Arlene Phillips on Musicals, Melodies and Midnight Tango

Arlene Phillips on Musicals, Melodies and Midnight Tango

If you're familiar with a little show called Strictly Come Dancing, then do we have something for you to get excited about.

Hot off the dancefloor, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacache present their first DVD Midnight Tango produced by Arlene Phillips.

"This is an Argentine Tango show with a story. It's intimate, it's sexy and has the most phenominal ensembles. I don't think, certainly I've not seen, an Argentine Tango show quite like it because most of them, which are sensational, but they are really for dance aficionados, this one reaches out to everyone," Arlene tells FemaleFirst.

"Certainly all the millions who watch Strictly will know Vincent and Flavia for their phenomenal Argentine Tangoes, they are quite extraordinary. Every time I see them dance and they do their own, I think the ratings go up as well as the heat in the living room!"

Despite the heavy workload that went into preparing for the Live Midnight Tango show it was something that dancer, choreographer and producer Arlene hugely enjoyed.

The first thing I always see people do is walk in time to the music,

"First of all you have to hire the team that is around you. As a producer I was involved in all those sorts of decisions and it's interesting because when you're a choreographer you're not, you're just hired."

"This is the first time I've produced a live show and you get to interefer with everything and everyone because you ultimately control what's out there. And I've loved that bit! But also working so closely with everyone involved with the show has been great."

Arlene says that different choreographers work in different ways. She likes to hear the music first and then match moves and steps to the rhythm. Having worked closely with musicals including Starlight Express, The Sound of Music and most recently The Wizard of Oz, Arlene knows the importance of dancing telling a story.

"Jason Donovan was playing Captain Von Trap in the Sound of Music, which was a production I choreographed. There is a beautiful dance piece in it, but it's a storytelling piece when he's dancing to Ländler, which is an early Waltz."

"In it a story has to be woven, so every move, every touch, every time they touch hands or reach towards one another there has to be something more than a hold and a step into it, it has to tell the story."

Professionals or novices, Arlene has worked with all different standards of dancers, but she says that she always asks to see the same thing.

"The first thing I always see people do is walk in time to the music, followed by, even if they are small children skipping, because by skipping you can tell who has natural rhythm and who's going to have to work very very very hard. "

With a background in ballroom, musical and pop video dance, Arlene has worked with everyone from classical dancer Wayne Sleep to tap genius Adam Garcia. Two of the best, allbeit most difficult 'diva' dancers to work with, have been the lovable Louis Spence and Dancing on Ice's Jason Gardiner.

Arlene Phillips begun her successful dance career with a bang creating the popular dance group Hot Gossip in the 70s. Since then she has soared with her time on Strictly Come Dancing until 2008, as well as judging on TV talent show So You Think You Can Dance.

Now turning her attention to books, she has written a series of six children's dance books and promotion soon starts for her new hardback Dance To The Musicals.

Strictly brings back happy memories for Arlene: "There were so many memorable times, but I think the one time that sticks out of all moments was when Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy got wrapped up in the microphone and Bruce gave them a second chance, which was really unheard and I think that was a wonderful moment."

"The Jill and Darren Jive is absolutely legendary - everyone still talks about it and everyone asks why. Why? Because she is the only dancer who has done the jive like a professional dancer because the strength in her supporting leg which people never look at," explains Arlene.

With a change of cast at the Wizard of Oz, promotional work on her new book starting and blogging and designing a new jewellery line for QVC, things are all go for the country's favourtie choreographer.

So if you're looking for something to get you a little hot under the collar this winter, the Argentine Tango is something Arlene fully recommends:

"When I see a strong and powerful tango, such as Vincent and Rachel Stevens'...well it's possibly one of the most exciting things on earth!"

Midnight Tango is available on DVD now

FemaleFirst Jenna Fordie twitter: @Jenna_FAM

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