Flavia and Vincent's Last Tango
As a young girl in southern Italy, Flavia Cacace’s mother lived above a ballet school. She would position herself on the staircase outside and watch the dancers through the window.
“She always wanted to be a ballet dancer but she wasn’t allowed,” Flavia says. “It wasn’t seen as an appropriate thing to do in her generation and her parents didn’t give her that opportunity.”
“Did you meet her parents?” I ask.
“I met my grandmother,” she informs me. “After moving to England I remember going back to Italy and seeing her on several occasions.”
It seems the memories she has of her, though, make the fact she wouldn’t allow her daughter to be a ballet dancer somewhat surprising.
“It’s bizarre because she was very elegant,” she says. “She used to roll her long hair up into a beautiful do every single day, even if she wasn’t going out, she always had gloves and a hat, she was very conscious of how she looked. I always see the image of her as balletic which is quite odd.
“And my grandad was apparently very artistic and creative. So I think deep down there was probably a strong passion for dance and everything but obviously it was a completely different generation – a different mind-set really.”
This is not to say that Flavia’s mum has never danced. “There used to be a lot of family parties and there was always music and dance,” the Strictly star says. “You’d naturally in the south of Italy learn how to dance socially, so she got that.” She would in fact meet Flavia’s father on the dance floor at one of these parties.
Flavia did not have the same restrictions her mum faced put on her. “As soon as she had children she introduced us to ballet, gymnastics and swimming,” I’m told. “She just wanted us to take on lots of different things that I suppose she didn’t have the chance to do.”
And so today she talks to me as a dance star of stage and television. Entering the world of TV would prove to be “a learning curve”. Television also easily provides dancers with the chance to watch their performances back. In her position I would not be able to resist this.
“It’s not something a lot of dancers do actually,” she says. “If I’m in the rehearsal studio I’m happy to film something and then watch it back to improve it. I tend not to watch final performances because there’s not a lot you can do about them; you might not like what you see and as a performer it’s just going to make your life harder.”
From 7th-9th July she and her long term dancing partner Vincent Simone bring The Last Tango to New Theatre Oxford, as part of a tour that started in September last year. It’s the story of George and Sally, from their first meeting to the final stages of their lives.
“You’ve got to do your dancing but at the same time there’s the storytelling and acting we do,” Flavia remarks of the show. “There’s hardly any dialogue, it’s all told through dance so the acting has to be bang on. It’s got to be clear.
“There are a lot of ups and downs that most people go through in life,” she states. “It’s quite hard sometimes because there are quite emotional numbers in there and various things happen; you have to cry and there are moments of joy; to relive that eight times a week is mentally difficult as much as it is physically.”
This will be the last tour Flavia and Vincent do. “We’ve been on the road for about six years so that’s really why,” the former says, before confirming the love the pair have for performing on stage. “We’re coming up to almost 1000 shows. It’s an awful lot of shows, travelling, and hotels. We want to put our suitcases away for a period and tackle some new projects.”
And so you can catch them both in Snow White – The World’s Biggest Pantomime in Birmingham and London this Christmas.
“That should be fun,” Flavia predicts. “We’re hoping it’s going to be more light-hearted and just a completely different vibe to the show we’ve been doing.
Another plan is in its earliest stages. “We’ve done TV, we’ve done theatre, we’ve done competitions,” she continues. “We’re working on possibly doing a film of some kind”.
Some stuff in the pipeline then – good job her mum let her dance, as in dance dance.
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