Interview: Matt Flint Q&A

Tuesday 19 February 2013 by Carmel Smith

Matt Flint

Tap dancer turned choreographer Matt Flint won the second series of BBC1’s Saturday night So You Think You Can Dance competition in 2011. This year for the first time he’s hosting the main stage at Move It – the UK’s biggest dance show which will be taking over London’s Olympia from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th March…

What do you like best about Move It?
I’ve been coming to it for years – it’s everything you need to know about dance under one roof! Three full days of watching people you look up to, learning from them, chatting with them – and young dancers having easy access to any college/career advice they need.

Was winning BBC1’s So You Think You Can Dance? a life changing moment for you?
Yes, winning the show completely changed my life. I went from working in musical theatre to having much more variety in the work that I do. My choreography work has taken off (which was the main reason I went on SYTYCD), I have been lucky enough to choreograph for Strictly, Let’s Dance For Comic Relief, new dance film All Stars 3D (out later this year) & some new stage shows.

Tell us about your new company..
I set up my company Happy Feet after SYTYCD because I also have a massive passion for teaching & working with young dancers. Happy Feet supplies workshops in all genres of dance. It also provides entertainment for corporate events, private parties & weddings.

And what’s this about a UK dance competition you’re setting up?
I am very excited about Can You Dance? It is an event where you can compete against dancers from all genres, take master classes with pros from all over the industry & have access to the dance exhibition. Myself & SYTYCD Finalist Tom Shilcock set it up last year. This year we have three events, Nottingham, Norwich & York, so it’s growing fast.

Is tap still your favourite dance style?
Tap will always be my favourite style – it is just so enjoyable to do. I think it has so much scope to grow & be brought into the modern day. My aim when I travel & teach is to help people see it in a different light & hope they get inspired by it..

Who have been your biggest influences/role models?
When I was younger, Fred [Astaire] & Gene [Kelly] were early influences. It’s really important to keep trying to discover new things, keep watching others, or else you get left behind whilst everyone else dances off! Influences have come from all over the place. I believe that the more role models you have the more chance you have of being a versatile dancer.

What kind of dance training did you have?
I started dancing at the age of 13 with a boys street class & before long I was doing five nights a week, trying to fit all the styles in.. I had a good teacher before I went off to London, setting me up well for what was ahead.

You and Charlie Bruce both went to Laine Theatre Arts. Is that just a coincidence, or is there something special about the training you got there do you think?
Laine’s is a very special place. It has turned out some of the best performers in the industry. If you go to see a West End show it is likely to have loads of LTA alumni. If you are a dancer it is probably the best place to be!

What would your advice be to young people wanting to build a career in dance?
If you are considering pursuing dance as a career you need to make sure you are doing because you love it! It is a difficult career, you need to be persistent, hard working & never stop trying to improve yourself as a dancer.

What’s the best dance show/film you’ve seen recently?
My favourite show of the last five years has to be In The Heights which I saw on Broadway. I loved it & thought it made a massive step in bringing musical theatre into the new era.

Move It, 8 – 10 March 2013

Charlie Bruce Q&A

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