Strictly stars clocking-in for the Midnight Tango

Flavia and Vincent Simone in Midnight Tango

Flavia and Vincent Simone in Midnight Tango

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THE live show, Midnight Tango, coming to the Lyceum next week is a vehicle for Strictly Come Dancing stars Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace.

Another name associated with the production familiar from the BBC hit show is former judge Arlene Phillips, known as a leading choreographer, but credited as co-producer.

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips insisted that she had not been affected by the row over her departure from the show. She is launching new musical Sacred Flame at the O2 Arena in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 23, 2009. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips insisted that she had not been affected by the row over her departure from the show. She is launching new musical Sacred Flame at the O2 Arena in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 23, 2009. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

So what exactly is her involvement? While overall responsibility for making the show rests with the director, she says, her role has been to take a wider view.

“I’ve said a lot about what I want the show to be and how it should reach an audience of the wider public rather than a lot of tango shows which have played to aficianados of dance and tango,” she says.

“Vincent and Flavia go right to the nation’s heart with their dancing ability and this is their show and also we have the director, Karen Bruce, who I’ve known since she was my assistant choreographer on Grease. They have created the show.”

Midnight Tango is set in a bar in Buenos Aires and has a cast of a dozen dancers involved in routines linked by a narrative.

“We opened in Jersey at the beginning of April and have made a few changes since then. That’s how it works, you look at it and hone it, particularly with the short space of time we had for this,” says Phillips, emphasising that her involvement hasn’t ceased once the show has gone out on the road. I am a very hands-on person and I am committed to all the things I have worked on whether as a director or choreographer. Starlight Express which opened in 1984 had a new production in Germany, and I kept an eye on that. I am still interested in the show.”

It may seem surprising that she finds the time, given that she is back on television at the moment with So You Think You Can Dance?

“I am judging on that so I am really only involved on the day,” she explains. “In terms of time commitment this is one of the least demanding shows I have done but it’s very rewarding. The thing I love is the many different styles of dance that are on the programme from disco and contemporary to hip hop and jive. I have grown up with these kinds of dance and I have used many different styles in my choreography. What I love is it’s the big wide picture of dance and being able to work with them all.”

Arlene Phillips hit the headlines when the BBC dropped her from Strictly in favour of a younger judge, prompting furious protests from several quarters at what looked like ageism by the Beeb. The woman herself gives the impression that others were more incensed than she was.

“I moved on to the many other different things I love doing,” she says firmly. At the moment this also includes a clothing line with Marisota and the imminent publication of two more of her Alana Dancing Star children’s books. “I am trying to create a series for children around the ages of six to 11 who love to dance. There are plenty about ballet but not other forms of dance. So I will be going to book fairs and around schools,” she says.

Clearly there is plenty of life after Strictly, although as Midnight Tango shows, she continues to work with many connected with the show. “I am still in touch with all the dancers and everyone that’s part of it,” she says. “It’s just another step along the way.”

Midnight Tango is at the Lyceum from Tuesday to Saturday.