Cheryl on her new reality show The Greatest Dancer: 'I am looking for passion and performance'

Cape Town - Following the finale of Strictly Come Dancing, BBC Brit (DStv 120) has another great dance show, The Greatest Dancer.

The talent show debuts on Sunday 5 January at 19:00.

Former Strictly Come Dancing champion and judge Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo host the brand-new series, which will contain dramatic auditions, outstanding talent and jaw-dropping surprises as dancers give the performance of their lives every Sunday night.

Dancers of any age and dance style will compete to win £50 000 and a chance to perform on Strictly Come Dancing.

Leading the charge to discover the greatest dancer are three superstar Dance Captains: multi-platinum-selling singer Cheryl; Broadway and Glee star Matthew Morrison; and Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse.

In this Q&A Cheryl tells us more about the show, her love for dance, and what she is looking for in the greatest dancer.

Could you take us through the format of how the show works?

The great thing about The Greatest Dancer is that the audience holds the power. The auditionee will come into the room, and they will be facing what looks like a mirror. They will audition to the mirror but behind the mirror will be us three Dance Captains and the audience too. They will perform, and if the audience likes them and 75 per cent press 'yes' on their keypads, it lights up the room and the mirrors open to reveal the audience.

Why did you want to do this show and what does dance mean to you?

I’ve always wanted to be part of a dance show. I feel like a platform such as The Greatest Dancer is needed for dancers in the UK. I’ve danced since I was three years old and I’m classically trained in ballet. I wanted to be a ballerina until I was about 12, and I’ve always had a passion for dance in every style, shape and form.

Cheryl on The Greatest Dancer.

As a dance captain, what is it you’re looking for?

As a dance captain, I am looking for passion and performance.

Who inspired you to get into dance, and what was your very first dance memory?

I danced when I was three, and I actually remember going to dance class because I always left feeling so inspired. The dance teacher at that time was inspiring. I wanted to be like Margot Fontaine when I was younger. As I got older, it was Britney and Beyoncé who I looked up to – their routines were amazing.

When you were growing up, were there any dance movies that you watched over and over?

I always used to watch Grease and Dirty Dancing. Anything that had a lot of dance in I would watch repeatedly.

Have there been any dance styles that have surprised you? Anything you didn’t think you would enjoy but have?

I think contemporary dance is quite an underrated and underappreciated dance style, and during the audition process, I did see some contemporary dance styles that moved me more than I anticipated they would.

Cheryl and her fellow Dance Captains on The Greate

Were there times when the mirror did not open and did you get angry with the audience?

One of the most memorable acts was a locker and popper. It’s a shame because, despite his amazing technique, I don’t think the performance resonated with the audience. It was frustrating because all the Dance Captains thought it was a really strong performance, but the audience didn’t press their buttons. The mirror didn’t open, and that was one moment when I was like, come on guys press your buttons, seriously you don’t know what we’re losing out on here.

What’s been the dance highlight of your career so far?

I’ve always danced throughout my career – particularly during the Girls Aloud days. Some of my fondest memories are dancing on the Tour with the band. I think one of the best memories for me has to be the Fight For this Love BRITS performance. I had 20 girls dancing with me, and it was quite a powerful performance, and I really remember and enjoy that moment.

What do The Greatest Dancer(s) look like to you?

The Greatest Dancer for me is somebody that has passion, performance, skill and enjoys what they’re doing. There’s nothing worse than a dancer that puts every single thing in place, but you don’t feel anything. I want to feel from the greatest dancer that I want to get up, be with them and enjoy it with them. I want to just feel them more than see them.

Did the audience put any through and you thought 'come on'?

There were a couple of times when the audience and Dance Captains disagreed on some of the dancers that were being put through. I think the audience were basing some of their decisions on the energy of the room, rather than the actual performance. I think they made a couple of mistakes, but dance can make people feel different ways, but we agreed with the audience most of the time!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE SHOW HERE:

Tune in to The Greatest Dancer from Sunday, 5 January at 19:00 on BBC Brit (DStv 120).

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht

(Photo: Getty Images)