INTERVIEW: Vincent and Flavia return in Dance ‘til Dawn

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THEIRS is a dance partnership which has spanned 20 years, sell-out shows and countless standing ovations.

Now, North East audiences will be able to enjoy the sizzling chemistry of Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace up close when they set the Newcastle stage alight next week.

The pair will be performing their new show Dance ‘til Dawn, which celebrates the golden age of Hollywood and promises to whisk audiences back to the glamour of the 1940s, Latin style.

It’ll be the first time the former world champions and stars of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing have been back in Newcastle since the final tour of their sell-out show Midnight Tango.

The show was a runaway success – seen by more than half a million people across the UK on tour and in London’s West End.

Vincent says they’re looking forward to being back in the region.

“We’re really looking forward to Newcastle, we have friends there,” he said.

“We toured for three years with Midnight Tango and a couple of the dancers live in Newcastle so it will be great to catch up with them.”

Speaking about why Midnight Tango became so successful, he said: “We have become the face of Argentinian tango in this country and I think people are a lot more aware of it than they were. It’s about passion and intimacy which is very appealing for people to watch.

“People saw us on Strictly and I think they trust us. We wanted to make this new show as good as, if not better than Midnight, and some people have said they enjoy it even more.”

At the core of the piece is, of course, the chemistry between the stars, one that’s been honed by hours upon hours of dedication to dance.

“Finding a partner is all about chemistry, body size, speed and power,” explained Vincent.

“We have been dancing together for 20 years so we know each other’s capabilities. People say when we dance we become one, but that comes with years of practice.”

Though the champions were already successful in the world of ballroom dancing, it was Strictly Come Dancing which brought them fame.

Last year, they made the decision not to appear in the series so they could focus on their own projects.

“It’s a completely different thing when you’re dancing on Strictly,” said Vincent.

“The celebrities dance as well as they can, but you can’t dance to your full potential as it puts them off balance and they couldn’t cope.

“So you try to make it as polished as you can, but you never enjoy it as much as when you’re dancing professionally.

“All of my partners on Strictly have been good in their own way, even Edwina Curry, she really wanted to learn, which is all you can ask for. Rachel Stevens was a great little dancer. I’ve been really lucky with my partners, I don’t really have a favourite.

“Strictly gave us the window to show what we can do, but if we were rubbish we wouldn’t sell tickets for the theatre shows. People can see how good we are.”

And Vincent says there’s nothing like seeing the majesty of movement in person.

“Dancing, as an art form, looks 100 per cent better when it’s live in 3D. The audience can’t get as involved when it’s on TV in 2D. People say to see it live is a totally different thing,” he said.

Set in 1940s LA, Dance ‘til Dawn features a romance unfolding between a starlet and her lover.

It’s directed by Olivier Award-winning choreographer and director Karen Bruce who directed Midnight Tango and who has choreographed for both Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance on BBC1.

Flavia says it was important for them to make this tour different to Midnight Tango.

“Midnight Tango was very successful and we wanted to leave it in its own box, we didn’t want this new show to be compared,” she said.

“Setting it in the 1940s gave us the freedom to do lots of different styles such as quickstep and Charleston alongside musical theatre performers, so we’ve fused those two worlds together.

“We have some great actors on the tour that help us to tell the story, along with live music, solo singers, a lovely set and glamorous costumes in keeping with the era.

“It was a really long process getting the show off the ground.

“Last year we decided not to be part of Strictly as we needed the autumn to get this show right.”

So does Flavia miss the show - which she won with Louis Smith in 2012 - that made her a household name, and will they be back?

“I was there last year for the launch and I went back for the Christmas special, then we’ve been touring with this so I haven’t had a chance to miss it.

“After seven years on the show and winning it, I’m content with it.

“It was an amazing show to be part of and hopefully we will go back to do one-off performances, it would be great to step back on to the Strictly dancefloor.”

•Dance ‘til Dawn appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday until June 14. Tickets are from £13 from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 112121 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk.