|Image Source: Sunday Express|
Written By: Mark Armstrong
Provided By: Liverpool Empire Theatre
Mark Armstrong recently grabbed a quick word with Robin Windsor ahead of his role as a lead dancer in Puttin’ On The Ritz, which is about to take the Liverpool Empire Theatre back to the Golden Age of Hollywood …
To begin with, can you briefly tell us the story behind Puttin’ On The Ritz?
There’s no exact plot for Puttin’ On The Ritz. It’s a song-and-dance extravaganza, so it’s taking everybody back to the 1920s and 1930s, that Golden Age of Hollywood, with the music by Cole Porter, Irvin Berlin and George Gershwin. These are timeless songs that will never, ever be forgotten. So, it’s just a succession of dance numbers and songs, taking everybody back to that wonderful era.
What role will you be playing in this show?
Well, when it comes to the dancing, there’s myself and Anya Garnis, who I’m dancing with; Trent Whiddan who danced with Pixie Lott last year; and then of course there’ll be your very own Ray Quinn. And we’re all invited as very special guests; the show has already been created, so we just slot into that show at all the appropriate times, so we make appearances all the way through.
Tell us about how your dancing career evolved, and ultimately how you made it to Strictly Come Dancing.
I grew up as a ballroom dancer in a competitive world from the age of 3. I began in my hometown, which is Ipswich, and I continued competing up to the age of 19. Then, I joined a dance show called Burn The Floor, for which I ended up doing a world tour for 9 ½ years. We became the first ever ballroom show to end up on Broadway, and after that we headed straight to the West End in London. And, from there, I was picked to do Strictly. I wasn’t your typical-looking ballroom dancer; I have a shaved head and a beard and I was a bit muscly at the time. So, they picked me for Strictly because I was different and I brought something different to the table, so that’s kind of how it all happened.
What were the highlights of your time on Strictly?
For me, every moment you get to step on the set is absolutely brilliant, but I think my favourite moment would be dancing with Lisa Riley. The moment that she jumped into the splits at Wembley, where there were 6,500 people that night – the reaction was just like that of a rock concert! We both felt like Beyoncé for a moment; it was absolutely brilliant.
Which other productions have you been involved in over the last few years?
In recent times, I’ve done an awful lot of other stuff for Strictly Come Dancing: I’ve done the Strictly Come Dancing cruises, and I’ve done a tour of a show called Dancing With Music which was just myself, Kristina (Rhianoff) and the winners at the time, Artem (Chigvintsev) and Kara (Tointon). But I’m excited about the current show, Puttin’ On The Ritz: it will be the first time that I’ll be performing at the Liverpool Empire. I’ve been there lots of times to watch a show, and I can’t wait to actually perform in such a big theatre and on a big stage.
Finally, which song in Puttin’ On The Ritz will see you deliver a dance performance for the audience to remember?
Well, the show’s called Puttin’ On The Ritz, the most famous song from that time is called Puttin’ On The Ritz, and the best dance routine that will be put together for the show is for Puttin’ On The Ritz, so that’s the one that you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled for!
Puttin’ On The Ritz plays the Liverpool Empire from Tuesday October 6 to Saturday October 10. To book your tickets, click here.
For more information about Puttin’ On The Ritz, visit www.puttinontheritztour.com.