Strictly Come Dancing professionals Kevin and Karen Clifton started their latest tour at Northampton last week.
We chatted to the duo about their show with further dates lined up at Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre on Sunday June 3 and Leicester's De Montfort Hall on Tuesday July 17.
So following on from the huge success of your 2017 tour, you new tour Kevin & Karen Dance starts on May 22nd 2018. It’s back and even bigger this year, with a total of 39 venues booked which proves you have a lot of very loyal fans who want to come and see you. What are you looking forward to the most about this tour?
After last year’s successful sell out tour, we have put all of our engines to full throttle to make sure this year’s tour as as big of a success, and even more important as entertaining and fun, as it was last year. We’re really looking forward to setting the scene with new story-lines, music, choreography, costumes and dancers that will make you want to get up off your seat and dance along with us.
Plus, we have searched the globe and really invested in getting the best possible talent on stage. The standard and caliber of this cast could not be higher!
I would imagine the preparation in the lead up to the tour is one of the hardest parts in terms of the content and choreography for the performance? Is that something you both control? When does all the planning start?
We are both dedicated to the constant improvement and development with our choreography, energy and style, but this does take a lot of time. This year we feel we have made a big leap forward and are producing our best work yet. That’s really what the show is about; it’s about years of influence and inspiration continuously shaping us as we evolve. The title was almost going to be ‘35 years in the making’!
We start generating ideas for the show months and months in advance, then make a blue print. Discussions quickly become about song choices, then conversations begin with directors and the bare bones are constructed. Before we know it the show is upon us!
What was your inspiration for this tour in terms of how you wanted it to be?
The show is based on all of our inspiration and influences, so the choreography in the show is much more energetic than last year. The storyline connects with all the dancers in all the numbers that we’re doing.
It’s must be such a huge operation, all the costumes, staging, the choreography, selecting your music – when does it all get to a point when you say – ok let’s go we’re ready!
Well – if this time is anything like last year it will be about three shows into the actual run! There are so many elements to pull together that even on opening night we panic. In the end, thankfully, it’s always amazing though.
Do you have a favourite style of dance that you love to perform together time and time again?
Our favorite dance is the Paso Doble, as much of our make-up as dancers is centered around drama and storytelling. The Paso is a dance in which the drama is so easily accessed and dialed up to the max. Its passionate, energetic and full of character. Our signature dance is performed to the incredibly powerful Moulin Rouge version of ‘Roxanne’.
I guess physically you’re both at your best, and being on a show like Strictly, you to have to be. It’s got to be so important for you to stay in shape, which I’m sure you do rehearsing every day, but to keep the energy you give in your performances do you have to watch your diet?
No, if anything we have to consciously eat more carbs and protein, because we are rehearsing so much each day. Energy levels have to be kept high! Neither of us have ever dieted a day in our lives, we are very lucky.
Has the speculation around your personal relationship in the press recently bought a different dynamic to your professional relationship?
Our tour actually feels re-energised lately, and the news hasn’t changed how we dance together. If anything, it’s given us more of a connection and brought us closer on the dancefloor.
You probably have so many, but who would you say has been your biggest inspiration in music and dance? Have you both been influenced by different people?
In dance specifically the old school Fred Asaire / Gene Kelly have inspired us both. Matthew Bourne is a big influence. The show is about great showmen, big characters and so on. We love a big performer and draw a lot of inspiration from great entertainers like Michael Jackson Beyonce and Robbie Williams. For us it’s about how you feel when watching dance, not the greater spectacle so much.
You’re pretty much all over the country finishing in Dublin at the end of July, how will you find the travelling, is it something you’ve become adjusted to?
We’ve always travelled and done a lot of tours, it’s a fun lifestyle living out of your suitcase, eating different foods in different places and seeing the sights as you go.
Even now with all your experience of dancing together, you put your heart and soul into your tour - do you ever get nervous before you go on stage? And is it worse as its your show?
We always get nervous, and I don’t think that will ever change! Those nerves usually fade when the spotlight hits and the music starts though.
Do you get the same enjoyment from playing as a duo as you do on Strictly as part of a huge show?
Being a part of Strictly Come Dancing has been a blessing for us. It has made it possible for us to do our tour and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.
A lot of hard work and preparation goes into doing both shows. They are both huge parts of our lives and careers. The dedication, professionalism and pure joy of being able to do what we have dreamed of since childhood is something we really cherish and will always continue to make our priority.
As far as Strictly 2018, when will we know if you guys are definitely back?
When we get a phone call! (laughs) We’ve got August until Christmas booked out in hope, and obviously we love the show so would really like to keep doing it.
To be so successful at what you do and to remain at the top, what does that mean to you?
You always have to keep pushing, there will never be a time when we feel like we’ve ‘made it’ – always room to create more and improve, and that is a big driving factor for us.
To finish off, what can we expect from Kevin & Karen in the future? Will you guys keep touring and entertaining your fans?
We’ll always be entertaining! (laughs). We’re always looking for fresh ideas and different ways to entertain, so keep your eyes peeled.
For further information about the show or to book tickets visit www.kevinandkarenlive.com.