I’m hav­ing the time of my life

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

FOR­GET about put­ting baby in the cor­ner. Katie Ec­cles will be cen­tre stage when she brings Dirty Danc­ing to Llan­dudno next week.

Love will quite lit­er­ally be in the air as the 26-year-old and co-star Lewis Grif­fiths – who play Frances ‘Baby’ House­man and Johnny Cas­tle - recre­ate all the fa­mous scenes from the film on stage, in­clud­ing of course the cli­mac­tic lift.

And although Ec­cles may show no fear as she runs into Grif­fiths’ arms to per­form the move – which takes place in a freez­ing lake in the film – she re­vealed she some­times doubts whether it will go to plan.

“Lewis is so in­cred­i­ble, he’s su­per strong and I know he would never drop me but some­times I may look at him at the end of a long week with a crazy eye and won­der whether the lift is ac­tu­ally go­ing to hap­pen,” she said.

“I still get re­ally ex­cited when we have done it. “I have ab­so­lute trust in him, I know he’s got my back and we’re not go­ing to hit the floor.”

But if you’re all won­der­ing how it’s done, the ac­tress re­vealed her trick to mas­ter­ing the move.

“The se­cret to lift is to learn it on the floor first. Then the trick is to for­ward your hips onto their hands,” she said. “At first I didn’t en­joy do­ing it at all be­cause I kept think­ing I was go­ing to hit my face on the floor. It’s all about team work.”

Like the film, the stage show tells the story of Baby and Johnny, which be­gins in the sum­mer of 1963.

The 17-year-old is forced to go on hol­i­day with her par­ents to New York’s Catskill Moun­tains where she falls for the bad boy dance in­struc­tor.

Com­par­ing the role of Baby to her own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, Ec­cles added: “From ar­gu­ing with her sis­ter to dis­agree­ments with her dad and fall­ing in love with a guy she isn’t meant to fall in love with – th­ese are things that hap­pen to us all.

“She’s such a re­lat­able char­ac­ter. Ev­ery­one has fallen for some­one they’re not meant to, it’s part of grow­ing up, and you don’t al­ways see eye to eye with your par­ents. She’s a very nat­u­ral char­ac­ter to play, it’s very real life.

“I start the jour­ney so naive and re­served and I fin­ish the show know­ing what’s right and what’s wrong – it’s a huge jour­ney for a two hour show.

“I’m never go­ing to be Jennifer Grey, the film is so iconic be­cause of her and Pa­trick Swayze, they’re mes­meris­ing to­gether and that’s whats so amaz­ing about the film. I’m never go­ing to fill their shoes but I do hope I do it justice.”

Orig­i­nally an un­der­study for the show, she took over the char­ac­ter in May as her first ma­jor the­atre role.

She added: “This is my first big job re­ally which is amaz­ing – I couldn’t have asked for a more fun role to play. It was an amaz­ing moment when they asked me to be Baby, it was all a bit of a whirl­wind re­ally, to know they’d trust me in such a role is amaz­ing. It was the best feel­ing.

“The film came out be­fore I was ac­tu­ally born, but I’ve al­ways loved it. It’s such a feel­good film.”

Lewis Grif­fiths as Johnny and Katie Ec­cles as Baby and, in­set, re­hears­ing the fa­mous lift

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