Interview: Celebrity choreographer Arlene Phillips

  • The List
  • 15 June 2011
Celebrity choreographer Arlene Phillips interview

Strictly Come Dancing judge on her inspirations and what she looks for

The producer of Midnight Tango, which stars Strictly Come Dancing’s Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace talks about her life in dance

What made you want to be a choreographer?
I became a choreographer by chance. Dancing was always my first love, and it was when I was babysitting for [filmmaker] Ridley Scott and he needed someone to choreograph a TV commercial he was directing. He said: ‘Oh you dance don’t you? Fancy choreographing a commercial for Lyons Maid Ice Cream?’ And I thought why not? As they say, the rest is history.

What inspires you when you choreograph?
I take inspiration from so much around me. Music I’ve heard, art that I’ve seen, stories I’m told – it can be any number of things that can just start an idea and it grows from there.

What are you looking for in a dancer who works with you?
Someone who is a strong technician, fearless and feisty. I Iove a dancer who is willing to take risks with their body and go that extra mile to move the audience.

What do you hope audiences will take away from your work?
I want the audience to feel as moved as I do when I create something, and for them to go away feeling they have really enjoyed the work that I’ve done. If they go away dancing the steps, then I know I’ve succeeded.

Midnight Tango, Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 28 Jun–Sat 2 Jul; King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 26–Sat 30 Jul.

Midnight Tango

Strictly Come Dancing regulars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace bring the heady passions of Buenos Aires to town in this tango extravaganza.

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