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Dirty Dancing stars on their rise to fame

Some of the things we had to do in rehearsals obviously could have been awkward if it is someone you dont know but it was never ever awkward. It was really nice

Iconic eighties flick Dirty Dancing is coming to Dublin this month and its stars are set to be a hit with fans of the hit movie.

The record breaking musical has been seen by over five million people at theatres around the world and the production’s leading duo are certain to get audiences’ pulses racing.

Paul-Michael Jones will be donning the famous leather jacket to play Johnny Castle — and Emily Holt will be carrying the watermelon as Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman.

The pair first met during auditions for the show when they were paired together, helping them to instantly overcome the challenge of playing the racy scenes. Paul-Michael explained: “Me and Emily get on great which is a big relief. We are so close in the piece.

“We have to do a lot of kissing scenes, a lot of scenes where we are taking clothes off and dancing so close together. We were partnered up together in the auditions and then we ended up turning up on the first day of rehearsals and it was really nice to see Emily across the room.

“We had that nice connection and we got the job through auditioning together. Some of the things we had to do in rehearsals obviously could have been awkward if it is someone you don’t know but it was never ever awkward. It was really nice,” he said.

The roles were made famous by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze and it is a dream role for Emily who is a professional actress and dancer. But Emily admitted that starring as Frances is a lot less romantic than it looks. She reveals that the stage stars end up dripping with sweat from the high-intensity routines.

She admitted: “It’s one of those weird lines you have to cross as an actor. It’s so less glamorous than it seems to the audience.
“The point where we have our first intimate scene at the end of act one when Baby first comes to Johnny’s room, that famous scene, I have been running around for an hour, we are both dripping with sweat trying to make sure we stand on the right bit of the stage so when it moves we are not taken off in the wrong direction.

“It’s really not that glamorous or romantic but it’s our job to make it look that way,” she laughed. Paul-Michael has starred in numerous high-profile stage productions including Mamma Mia, Never Forget, We Will Rock You and Fame.

Taking on the leading male role in Dirty Dancing is a moment of huge personal pride for Paul-Michael, who idolised the late Patrick Swayze when he was an 
up-and-coming dance prodigy. He said: “Patrick Swayze was an idol of mine growing up being a dancer because he gave it such a masculine feel. For a young lad starting out in dancing being able to have a role model who gave it a manly image was brilliant,” he said.

“I looked up to him as a dancer. Johnny Castle is a great role to play as well because it’s quite a gritty role, quite moody. It’s got quite a few different parts to his character,” he revealed. Despite being thrust into the shoes of his hero, Paul-Michael says he is determined to play the role in his own way. “I don’t try and play Patrick Swayze, I try and play the character Johnny Castle,” he said.

“I don’t want sway too far away from how it originally was because people love and remember it.The show is the film on stage. People coming to see Dirty Dancing won’t be disappointed. They are going to see the film on stage,” the dancer enthused.

Dirty Dancing will be playing at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin from January 17 until February 25.


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andrea.mccullagh@thestar.ie
Staff Reporter
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