In his third year of training at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Jordan Crouch starred as the lead role of Bobby Child in Crazy for You, and after graduating in summer last year, he made his professional and West End debut at the Dominion Theatre in White Christmas in November. Finishing his run at the Dominion in January, Jordan joined the cast of The Wedding Singer later that month at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre as part of the ensemble and Mr T Impersonator. As a dancer, Jordan was seen as a competitor on this year’s series of The Greatest Dancer, and he recently held a Pop-Up Tap Class at BASE Studios. Speaking to us, Jordan tells us about making his West End debut in White Christmas, joining the cast of The Wedding Singer and auditioning for The Greatest Dancer.
Was there anything that encouraged you to audition for The Greatest Dancer and how did you find your experience on the show?
So, this opportunity kind of crept up on me as I didn’t actively go and apply to be on the show. In fact, I was scouted in March at MOVE IT 2019 Dance Exhibition by a talent scout after teaching my advanced tap class. Usually, applicants spend months auditioning in front of producers before the actual ‘Mirror Auditions’ so I guess I was just in the right place at the right time! It all happened so quick for me as the next thing I knew I was waiting behind TGD mirrors about to give the performance of a lifetime. I wasn’t nervous at first as it literally felt like I was dancing in an ordinary studio, but it wasn’t until the mirrors opened and I could see the celebrity judges sat in front of a crowd of thousands and numerous cameras that I knew how many people were watching and therefore, how high the stakes were. The feeling of the whole experience was unbelievable. I had actually filmed it in August of 2019 and it didn’t air until January 2020, so it was an exciting thing to look forward to, although keeping it quiet proved very difficult! The response from when it aired has been astounding and I feel so lucky to have been part of this year’s series.
You were in the cast of The Wedding Singer at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, how did you find your time in the ensemble and as Mr T Impersonator?
Being a part of The Wedding Singer was awesome. I was straight into rehearsals after just one day off after finishing White Christmas, so things were pretty busy around this time! It was so refreshing to learn commercial jazz choreography as well as contemporary pop/rock vocals after being in such a timeless Irving Berlin show. As a dancer, I constantly felt challenged in rehearsals as there were elements of hip hop and waving in my track, but with the help of the brilliant dance captains, I thought I did a great job considering ‘waving’ is not my forte! Playing Mr T Impersonator was real fun. Everyone knows his iconic character and it was quite a comic moment when I came out with the Mohawk and the muscle suit so I looked forward to embodying him every night. Being in the ensemble, there were lots of opportunities to invent and play. In my track, I had about eight different characters and I saw this as a chance to explore my creativity and because of this, I stayed excited and no performance was ever the same.
How was it being directed and choreographed by Nick Winston?
So, the first time I met Nick Winston was at our Press Night as he was super busy opening another of his shows during our rehearsal period, so we had Ryan-Lee Seager as Assistant Director/Choreographer who did a wicked job! The rehearsal period was only two and a half weeks so it was very intense, but the cast and creative were extremely hard working so we managed to get the whole show done quite quickly with time to spare on cleaning music and choreography!
How much did you know about the musical before auditioning and how did you prepare for your audition?
Well, I had seen The Wedding Singer film growing up as it’s such a classic so I knew the plot quite well and most of the songs from the film were, in fact, in the musical, so I was quite familiar with the show overall. In terms of the audition, there was a dance round and then a singing/acting round. The dance round was a male call and we learnt a section from All About The Green, which had to be my favourite number in the show (along with the full out Saturday Night), so I couldn’t really prepare before getting into the room. Then the singing/acting call was with my own pop/rock song and a snippet of text from the show. To prepare for this, I revisited the film to get a sense of the 80s style in order to obtain a characterisation which was true to the era.
Last year, you made your West End debut in White Christmas, how was it finding out you’d booked the role and performing at the Dominion Theatre?
I was very happy when I found out! I was just four weeks out of drama school so hearing this kind of exciting news so early on made me feel very grateful. It didn’t sink in for a few weeks, but when it did, I was elated at the fact that I would be performing on the Dominion stage. Furthermore, the creative team was just sublime, including Stephen Mear CBE and Nikolai Foster – two incredible creatives that I would only dream of working with. The hardest part after finding out I’d booked the job was keeping it quiet as it was still three long months until I eventually started rehearsals! To this date, I still cannot believe that my professional and West End debut was spent performing at the Dominion every night and this contract will always hold a special place in my heart.
What was it like being part of the cast and learning the role of Mike?
The cast was truly exceptional. I was lucky enough to be in a cast of professionals who were the most incredible performers and who each had extensive credits and industry experience. I was constantly inspired and it felt like a family as everyone looked out for one another. Learning the role of Mike was very fun as he had such a stern exterior but the sweetest soul, so I found it interesting to play around with that, although I was learning it on top of all my other tracks! As an Onstage Swing, I had nine ensemble tracks to learn alongside my own track and my Mike cover, so I kept very busy throughout the process. I absolutely loved being a swing as I never knew what my show each night was going to entail, keeping it fresh and keeping me very much on my toes!
What was the experience like performing on The One Show and at the O2 for the Michael Ball and Alfie Boe concert?
Doing The One Show was pretty nerve-racking as it was my first time doing live TV. I performed in an all-male tap group associated with Tap Attack and the England Tap Team straight after we had just won gold in Germany for our small group at the World Tap Championships. What made me more anxious is that we were each dancing on a set of stairs which were over a metre high so just one error in my footwork would have caused me to trip over! I do really enjoy doing live TV as it’s just like live theatre – it’s exciting to perform and it’s honest.
Performing with musical theatre legends Michael Ball and Alfie Boe was just sublime, especially in front of a crowd of 20,000… Yes. It was a feeling that I’ll never ever forget! I’ve never felt so much adrenaline when performing on stage as I did then and doing it with a handful of my classmates from Mountview was the cherry on top.
In 2018, you performed at both Magic at the Musicals and The Great British Pantomime Awards, what were these like to do?
Magic at the Musicals was such a fabulous experience as I got to perform with my whole year group at the stunning Royal Albert Hall in front of thousands as well as being live on radio. Performing with the likes of Louise Dearman and John Owen-Jones was an honour and being able to sing medleys from so many different shows was such a treat. I did The Great British Pantomime Awards twice during my time at Mountview and it was honestly so fun to do. We got to dress up in majorly OTT costumes and just be fools on stage for ten minutes. We basically opened the awards ceremony with a massive song and dance. There were always lots of camp characters to tell a really cheesy, but relatable story. Last year I got the opportunity to be Aladdin so it was really cool to play a tap dancing prince in such a boisterous number, while honouring such a great part of our industry. I think that Pantomime is helping to make theatre more accessible for all and it is a real tool for inspiring the next generation of young actors!
Having performed as a soloist for the Worshipful Mayor of Southwark’s Charity Ball and at the Hippodrome Casino for The Songs of Daniel and Laura Curtis, what do you enjoy most about performing in concerts?
I love the intimacy of performing in a concert. The immediate support you get from the audience really spurs you on and seeing other artists do their thing in the few minutes we each have is very inspiring. A concert is an excuse to dress up really classy and just enjoy the night’s entertainment! I’ve been lucky enough to perform at some incredible venues such as the Globe Theatre and the Hippodrome, alongside some incredible West End talent.
What drew you to a theatre career?
I was always a dramatic kid so naturally my mum enrolled me into drama classes from a very young age. It wasn’t until I was seven that I started ballet classes after my doctor said that it would strengthen my feet and ankles. I was born with severe Bilateral Talipes, more commonly known as Club Foot, where both of my feet were rotated inwards at a ninety degree angle. I had five surgeries on them up until the age of twelve, so I spent a lot of my young childhood in and out of hospital and on crutches. The more ballet classes I went to, the more I fell in love with it. As a young child I was quite shy, so I guess I loved the ability to express myself through movement!
I was put into full-time theatrical training from the age of eleven at a local theatre school and when I was fourteen, I studied dance at the BRIT School. This is where I found my love for musical theatre as I started singing lessons and chose drama GCSE as my option alongside my dance qualification. I was part of the England Tap Team for five years and at the age of sixteen, I won a world title for my tap solo at the Dance World Cup, which has to be one of my proudest achievements to date. In the same year I went to Arts Educational Schools London as a scholarship recipient to study musical theatre and this is when I knew I would try my luck at a career in the arts. At nineteen, I was lucky enough to be accepted into my dream drama school Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts to further my studies in musical theatre. These were some of the best years of my life and their world class training, I feel, fully equipped me for a career in this tough industry. Although I am new to it, I have already fallen in love with this industry and the amazing people in it and I am excited to see what the rest of my career has in store for me!
When did you start learning different styles of dance and where does your love of dance come from?
My love of dance definitely stems from my mum’s love for it. She danced up until the age of eighteen before going to university so she was always very supportive about my decision to do it professionally. My younger sister also dances, so we grew up in a household that very much shared a love for it. Growing up, I was very exposed to theatre. I would constantly go and see West End musical theatre and dance shows with my family. In fact, the first West End show I saw was Billy Elliot and as a boy who danced, I had always felt a bit different, so having something and someone to finally relate to made me very happy and inspired me to keep on going. I started Jazz at the age of eight and then Tap at ten. Although I started Tap quite late, I instantly fell in love with it and had a natural ability for it. Savion Glover has to be my favourite contemporary Tap dancer. I fell in love with him when I saw him at Sadler’s Wells back in 2014. His style and passion for the art form is so strong and his feet move with such precision. I am always looking at other artists’ work in order to enhance my own creativity as I think that sharing makes our industry stronger and more united.
Can you tell us about training at Mountview Academy and which show did you find most challenging whilst there?
It was the hardest three years of my life, but extremely enjoyable. The training was well rounded, although it had a preference for acting which is what I was expecting from a place like Mountview. There were only thirty-seven of us on the course so we were able to get a lot of individual attention which I think is crucial in training. There is a reason that Mountview is one of the best drama schools in the country and I feel so honoured to be an alumnus of the school.
In my third year, I was lucky enough to play the lead of Bobby Child in the classic MGM musical Crazy For You. I constantly felt challenged in the process as the character had to do everything under the sun! – including playing the double Bass where my ability was very questionable!… The role is probably one of the most physically demanding male roles out there so I felt that I was able to put all my training into practice. Working with Paul Foster, Sarah Travis and Emma Woods was a treat as they are masters of their craft and the kindest people. I would absolutely love to play this role again as it felt very natural to perform and it is such a fabulous triple threat showcase.
Do you have a favourite aspect of your career?
My favourite thing has to be the rehearsal process as it is a chance to get creative and offer a wide range of choices which are always fun to explore. I see it as a creative collaboration between the cast and the director and when the relationship is right, the things that happen and the emotions that you feel as part of the company can be magical. The rehearsal process is also a chance to see how other artists work so that you can assess your own way of working and find the best way. Everyone experiences a different training so it’s refreshing to see that no two approaches are the same.
Another favourite has to be meeting different people on different jobs. Every contract is like the first day of school and I have met some real special people so far! I have been lucky enough to have had two companies of kind, hardworking people and this really makes for a strong work ethic within the cast.
You recently held a Pop-Up Tap Class at BASE Studios, how did this go and do you plan to do more in the future?
I am pleased to say that my first Pop-Up Tap Class was a success. It was great to meet everyone and the talent in the room was magnificent. I will definitely be scheduling some more for the future as I had the best time and the response was excellent. I really enjoy teaching class as it gives me the opportunity to see what people bring to my choreography and as a keen, aspiring choreographer, it is a chance to experiment with different steps and styles on dancers of all ages and abilities.
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