Professional dancer Abbie Quinnen toured the UK last year as a featured dancer on AJ Pritchard’s Get On The Floor!, and will be joining the cast of his new upcoming tour AJ Live 2020 starting in March. After training at Italia Conti and The Urdang Academy, Abbie played the role of White Cat in Cats the Musical for Royal Caribbean and earlier this month, she finished her run in the Dunstable Grove Theatre pantomime Peter Pan. Recently speaking with us, Abbie talks about her time in Peter Pan, playing White Cat and the upcoming AJ Live 2020 Tour.
You were a dancer on the Get On The Floor! Tour last year, how did this go?
It was an amazing experience! The cast were lovely and we got to learn so many different styles of dance from Bollywood to Charleston and Jive to Contemporary! It was a really fun show to be a part of!
Did you have a favourite routine to perform?
Yes, my favourite routine was a Charleston routine which I did with AJ! Which was super fun and full of lifts! I would always get so nervous before doing it as it would completely tire me out and I was worried about getting it wrong in front of a professional dancer from Strictly.
You’ve been announced for the upcoming AJ Live 2020 Tour, what are you looking forward to for starting the run?
I am so excited to start AJ Live 2020, because not only do I get to share the stage with AJ again but I have a lot of my friends from college and friends from previous jobs doing the tour with me, which I cannot wait for! And, of course, Curtis is in it and he is always so much fun and always makes me laugh!
Are you able to say what people can expect from the shows?
This year is a lot bigger than last year so there is going to be bigger venues, flames, more lights, video screens, amazing choreographers, a lot more dancers and incredible singers. We have Lydia Lucy from The Voice and she is just incredible!
How are you preparing for tour?
I am trying to eat healthily, gym as much as possible and take different classes at Base and Pineapple because I know that it’s going be a really high stamina show.
How did you find your time in Peter Pan at Grove Theatre in Dunstable and what do you enjoy most about appearing in pantomimes?
I loved my time in Peter Pan! The cast were all so talented and lovely! And the dancing was really full out so I really felt like I was working hard over the panto period which was nice! I love panto because it’s always so laid-back and all about having fun. I also love to see all the children absolutely loving the show in the audience.
Can you tell us about being a dancer at Galileo the Concert and The Dynamos World Tour last year?
This was a really fun experience I got to work with some great choreographers including Aaron Renfree which I was really excited about as he’s such a great choreographer and performer.
What was the experience like filming a music video with Natasha Mould?
I loved this video! I felt really out of my comfort zone doing this as we were all dressed up as mannequins so we all had bald caps on! It was really strange to look at myself being bald. But Natasha Mould has always been an inspiration to me as she is a sensational dancer/performer and choreographer and has had an amazing career.
Can you tell us what it was like playing White Cat (Victoria) in Cats for Royal Caribbean?
This was probably my favourite character I have ever played. I loved every second of being the White Cat! The show will always hold such a special place in my heart – I adored all of the choreography in this show!
How long have you been involved with dance and musical theatre and what inspired your career?
I started dancing/singing and acting at the age of three so it has always been a massive part of my life. I was lucky enough to be awarded with a scholarship at both Italia Conti and Urdang which I was very grateful for. Never stop training! I think the main moment I knew I wanted to do this forever was when I was about eleven and I went to watch Cats the Musical with my mum. I was in love with the White Cat! I told her that I was going to be in Cats one day and my mum said “I know you will be!”, so to come out of college with my dream role was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Can you tell us about your training and what advice would you give young performers wanting a career like yours?
I loved my training. I started really young and went to Italia Conti from eleven to sixteen and then The Urdang Academy from sixteen to nineteen! My training was very strict! I think that the key to success in this industry is having a strict teacher always pushing for more.
What style of dance did you first learn and which style did you find easiest to learn?
I started with ballet – I found this really tricky! And I then went on to learn modern which I found a lot easier.
What’s the most rewarding thing about performing to an audience?
The people’s faces in the audience knowing that they have come in and forgotten about everything going on in their lives for the last two and a half hours and having the biggest smiles on their faces.
We understand you attended Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes recently, what was this like and why would you recommend it?
It was a fabulous show! What a creative man he is! I’ve always loved all of his shows since I was a little girl. I would definitely recommend going to see Red Shoes, or in fact, any of his shows.
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