The Greatest Dancer

Starts Saturday 5 January 2019 on BBC One

Cheryl (Dance Captain)

There are a lot of dancers out there who don’t get a platform like singers do...and a platform in the UK was needed, of this scaleCheryl
Date: 04.01.2019     Last updated: 04.01.2019 at 12.17
Cheryl has scored nine No.1 singles in her career to date and is an experienced dancer and performer.

Could you take us through the format of how the show works?
The great thing about The Greatest Dancer is that the audience hold the power. The auditionee will come into the room, and they will be facing what looks like a mirror. They will audition to the mirror but behind the mirror will be us three Dance Captains and the audience too. They will perform and if the audience likes them and 75 percent press ‘yes’ on their keypads, it lights up the room and the mirrors open to reveal the audience.

Why did you want to do this show and what does dance mean to you?
I’ve always wanted to be part of a dance show. I feel like a platform such as The Greatest Dancer is needed for dancers in the UK. I’ve danced since I was three years old and I’m classically trained in ballet. I wanted to be a ballerina until I was about 12, and I’ve always had a passion for dance in every style, shape and form.

As a Dance Captain, what is it you’re looking for?
I am looking for passion and performance. 

Who inspired you to get into dance and what was your very first dance memory?
I danced when I was three first of all, and I actually remember going to dance class because I always left feeling so inspired. The dance teacher at that time was inspiring. I wanted to be like Margot Fontaine when I was younger. As I got older it was Britney and Beyoncé who I looked up to - their routines were amazing.

When you were growing up, were there any dance movies that you watched over and over?
I always used to watch Grease and Dirty Dancing and anything that had a lot of dance in I would watch repeatedly.

Have there been any dance styles that have surprised you? Anything you didn’t think you would enjoy but have?
I think contemporary dance is quite an underrated and underappreciated dance style, and during the audition process I did see some contemporary dance styles that moved me more than I anticipated they would.

Were there times when the mirror did not open and did you get angry with the audience?
One of the most memorable acts was a locker and popper. It’s a shame because despite his amazing technique, I don’t think the performance resonated with the audience. It was frustrating because all the Dance Captains thought it was a really strong performance, but the audience didn’t press their buttons. The mirror didn’t open and that was one moment when I was like, come on guys press your buttons, seriously you don’t know what we’re losing out on here.

What’s been the dance highlight of your career so far?
I’ve always danced throughout my career - particularly during the Girls Aloud days. Some of my fondest memories are dancing on the tour with the band. I think one of the best memories for me has to be the Fight For This Love Brits performance. I had 20 girls dancing with me and it was quite a powerful performance - I really remember and enjoyed that moment.

What do The Greatest Dancer(s) look like to you?
For me it is somebody who has passion, performance, skill, and enjoys what they’re doing. There’s nothing worse than a dancer that puts every single thing in place but you don’t feel anything. I want to feel like I want to get up, be with them and enjoy it with them. I want to just feel them, more than see them.

Did the audience put any through and you thought, come on?!
There were a couple! There were a few times when the audience and Dance Captains disagreed on some of the dancers that were being put through. I think the audience were basing some of their decisions on the energy of the room, rather than the actual performance. I think they made a couple of mistakes, but dance can make people feel different ways, and we agreed with the audience most of the time!