Can You Dance?, the UK’s first touring dance convention, arrives at Medway Park on 26 April 2015. WOW Features writer Jaye Nolan spoke to the convention’s creator, Matt Flint.
As a TV viewer obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing, I quickly became hooked on the BBC’s showcase for would-be professional dancers, So You Think You Can Dance.
The performances were incredibly strong – hip hop dancers taking on ballroom; tap dancers excelling at contemporary; and, in series 1, a beautiful miniature version of his all-male Swan Lake, coaxed out of the final four men by the Godfather of Dance, Matthew Bourne, whose work I’ve continued to see where possible.
Sadly, it only ran for two seasons, so I’m delighted that SYTYCD alumni are coming to Medway, albeit for only one day, bringing the ‘Can You Dance?’ Convention to Kent for the first time.
Created by Series 2 winner, Matt Flint, and fellow professional, Tom Shilcock, also a Series 2 of SYTYCD participant, ‘Can You Dance?’ is a one-day spectacular dedicated to dance and performing arts. Having trained together at Laine Theatre Arts, the 2011 series was the catalyst for careers that have seen Tom working with some the world’s top pop artists, such as Elton John, Rihanna and Take That, while Matt is in demand as a creative director, choreographer and dancer for film, TV and theatre.
Supported by leading dancewear brand, Capezio, ‘CYD?’ participants will be able to take masterclasses, showcase schools and groups, check out colleges and courses available, shop for dance wear and meet like minded dancers and industry experts all in one place. It’s an exciting combination no dance fan will want to miss, as it brings the best of the UK dance industry to our doorstep.
The CYD? project is pretty ambitious but as with most creative projects, there’s passion driving it. Matt says: “I only danced for a short time before I knew I wanted to do it as a career. It has never felt like work, it is my passion so I feel very lucky!
“Both Tom and I love to teach and we wanted to take the best of what our industry has to offer to the counties. It started three years ago in a very small hall, now we have five [events] with around 4,500 attending. We always wanted to bring it to Kent, and Medway Park was the best venue we found. We’re looking forward to seeing what Medway has to offer”.
Away from ‘Can You Dance?’ Matt is looking forward to the next steps in his career: “I’m about to go overseas to be Creative Director on the ‘X Factor’; when I get back I start work on ‘Sweet Charity’ with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ & productions of ‘Hairspray’ & ‘Big Fish’. I really like working with all genres of music, although my favourite would have to be Big Band.”
Tap dancer Matt was the standout contestant on his series of SYTYCD so it’s not surprising to find him in such demand. Not only did he nail every genre thrown at him – including an incredible contemporary piece (watch for The Leap!) with fellow contestant Katie Love – his Broadway routine with Charlotte Scally remains one of my all time favourites. Check out a snapshot of Matt’s choreography work on his new website.
The convention takes place at Medway Park in Gillingham on Sunday, April 26 between 10am – 6pm and there are three ticketing options, depending on whether you want to physically take part or just spectate. Click through to the Can You Dance? website or our Can You Dance Listing for more information.