📷 : BBC (Ray Burmiston)
Strictly Come Dancing Professional Amy Dowden made her debut on the show in 2017 and has seen her partnered with Brian Conley and Danny John-Jules, and later this year, Amy will be returning for her third series. Alongside her fiancé and dance partner Ben Jones, Amy runs Art in Motion Dance Academy in the West Midlands, and has recently finished the Here Come the Girls tour with Chloe Hewitt and Dianne Buswell. Sitting down with us, Amy talks about being part of Strictly Come Dancing, touring with Here Come the Girls and becoming 2016 British National Champion.
What was it like making your Strictly Come Dancing debut in 2017?
Very surreal, it didn’t feel real at all. I’d watched some of the dancers on the show since I was a little girl and now I’m on the Strictly dance floor performing with them. It’s the biggest dream come true.
What’s been your favourite dance to choreograph from your time in the show?
I’ve liked them all but two favourites really stand out. One is when I was Dorothy and Brian (Conley) was the scarecrow in If I Only Had a Brain, and the other one is the Jive with Danny (John-Jules), which I got my first ever ten for, and that was to Flip, Flop and Fly. Those two are the highlights for me choreographically-wise.
Do you have a favourite group number you’ve performed?
My favourite group number has to be when I got to take the lead for the RAF dance last year for Remembrance Sunday. That was a beautiful moment for me.
How does it feel returning for a third series?
I think the show just gets better and better every year. Each time I’ve been asked if I’d like to come back, I get that buzz, excitement and surreal feeling again. It’s super exciting. I’m going to do what it takes to try and make the final this year!
Is there a style of dance you would like to teach your celebrity partner that you haven’t done so as yet?
I haven’t done the Charleston, Salsa, Argentine or Waltz. I did all five Latin dances because I did the Rumba with Colin Jackson and the rest with either Bri (Conley) or Danny. I think one of the Speciality Dances would be nice.
How was it performing on The Greatest Dancer?
That was another fun and surreal moment. The crowd was brilliant and it was great to be back with the gang performing.
How has the Here Come The Girls tour gone?
Super fun! Going around the country, sharing my love for dance with two fabulous girls – Dianne (Buswell) and Chloe (Hewitt) – and of course, getting to dance on stage day in, day out with my lovely fiancé has all been a great experience.
What’s it been like putting the show together with Chloe and Dianne?
Great fun, we’re all very different but it works. We’re like sisters, it’s been a lot of fun and a lot of craziness with Dianne and her vlogs! We all know each other inside out to know when to pick each other up. It’s been absolutely great and the buzz and the energy we’ve had together on stage every night has been phenomenal.
How was it continuing the tour after having a couple of months break?
It wasn’t really a couple of months break because it was so busy! I went on the Strictly Cruise and I run a dance school in the West Midlands called Art in Motion Dance Academy and we were just moving to a bigger studio so there was a lot of work to do. We organised a big launch party for it and I was also preparing my students for dancing at the British Open Championships up in Blackpool. I was also doing other shows with Ben (Jones). So, it wasn’t really a break… I think going back on tour was more of a break!
Can you tell us more about the dance school you run, Art in Motion Dance Academy?
Yes, it’s for social dances but goes right up to competitive as well and we have classes for children and adults and also private lessons. It’s lovely to share our love of dance with everybody else. I try to inspire my children that they can reach their goals and that if they want to be on Strictly, they can but they have to work hard and never give up on their dreams. We’re just one big family and they love following the Strictly journey. It’s a very surreal moment to have my own dance studio and to share it with my fiancé, it’s a dream come true.
You were the 2016 British National Champion, can you tell us about this?
If I could go back and relive that night, I would. I think at the time you’re so nervous and focused on the competition that I’d want to go back and enjoy it more. I think I put so much pressure and stress on myself. It was an honour for Ben and me and we will never, ever forget it, it was very special. Our coach from America flew over to be there with us that night and we had our parents, family and closest friends there. It was something I had dreamed of since I was a little girl so to be able to take away that title was very special.
Where did your love of dance stem from?
I could never keep still as a child, if there was music on, I was always dancing. I couldn’t even sit down to watch cartoons! We went on holiday to Cornwall to my grandad’s caravan and they had dance competitions going on for the entertainment. I got up and entered it and won, then I begged my parents all the way home from the holiday to go dancing. I was eight years old and my parents thought, “brilliant! Let’s take her along and keep her busy on Saturday mornings for £3.50”. Little did they know it’d take over their lives!
When not dancing, what do you enjoy doing?
Ooh, that’s not very often! I think just being at home with my fiancé and chilling or spending time with my family because we don’t get a lot of time to do that, especially with my family being in Wales. It’s just nice to get together, spend time with each other, get a takeaway and chat the night away.
Will you be doing any dance events or workshops in the coming months?
Yes, I have a few planned. I’m on the Strictly Cruise and there’s workshops on there. I’ll be teaching and doing workshops at my dance studio. I’ve also been invited to other schools around the UK to do workshops.
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