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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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So You Think You Can Dance: Drew McOnie

Drew McOnie

MGM-inspired dance choreographer and a self-confessed dreamer.

Born in 1985, Drew started dancing when he was six, taking classes in disco and freestyle at his local dance school. He appeared in shows, including the original West End and video casts playing the little boy in The Snowman.

When he was 11 he auditioned for Tring Park School, and was awarded a scholarship. While he was in training, he was offered a choreography scholarship from The National Youth Ballet Company to create his first piece called Monochrome Suite.

He later went on to choreograph The Old Man Of Lochnager for the same company. This piece was composed by Nigel Hess, and taken from the book written by HRH The Prince of Wales, and Drew was mentored by Matthew Bourne.

He left school before completing his A-Levels after being offered the opportunity to understudy the role of Mr Mistoffelees in Cats in Germany – his dream job.

Later that year he auditioned for Matthew Bourne, and was cast in the international tour of Edward Scissorhands and went on to perform in Carmen, The Nutcracker and the original cast of Dorian Grey.

This year Drew has worked as choreographer on productions including The Full Monty (Frankfurt), Kes directed by Nikolai Foster (Liverpool Playhouse) and Aladdin (King's Theatre, Glasgow).

Favourite song to dance to?

"When I'm out it's Lady GaGa, but my favourite music to dance to is big band, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland – MGM classics."

Greatest dancing fear?

"Falling over, and dropping my partner."

Best physical feature?

"Other people usually comment on my eyes."

Worst habit in dance?

"Too self-critical."

On stage most embarrassing moment?

"I once had to pass a dancer a scarf to put on her head, but gave her a pair of bloomers completely by mistake! She didn't realise and was running around stage without realising why we were all in hysterics!"

How did you get into dance?

"I was inspired by Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. I used to watch all the movies back to back when I was younger and try to recreate routines in the living room – I would push the sofa against the door and create my own private little world."

Where did you train?

"I trained at the Arts Educational School in Tring."

What is your favourite type of dance?

"I love all the big band numbers – theatre storytelling dance."

What is it like working on a TV show?

"Terrifying and exciting in equal measure. The whole process is amazing – dancers never get this kind of treatment and attention."

Have you bonded with the other contestants?

"Yes, everyone is so great. I was friends with Alistair and Charlie beforehand so it's nice to be sharing this experience with them. Alistair is four years above me and used to be the big guy at college everyone looked up to. I used to copy everything he did and now we're doing this together – it's just fantastic."

Are the judges as scary as they seem?

"No, I don't think so at all. I think criticism is a good thing and that you should take every comment given to you, and go away and work on it. We fight for the comments as every little thing said can make a difference."

What are your future plans?

"I want to own my own dance company – produce my own dance theatre pieces for my own company."

Why did you enter the competition?

"To inspire more people to dance."

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