‘Dancing changed my life’ says Russell Grant

Russell Grant
Russell Grant
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Panto fans hoping to see twinkle-toed astrologer extraordinaire Russell Grant in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at Kettering’s Lighthouse Theatre are guaranteed there will be some dance involved.

Russell, who is appearing as the Astrologer Royal, may be best known for looking to the stars, but he also has a keen love of dance; something which was magnified when he appeared as a contestant in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2011, partnering Flavia Cacace.

Now it seems that dance is very much a trend in the work he enjoys.

He said: “We are about to meet the producers in the next couple of weeks when we will be mapping out the character and the script and whether he is good, bad or indifferent.

“The one thing I do know is he dances, he dances a la Strictly Come Dancing.

“My partner and dear friend Flavia Cacace is going to choreograph part of the number, if not all of it, so I think the best thing to say is that you are going to see a lot of Strictly there.

“As for the actual character in the script, we can’t say too much at the moment because I honestly don’t know.

“That is what is so exciting as I’m going to meet the director and producer and we are going to go through it all so that any astrology that does come up in the script will be authentic. It won’t be thrown together in a kind of slap-dash way so that it is not genuine astrology.”

As well as carrying on his astrology, since Strictly Russell has kept busy in numerous acting roles ranging from starring in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium to appearing as Teen Angel in the 20th anniversary tour of Grease the Musical. Both of these involved plenty of dancing.

Russell, who will be supporting former Saints star Ben Cohen in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, has also remained involved with the show, taking part in It Takes Two with Zoe Ball last year.

He also keeps in contact with Flavia, with whom he has starred in the theatre show Midnight Tango and appeared in a dance fitness DVD called Zalza. The pair have now been asked to make a second DVD together.

Russell said: “Strictly changed my life. It was a total transformation.

“It was the best thing to happen to me as my background is obviously theatre and television and I trained as a singer too but I don’t really do much singing.

“Last year for the Olympics, they asked celebrities, for the big screen in Trafalgar Square, to come up with a line people could associate with and I said ‘for me, dance is joy and joy is in dance’. I had never trained as a dancer. I did chorus work, of course, but it is not like Strictly.

“Strictly is a completely different ball game. You are dealing with world champions, professionals – Flavia was an Argentine tango world champion.

“It has change my life in so many ways and I say to a lot of people it has also saved my life because I had two near heart attacks and was diagnosed diabetic, type 2, so in a lot of things Strictly saved me.

“My tip is try to do things you enjoy. We all have to work to live and survive, but even if it’s a hobby, do something that brings you joy. For me now it is dance and I will continue to dance even if I have to dance to my grave.”

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs will run at Kettering’s Lighthouse Theatre from December 11 to January 5. Visit www.lighthousetheatre.co.uk.