After being a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing for many years, Ian Waite is still involved with the series making regular appearances on It Takes Two, and is currently on tour with fellow professional dancer Vincent Simone for The Ballroom Boys shows. Ian will be making his pantomime debut playing the role of Dandini in Cinderella starting 29th November and running until 5th January in the 2019 pantomime at Worthing Pavilion Theatre. Chatting with Ian, we found out about touring with Vincent, preparing for his pantomime debut and taking on the role of Dandini.
Have you seen Cinderella as a pantomime previously and how familiar are you with Dandini as a character?
Last year, I went to see Craig Revel Horwood, a very good friend of mine, in Cinderella in Woking. I also came here five years ago to see Camilla Dallerup play the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, and Mark Read was playing my part, Dandini. I am kind of familiar with Dandini’s part, but I wouldn’t say I’m an expert! I know that he’s the Prince’s sidekick, and also the funny character. That’s about all I know at the moment!
What can audiences expect from your portrayal of Dandini?
We were talking about this earlier, about whether I should play it a little bit camp, or if I should play it very posh, because as the Prince’s friend, Dandini will be a bit posh. The Ugly Sisters and the Wicked Stepmother are all posh, so I’m wondering if I should play it posh camp – I’ll just have to phone my friend, Julian Clary, and ask him how to do it!
When will you be starting rehearsals and have you done any acting previously?
We are starting rehearsals on 18th November, and we have ten days. I have never done acting before, but some would say I act all the time in my own theatre tour. I’ve been touring for quite a while now, and we have a lot of scripted comedy parts in the show, so it’s similar to panto, I don’t think I’m going to have a problem with it, as long as I know my words inside out! My worry is not the acting part, but remembering what to say! I know it’s probably like learning steps to a dance but you get used to that, so you do it without even thinking.
What are you looking forward to for your pantomime debut?
I can’t wait to see all the kids’ faces having a good time and shouting and screaming, “HE’S BEHIND YOU”! I think it’s going to be a very different audience because mine are normally the Strictly audience, which are quite a lot older. It will take a bit of getting used to that type of audience, but I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into the acting side of it. I’m going to be singing, and there are a couple of dances in there, so I think they’re going to keep me busy! I’d hate to be sat backstage waiting for my part to come up, so if I’m on stage a lot, that’s good!
You are used to doing shows as a dancer, how do you think you’ll feel on opening night of Cinderella?
I think I’m going to be mega nervous, I’m normally nervous anyway on an opening night, but this will be a big challenge for me as it’s something out of my comfort zone. I will be as prepared as I can be, so I’m hoping that I will just breathe and enjoy it. My cast members are all really experienced and amazing actors, actresses and singers, so I’m sure they will guide me through it, even if I do start panicking.
Will you be involved with choreographing any of the production?
I think so. I think there is a choreographer, but I’m sure she’ll want me to, and I’m sure I’ll want to choreograph my own dances so that I’ll be doing what I’m good at rather than what somebody else thinks I’m good at. I’m hoping that I find out what the song is so I can start choreographing it.
Prior to the pantomime, you’re touring with Vincent Simone in The Ballroom Boys, can you tell us about the show?
I’ve been touring for nine weeks, but I started again with Vincent on 27th September for another four weeks. It’s a great experience because I’ve done my shows for quite a long time and it always has variety. One thing that it does do is feature everyone in the show, and it’s there to show off their talents. It’s an absolute dream to work with Vince because he’s so talented and funny, and performing on stage with him every night is brilliant because we are like Morecambe and Wise – he’s so small, and I’m so tall! He is naturally funny and he has all the innuendos, as I said, it’s like panto.
How different do you think you’ll find being in one place for a show rather than touring?
That is something that I’m going to have to get used to because I quite like the variety of places, you go to a different place every time, and you have a different venue and a different floor, so it makes it interesting. We are here for five weeks and sixty-seven shows, so it’s going to be a tough few weeks, but I’m going to bring my labradoodle, so he’ll be in my dressing room with me so I’ll have a bit of company.
CINDERELLA starts 29th November and runs until 5th January at Worthing Pavilion Theatre.
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