BWW Interviews: Choreographer Nick Winston On LET'S DANCE AGAIN

BWW Interviews: Choreographer Nick Winston On  LET'S DANCE AGAIN

Nick Winston began his career as a performer, appearing in the West End productions of Chicago, Fosse, Kiss Me Kate and Disney's Beauty & The Beast. His extensive choreographic work has been seen across Europe, America and Asia. Credits include, Annie (National Tour), Flash Mob (Sadler's Wells), White Christmas (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Calamity Jane (National Tour), Sweeney Todd (The Royal Exchange), Sondheim at 80 (Royal Albert Hall), Loserville (West End), The Wizard of Oz (Royal Festival Hall), The Adventures of Pinocchio (Opera North), Il Turco in Italia (Garsington Opera) & Fortunio (Grange Park Opera).

He's currently working on Let's Dance Again, at the Royal Festival Hall on November 13.

Tell us a little bit about the concept of the show.

The show is a celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood. We are recreating classic routines performed by the greatest stars, including Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse and Marilyn Monroe, live on stage with a full orchestra. It's going to be quite a night!

This golden age of Hollywood musicals has been really popular on stage in recent years - why is it still so appealing to modern audiences?

They are brilliantly constructed musicals, filled with uplifting songs and wonderful dance routines which appeal to people of all ages. Also, I think with the popularity of shows like Strictly Come Dancing, people have a renewed interest in dance from the era, the Charleston, lindy hop, quickstep and waltz, have all become accessible.

And obviously some of your cast have starred in some of these screen-to-stage adaptations - tell us a bit about them.

I'd never seen Alan Burkitt dance until a couple of months ago when he auditioned for a production of Kiss Me, Kate I'm choreographing at the Châtelet. Well, my jaw dropped, he is sensational! I could hardly contain my excitement! He reminds me of Gower Champion, tall and athletic with beautiful lines and of course an excellent tapper.

Charlotte Gooch and I worked together many years ago, she is a wonderful dancer and has a flare for this period. She and Alan have great chemistry having both starred in Top Hat.

I've admired Matthew Malthouse since seeing him in Matilda and have always wanted to work with him. I'm so glad to be finally doing so. He has the elegance of Astaire mixed with the classic technique of Tommy Rall.

I was looking for a Cyd Charisse type and had Charlene Ford in mind. I've never worked with her, but have seen her on stage many times, most recently as one of the Seven Brides at Regents Park. I asked a few close colleagues who they'd suggest for Cyd Charisse and they all came back and said Charlene - so I'm thrilled she is on board.

I couldn't be happier with these four extraordinary performers leading our show, supported by an ensemble of excellent dancers.

How much of a challenge is it choreographing these kinds of dances as opposed to your work on more modern musicals?

With any contemporary show my first challenge is to devise a movement language for the characters. With period pieces I don't feel that's such a hurdle, there's an existing vocabulary to draw from and it's easier for the audience to accept. The challenge with this show will be to give the audience what they think they remember, but to also surprise them a little and to make it feel innovative.

What's your favourite Golden Age musical film?

"The Band Wagon", with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Michael Kidd is my favourite choreographer from that era, his movement was inspired by the way ordinary people behaved which he then abstracted and exaggerated, but it all stemmed from realistic gestures and activities."The Band a Wagon" features two absolute classics, "Dancing in The Dark" and "The Girl Hunt Ballet" which also influenced my favourite music video, "Smooth Criminal"!

And what do you think is going to be your highlight of the show?

I'm really looking forward to doing "Baby you Knock Me Out" from "It's Always Fair Weather", Cyd Charisse and the Male Ensemble, it's full of character and wit. I think "The Girl Hunt Ballet" will be a real centre piece and one of my absolute favourite routines is "The Alley Dance" from "My Sister Eileen" where Tommy Rall and Bob Fosse have a dance off. I think Matthew and Alan will knock that one out of the park!

Photo: Roy Tan

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From This Author Carrie Dunn

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