton.

Kevin made the final of the series, which concluded in December, with girl band member Frankie Bridge from The Saturdays.

The pair were set to burn the floor at arenas around the country until Frankie announced that she was expecting her second baby with footballing husband Wayne Bridge and had to withdraw for health reasons.

In her place, Kevin will be partnered by the talented former finalist and pop star Rachel Stevens.

The S Club 7 singer has previously toured with the show in 2009 and was involved in the recent Christmas special, which featured Joanne.

Kevin’s fiancee Karen Hauer will also be travelling around the country on the area tour as she links up once again with series celebrity and former reality TV star Mark Wright.

The couple defied the odds in making it to the final of the television programme last year and will be hoping to wow fans once more with their routines.

But one eagerly-anticipated pairing will surely be that of Joanne and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills.

The pair created some memorable routines on the show that delighted audiences, including turning the dance novice into a crab.

Scott said: “Being on the biggest show on television has been amazing. It’s been a brilliant experience to learn the routines, something I thought I would never do.

“Now I’ll be showing off my unique new talent to fans of Strictly across the country as part of the live tour.

“It’s going to be a busy few weeks – but I can’t wait.”

The full cast, including reigning celebrity champion Caroline Flack and her partner Tristan MacManus, are currently in Birmingham where the series of performances will kick off from the Barclaycard Arena.

The show will then visit some of the biggest entertainment venues across the UK, including Leeds’ First Direct Arena, Manchester Arena and the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield before the finale at London’s O2 Arena next month.

There will be a new judging panel, led by show regular Craig Revel Horwood, who will be joined by the winners of the 2008 series Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup.

Since winning the 2008 Strictly series, Tom Chambers has won a prestigious Olivier Award nomination for his performance in the award-winning West End musical Top Hat.

He said: ” Having won the 2008 TV series and performed on the tour with Camilla, I know what it’s like to be on the Arena dance floors and take the comments from the judges.

“I can’t wait to get into the famous judging seat and see which of the celebrities wins the competition at each performance.”

Also dancing on the tour will be Thom Evans with Iveta Lukosiute, Alison Hammond with Aljaz Skorjanec and Simon Webbe with Kristina Rihanoff.

At the live shows, Strictly fans watch the celebrity dancing couples competing for the judges’ votes and then get to vote themselves for their favourites using their mobile phones.

The tour will visit Sheffield on Tuesday, January 27. For ticket details visit the website, strictlycomedancinglive.com

Source: Grimsby Telegraph