Strictly Come Dancing stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace bring their new show to the Liverpool Empire from 31 March to 2 April 2014
I met with Flavia last week to talk about the upcoming show, Strictly Come Dancing, the Argentine tango and what she thinks of Liverpool.
Q – This show is all about old Hollywood glamour. What is it about that era that appeals to you?
Flavia – After three years of our last show, Midnight Tango, we wanted to do something very different and something that allowed us to do some of our other dances other than the Argentine tango. So we thought 1940s Hollywood we can go Fred and Ginger. So in this show we go from Charleston, tango, foxtrot, quickstep. We’ve got some Argentine tango, so there’s pretty much everything in there. The other cast members are West End dancers, so we’ve got their style of dancing as well and we’ve managed to fuse the two worlds together.
Q – And the Argentine tango fits in there?
Flavia – Yes, it fits in and we don’t apologise for it! It all makes sense within the story. It was a risk to make it work and seem logical, but so far the feedback from the audiences has been great.
Q – I’m sure no-one’s complaining! So, in terms of having a live band, does this make it special for you?
Flavia – It’s incredible. We’ve got an amazing musical director (Karen Bruce) and we’ve picked songs we’ve always wanted to use. We’ve picked some and Karen picked some and we’ve fused them together to make the different parts of the story so we’ve got highs and lows. We’ve got some really old songs and we’ve also gone really modern, so there’s something for everyone. You sit and listen to [a song] and you’ll go “Oh, hang on…I know that!”
Q – So it’s a bit Baz Luhrmann - modern stuff done with an old feel?
Flavia – It is. And it’s all big band, so we’ve taken the song and made it our own.
Q – So what about your dancers? How many of them are there?
Flavia – There’s 18 plus us and we’ve got two actors who help to tell the story. They’re really brilliant and funny – there’s a detective and a Jessica Rabbit type character. We’ve also got two singers who are absolutely incredible and all the other cast members can sing and dance. And then you’ve got Vincent and I playing our characters and doing our thing. There’s a great set and we take you to the Hollywood hills, we go to a pool party, a club….so the set changes and there’s lots to look at. And of course, the costumes help tell the story as well.
Q – So do you spend a lot of time rushing through costume changes?
Flavia – There’s lots of costume changes and everyone’s loving the costumes. They’re 1940s style, so they’re very glamorous. There’s some very quick changes. When we first started it was very manic backstage with things being literally thrown around, but we’ve settled down now and we know where we’re going. So we’re nice and calm on stage, but backstage it’s crazy busy!
Q – So just how glamorous do the outfits get? Are we talking Rita Hayworth in Gilda?
Flavia – Some, yes! We go to a club scene and there’s a Charleston and there’s very glamorous dresses. It’s a real mix, so if we’re in a normal location, we’re in more normal – but still very stylised costumes – and then we do have moments when we go very glamorous.
Q – So can I ask you about Strictly. Who has been the partner who has given you the most satisfaction in terms of how they’ve moved on?
Flavia – That has to be Russell Grant. He’s a very good friend of mine now and we speak at least weekly. To begin with everyone was like, “Oh, he’s not going to do very well” and in actual fact he was brilliant! He’s a real inspiration, not just doing Strictly, but where he’d come from before that . His weight loss before was incredible. And then to take on a challenge like Strictly and so it so well with so much enthusiasm was just delightful. It was so easy and pleasurable to work with him.
Q – He so obviously loved it, didn’t he?
Flavia – He loves it! He still does now. If he could dance very day he would. And that comes across when you’re with him, so it was never hard work. He’s got that natural flair, so he sells every dance he does.
Q – I’m sure you get asked this all the time, but if you could pick anyone in the world to be your partner, who would you choose to partner and teach how to dance?
Flavia (laughing) - It’s really hard! People might think I’d choose someone like Brad Pitt, but you don’t know character-wise whether they like dancing or whether they’re going to be musical. To me the most important thing is the enthusiasm from someone when you’re teaching them and until you meet someone you don’t know if they have that or not. So you could pick someone on looks or whatever, but the most important thing when you’re teaching is that they are really open to learning and they’re enthusiastic and hard-working. That’s where you get the rewards from, really.
Q - Do you think we’ll see you back on Strictly?
Flavia – Possibly. We didn’t do it last year ‘cos we had this big show to put together and Strictly is a 24-hour-a-day commitment and personally I only ever do it if I know I’m committed 110%, and with Dance Til Dawn around the corner we couldn’t commit to both projects. I did Strictly for seven..eight years, which is a long time and I think having won it and having won last year’s Christmas Special (with Rufus Hound), which was amazing, you start to think about new things and new challenges. So I wouldn’t say it would be like taking a step back, but I’m so satisfied with my experience on the show. I’ve lived every possible experience on there, but who knows? We haven’t made any final decisions yet.
Q – So you’re here in Liverpool, have you had much chance to see Liverpool and experience it?
Flavia – I love it up here and the audiences are always great. I love the Empire Theatre, it’s a beautiful theatre and it’s so inspirational. I love Liverpool and my favourite restaurant, San Carlo, is here so I’ll be having my yearly trip there. I’ve got friends in Liverpool, too and it’s really nice cos they’ll be in the audience, too.
Q – I have to ask you about your signature dance, the Argentine tango. When it comes to the music,what would you prefer to dance to – the more traditional, dirty, basic Argentine music or the more modern interpretations?
Flavia – I personally prefer the more traditional. I think you can’t beat the old Astor Piazzolla music. Tango is my favourite music to listen to. I don’t think it’s for everybody. I think some people would find it too dramatic, but it’s very emotional and I love it. I like the old stuff; I do like the more modern stuff as well, but after a while I want to go back to the traditional. That’s the foundation of it. That music really tells a story so it’s easy to choreograph to cos it almost tells you what to do . Traditional tango music has so many highs and lows; it fluctuates – there’s quiet moments and then it goes really fast, so it’s like a script and it’s very emotionally involving.
Dance Til Dawn is on at the Liverpool Empire this week with tickets available from £10 from the Empire’s website
No, this is not some Greek mythological literary evening but a highly fuelled, high octane, fast flowing Hip Hop Theatre production taking place at the Black-E Great George Street 6.30-9.15pm Friday 31st Jan.
Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jonzi D presents a triple bill, including his acclaimed The Letter.
The Letter explores the responses to Jonzi being offered an MBE, looking at this sensitive subject matter through the eyes of an animated cast of characters.
The Letter is accompanied by a commissioned score played live by a member of the Speakers Corner quartet Kwake Bass.
The evening will feature a newly commissioned piece of work directed and choreographed by Jonzi D and Ivan Blackstok with Birdsong Dance Company.
This exciting collaboration promises to captivate audiences with Jonzi’s trademark wit,social insight and style, exploring the broken lineage between the old skool and new skool generations, joining Jonzi’s unique perspective to enduring social issues.
Kids will go crazy with this street dance explosion and so the cast have dedicated one workshop session guaranteed to be sold out on 1st Feb 14yrs+ and only 20 places available ….so be quick!!!!!
The minimum age for this Black-E performance is 8yrs
The Black-E, 1 Great George Street L 15 EW
And, if you miss this at the Black-E you can still see them at The Studio, The Arts Centre, Edge Hill University Monday 3rd Feb 7.30 01695 584480
A feast of Burns Night delights awaits you next week, so book early to avoid disappointment.
St George’s Hall has again a grand night of haggis, whisky and dancing to the Gallimaufry ceilidh band.
Last year was a rousing success and at £10 a ticket, cheap at the price for the entertainment and traditional Scottish buffet of haggis, neeps, tatties and a bar where wee drams of whisky will be plentiful.
Dance your tartan socks off on Saturday 25th Jan from 7.30pm http://www.ticketquarter.co.uk
Second in the round of ‘what’s on the night’, we have Croxteth Hall with an exciting Burns Night Sportmans evening with guest Dinner Speakers, Eric Nixon and an old favourite with lots of laughs, Nick Cochrane. This is all at £30 and booked through 0151 529 2640.
The beautiful ornate Athenaeum has a fine formal Burns Night evening with the bards poetry reading and a superb meal for £30 booked on 0151 709 7770.
Delifonseca, Stanley Street comes up trumps with a ‘Whisky Flight’ on 25th January 6pm.
The evening will explore the tasting of Oak Cross, Peat Monster, and Tallister 10 whisky and to accompany this tasting, a Burns Night platter of Haggis Scotch eggs, Arbroath smokie pate with warm walnut bread, Inverawe smoked salmon blinis and individual Scotch broth is all you need for a fantastic night out at £18.95. 0151 2550 808.
At £25 a head, ‘The Whisky Lounge’ will be at Jenny’s Bar, Fenwick Street on Wednesday 29th Jan 7pm. A lot of good stuff is on taste here with some incredible tasty haggis dished out between drams. You will certainly walk out with a smile on your face and cheap at the price.
Me, well ……
a tin of cock a leekie soup courtesy of Asda 75p
a McSween haggis Tesco £1.50, blackpudding 75p, neeps and tatties at £2 a bag, with a Highland whisky sauce homemade 20p.
Mains with roast sirloin of Aberdeen Angus £3 Tesco, roasties, carrot and turnip mash, broccoli florets, at £2 at bag from Tesco and a rich red wine sauce 20p homemade from leftover Christmas booze.
Dessert, optional but I’ll get a caramel cheesecake and sprinkle whisky on it….£2.50 Tesco.
Total for three.. £12.90 and……
Enjoy Your Burns Night! I always do.