Author Topic: ARLENE PHILLIPS  (Read 1230 times)


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 Early years
Phillips was born in 1944 and grew up in the city of Manchester, England. She has a brother called Ian and a sister called Karen. Phillips lost her mother when she was 15 years old, at the age of 43 after suffering from Leukaemia, She had initially wanted to be a ballet dancer and so began dance classes at the age of 3, studying ballet and tap dance at the Muriel Tweedy School of Dance in Manchester. She is a Roman Catholic.

[edit] Professional career
Phillips is internationally renowned as a choreographer and director of West End and Broadway musicals, but has many other professional credits.

In her mid-teens, Phillips moved to London where she has lived ever since. Strongly influenced by American Modern Jazz dance which was just becoming popular in London at that time, she began developing her own style of Jazz dance and began teaching her style of dance extensively in a number of prominent London dance studios, including Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden. She quickly established herself as a successful teacher and choreographer.

Internationally, Phillips is most noted as a jazz and musical theatre choreographer, having worked on some of the biggest selling musicals in West End and Broadway theatre and a number of successful films. Most notably, Phillips is a multiple Olivier Award winner and Tony Award award nominee.

[edit] Hot Gossip
In Britain, Phillips first became a household name as the director and choreographer of Hot Gossip, a British dance troup which she formed in 1974 using students she was teaching at the time. Hot Gossip spent two years performing in a London night club where Phillips and her manager developed the groups dance act.

The troupe were eventually spotted by the British television director, David Mallet who invited Phillips to make Hot Gossip a regular feature of the Kenny Everett Show, which he directed for Thames Television on ITV. It is the Kenny Everett Show which made Hot Gossip a famous name, first being aired in 1978. It was during this time that Hot Gossip made their only hit record I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper, a disco song which reached number 6 in the British music chart. The song was sung by Hot Gossip dancer Sarah Brightman, who went on to achieve international fame as a Soprano vocalist, also performing a number of acclaimed roles in musicals by the renowned writer and Producer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Brightman's first meeting with Webber was orchestrated by Phillips who was working with him at the time. Brightman later married Webber in 1984.

Hot Gossip were particularly noted for the sexual and risque nature of their costumes and the dance routines, all designed and choreographed by Phillips, and they and are often credited as the UK's first commercial dance troupe, continuing a trend which started with the Go-Jo's and Pan's People. Hot Gossip continued to be successful into the early 1980s with their own television show on the newly formed public service broadcaster, Channel 4 called The Very Hot Gossip Show. Despite enjoying immediate success, the show was scrapped after the first season due to a strong decline in viewing figures.

[edit] Strictly Come Dancing
Logo of the BBC television series Strictly Come DancingIn recent years, Phillips has once again become a household name in the UK, as a prominent member of the judging panel for the successful BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing, an original entertainment programme which has been running in the UK since 2004 and which has subsequently been exported to other broadcasters worldwide.

In the show, celebrities are given intensive training in ballroom and latin dance routines, being partnered by an experienced professional dancer. They perform new routines each week for a live television audience and each week a celebrity is eliminated until the series winner is decided. The panel of judges (Phillips, Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli) score the dance performances and their scores are then combined with the results of a public televote to decide which two couples gave the weakest performance each week. These two couples then dance again before the judges decide who should leave the competition.

Judging since the first series of the programme, Phillips is particularly noted for making highly critical and 'acid-tongued' comments to a number of the celebrities taking part. A number of her comments have caused public outrage and she is often criticised by disgruntled competitors, newspaper columnists and members of the public.

In 2005 and 2006, Phillips was a judge for the Strictly Come Dancing spin off series Strictly Dance Fever, which was also created by the BBC. The show searched for dancers to join the chorus of a West End musical. Later in 2007, she judged another BBC dance series, DanceX, a show created to find a new commercial dance act. After the initial audition process, the competitors were split into two troupes of dancers, with Phillips creating choreography for one troupe and the other being choreographed by her fellow Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli. The two troupes competed live on television each week, with Tonioli's troupe being the eventual winners. There have been no indications that the BBC are planning to televise any further series of these other programmes at this point in time.

On Strictly Come Dancing, Phillips has given the top score of 10 to:

Natasha Kaplinsky & Brendan Cole (Samba)
Jill Halfpenny & Darren Bennett (Paso Doble, Jive)
Denise Lewis & Ian Waite (Quickstep)
Zoe Ball & Ian Waite (Tango, Rumba)
Colin Jackson & Erin Boag (American Smooth, Quickstep)
James Martin & Camilla Dallerup (Foxtrot, American Smooth)
Darren Gough & Lilia Kopylova (Quickstep)
Mark Ramprakash & Karen Hardy (Argentine Tango, Salsa)
Alesha Dixon & Matthew Cutler (Waltz, Cha Cha, Tango)
Matt Di Angelo & Flavia Cacace (Salsa, Waltz, Rumba)
Gethin Jones & Camilla Dallerup (Waltz)

[edit] Other
Her two KISS: Keep in Shape System exercise LPs entered the UK albums chart in the early 1980s
Phillips is a recipient of the Carl Alan Award for services to dance
In 2006, Phillips was made an honorary mamber of the International Dance Teachers Association
In 2001, Phillips was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

[edit] Musical Credits
Flashdance Opens July 2008 in Plymouth, prior to a national UK Tour.[1]
The Sound Of Music (2006)
All that's necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing