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In­ter­view by SASKIA TILLERS

t has been nearly two decades since Adam Gar­cia se­duced the world – or, at the very least, a gen­er­a­tion of young movie­go­ers – by hop­ping on a bar and strip­ping off his shirt for a cheeky dance in the 2000 film Coy­ote Ugly. The Aus­tralian ac­tor and dancer had al­ready be­come a main­stay on the stages of Lon­don’s West End by that point, but the sur­prise hit made Gar­cia a wanted man in Hol­ly­wood, where he tooled around and starred op­po­site the likes of Drew Bar­ry­more and Lindsay Lo­han be­fore swap­ping scripts for dance shoes, which re­mained his first love. More roles in the UK and on Broad­way soon fol­lowed, as did a mar­riage and two chil­dren. Now, he’s mak­ing a re­turn to Aus­tralian screens with a new role on the Seven Net­work’s re­al­ity com­pe­ti­tion Dance Boss. Ahead of the show’s premiere, the 45-year- old chat­ted to Stel­lar about fam­ily, fame, and why he’s ac­tu­ally quite con­tent with for­ever be­ing known as that shirt­less Aus­tralian shak­ing his hips in one of cin­ema’s most fa­mous wa­ter­ing holes.

You’ve been liv­ing in the UK for more than two decades. Does it feel strange to be back in Aus­tralia? I’ve been there for 24 years – so I’ve ac­tu­ally been there longer than in Aus­tralia, which is bonkers. I have a four-month-old [daugh­ter Lib­erty] and a three-year-old [daugh­ter Arya] back at home, so my wife is like, “When are you com­ing back? Come back!” So I guess I do make a dif­fer­ence when I’m there, af­ter all. It’s nice to know that I’m not dis­pens­able. You started danc­ing as a seven-yearold. In a pretty fe­male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, what was it like be­ing one of the only boys in a class of girls? I liked it – I al­ways got on well with girls. And you’re there to dance so you just get on with it. I’ve had my fill of girls pick­ing their leo­tards out of their bums, and it be­comes ut­terly nor­malised. You and your wife Nathalia met in the green room at the UK’S Sky One TV sta­tion – how did you win her over? She was a guest of the boss of the show and had come along with her fam­ily to watch. I was like, “Wow, that girl is beau­ti­ful!” And my boss said, “Yeah, but don’t try any­thing.” So of course I made a bee­line straight to her. We spoke a bit, then I went old-school and slipped her my num­ber on a piece of pa­per. Do you and Arya ever dance to­gether at home? She loves to dance, but makes me stop, say­ing, “No, Dada, no. I dance.” She needs the floor to her­self. Are you go­ing to be a hard­core stage dad? It’s prob­a­bly in­evitable. At the mo­ment she re­ally en­joys danc­ing, so if she ever goes into that arena, hope­fully I could of­fer her some guid­ance through that mine­field. Danc­ing is re­ally the long­est ap­pren­tice­ship for the short­est ca­reer – and the worst paid. You’ve pre­vi­ously worked with both Kylie and Dan­nii Minogue, and now you’ll be re­unit­ing with Dan­nii as a judge on Dance Boss, which she hosts. Who’d win a dance-off be­tween the three of you? Dan­nii might have it, to be hon­est. Kylie has the moves, and I don’t want to rock the soror­ity boat, but look, let’s say maybe it’s a draw… but they’ve def­i­nitely wiped the floor with me. And I’d be hum­ble, and also qui­etly an­gry. But I’ll go with mainly hum­ble, be­cause of the way it sounds for the in­ter­view. Coy­ote Ugly has be­come a full-blown cult film. Did you pre­dict its suc­cess? Not at all, but peo­ple loved Coy­ote Ugly. It’s sort of be­come its own cul­tural ref­er­ence. There are peo­ple watch­ing it now who weren’t born when it was re­leased. It’s been handed down like Grease or Dirty Danc­ing were. So if it en­ters that kind of realm, you can’t be un­happy. But I’ll for­ever be the guy danc­ing on the bar – which I’m also not un­happy about. Well, that scene is pretty iconic… I chore­ographed the bar dance – but the nip­ple rubs were def­i­nitely spon­ta­neous. I thought they’d be edited out – how wrong I was! Now that’s the high­light. Did the fan-girling ever get out of hand? They opened a Coy­ote Ugly bar in Manch­ester re­cently, and I was in­vited as a guest. There were mainly cer­e­mony of the 2000 Syd­ney Olympics? I re­mem­ber think­ing to my­self, “If there’s ever a time to show off, Adam, now is it.” As a child you’re al­ways told not to, but this was it – the time to show the f*ck off. It was a great mo­ment in Aus­tralian life, and to have that lit­tle mo­ment in­side it was so spe­cial. I’m very proud of that. You’ve per­formed in a heap of mu­si­cals – from Wicked to Sin­gin’ In The Rain. What’s next?

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