Patrons 2017

Over the years since Dance Proms began the project has been supported by a wide range of industry professionals. Since 2011, previous Dance Proms Patrons have included: Anton Du Beke, Len Goodman, Chris Hollins, Angela Rippon and Wayne Sleep, alongside many other respected names from the dance and entertainment industry.

“Dance Proms motivates you to achieve the best

Darcey Bussell CBE, Dance Proms Patron 2013 to 2017


We are delighted that our Patrons who are supporting Dance Proms 2017 are:

Darcey Bussell CBE
Arlene Phillips CBE
Akram Khan
Shobana Jeyasingh
Karen & Kevin Clifton
Matt Flint
Lukas McFarlane

Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell was born in London and trained at The Royal Ballet School. It was here that the late Kenneth MacMillan noticed her exceptional technique and in 1988 gave her the leading role in his ballet The Prince of the Pagodas, causing her to move to The Royal Ballet from Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet after only one year. In 1989, on the opening night of the show, she was promoted to Principal, at the time the youngest ballerina to be given this honour. Darcey remained a Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet until her retirement in 2007.

Darcey retired from ballet with a final performance of MacMillan’s Song of the Earth performed at the Royal Opera House and broadcast live on BBC Two. She has been featured in television documentaries including the BBC’s Britain’s Ballerina (2005) and appeared in numerous televised ballet galas and TV programmes. In 1995 Darcey was awarded an OBE and subsequently a CBE in 2006.

In 2007 Darcey teamed up with Katherine Jenkins to create and perform in the musical Viva La Diva. She created the Magic Ballerina books for young girls in 2008, of which over 1 million copies have been sold. In 2012 Darcey came out of retirement to lead a troupe of 300 ballerinas in the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games. Darcey is the Patron of the Sydney Dance Company and President of the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s fundraising appeal.
In 2012 she was appointed President of the Royal Academy of Dance.

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Arlene Phillips CBE

Arlene Phillips CBE is a showbiz legend, having worked with stars from film and TV, to theatre and arenas, as well as becoming one of Britain’s favourite television judges.

Throughout her illustrious career, Arlene has directed many well-known arena shows such as Strictly Come Dancing the Live Tour, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. She has produced Midnight Tango, The Very Hot Gossip Show, Britannia High and DanceX and has also choreographed much loved musicals such as Starlight Express, Wizard of Oz, Flashdance, The Sound of Music, Grease, We Will Rock You, Saturday Night Fever, Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Arlene has also rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the music industry, working as a choreographer with many music stars, such as Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, The Bee Gees, George Michael, Cliff Richard and Robbie Williams.

Always willing and excited to pass on her dance knowledge and opinion from many years of working in the arts industry, Arlene has judged dance and talent television shows such as Over The Rainbow, So You Think You Can Dance, Strictly Come Dancing, Strictly Dance Fever, and Let’s Dance for Comic Relief, searching for the stars of tomorrow who will go on to grace our screens and stages.

Arlene has also turned her hand to pen and page, adding her books Dance to The Musicals and the Alana Dancing Star series to her list of impressive achievements and accomplishments.

Follow Arlene on Twitter! @arlenephillips

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Akram Khan

©Jean-Louis Fernandez

Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over fifteen years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as DESH, iTMOi, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.

An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.

Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a recent highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.

Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award), the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, the Herald Archangel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and six Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, as well as University of London, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.

Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells, London.

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Shobana Jeyasingh

Shobana Jeyasingh founded Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in 1988 and has since created over 60 original and critically acclaimed theatre, site, and lens-based works. These have toured the UK, Europe, North America, India, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. Her recent works include Material Men (2015), commissioned by Southbank Centre, premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in September 2015 and Bayadère – The Ninth Life (2015) commissioned by The Royal Ballet Studio Programme, premiered at the Linbury Studio Theatre, ROH in March 2015. Terra Incognita (2014) for Rambert, premiered at Sadler’s Wells and In Flagrante (2013), a lens based work inspired by mitosis. This was premiered at The Federica Schiavo Gallery in Rome as part of the exhibition Lens on Life and then seen in London and Heidelberg. Phase one of Trespass which explored the emerging possibilities for relationships between human behaviour and intelligent environments was premiered at The Anatomy Museum at King’s College London in 2015 as part of the company’s residency with Culture at King’s.

Shobana has also choreographed numerous site specific works notably Counterpoint (2010) for the courtyard of Somerset House, London which featured 22 dancers and 55 fountains. TooMortal (2012), a work designed exclusively for pews of historic churches, toured to Stockholm, Belgrade, Italy and the UK.

Shobana has honorary doctorates from De Montfort University, Leicester and The University of Chichester. She and the company have been the recipients of numerous awards and honours over the years including the Time Out London award for best choreography. Her work Palimpsest was nominated for A South Bank Show award for dance. The Company was nominated Best Independent Company by the Critics’ Circle in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

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One of the most loved and respected elite dance brands in the UK and recognised from starring in Britain’s Got Talent; Flawless are a global award winning inspirational dance act who throughout their historic work have and continue as World Dance Champions to successfully inspire and wowed their audiences for over a decade. With exceptional technical abilities as well as their charismatic approach and razor sharp sense of style, Flawless have helped to revolutionize Street dance. Their trained, sophisticated and mature execution has always enabled them to stand out from among the rest!

Since starring on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 to name but a few as well as becoming a house hold name, Flawless have appeared in smash hit movies Street Dance 3D 1 & 2, headlined for the Royal Family performing at the Queens Diamond Jubilee concert alongside Kylie Minogue, Performed for the Opening Ceremony for London 2012 Paralympic Games, heated things up with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing professionals, and made history collaborating with the exceptional English National Ballet on tour.

Flawless are one of the premier dance collectives in the world and have an incredible portfolio that reflects their growth as a creative company as well as a commercial brand.

In all they continue to encourage, inspire and teach the next generation, not only on stage but also through the Flawless Dance School where street dance foundations and technique are the main focus.

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Matt Flint

Born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Matt began dancing at the age of 12 and after quickly discovering his passion he put all his focus into becoming as versatile a dancer as possible. He went on to train for three years at Laine Theatre Arts and has since then danced internationally ranging from musicals and television to dance companies and feature films.

Matt choreographs for film, TV and theatre. Recent credits include: All Stars 3D (Vertigo Films), Strictly Come Dancing (BBC), Morrison’s ‘Better Than Ever Awards’ 2012, 42nd Street Gala (Palladium), Darling Of The Day (Union), Legally Blonde (Arts Ed), So You Think You Can Dance USA Season 8 Finale (FOX), Let’s Dance for Comic Relief (Series 3 Winner, BBC1).

He has appeared in 10 West End shows including: Dirty Dancing, Guys & Dolls, On The Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Contact and spent time travelling the world with Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker and Highland Fling (USA, Asia, Australia).

Matt also works as a presenter. Recent credits include: Olympic Men’s Football and Rhythmic Gymnastics, Wembley (both for London 2012) and Main Stage host at Move It! 2013 (London Olympia).

When he is not performing, Matt loves to work with young people. For the last 10 years he has had regular teaching posts at performing arts colleges in and around London, also travelling the UK giving lectures and workshops in all aspects of technique and performance with his company

Along with his business partner Tom Shilcock, Matt has set up Can You Dance?, the ultimate dance experience, which gives young dancers a platform to show off their talent and offering masterclasses and exhibitions at events across the country. You can find out more at

Follow Matt on Twitter – @MATTJFLINT

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Kevin Clifton

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On his debut appearance in Strictly Come Dancing 2013, Kevin Clifton reached the final with his celebrity partner breakfast news presenter Susanna Reid.

Kevin was born in Grimsby, England and is former Youth World Number One and four times British Latin Champion. He trained in ballroom and Latin from an early age, taught by his parents, former World Champions Keith and Judy Clifton. He went on to win International Open titles in Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Belgium. From an early age, Kevin was taught the importance of giving your all during a performance and his boundless energy is electric and contagious. His passion and love of dance as an art form is evident and this shines through on stage. Kevin is trained in all styles of ballroom dance and he enjoys creating new routines and working with established choreographers. His diverse taste in music ranges from a love of rock legends such as Robbie Williams, Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury to the romantic delivery of Michael Buble, all of whom bring out the showman in him, making Kevin a compelling and intuitive performer to watch.

Away from the ballroom scene, in 2010 Kevin made his musical theatre debut in Dirty Dancing The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End. More recently, Kevin (and his professional dance partner and fiancée Karen Hauer, who is also a fellow professional dancer in Strictly Come Dancing), have been principal dancers of the Burn The Floor Dance Company for several years, performing in the show’s record breaking Broadway run as well as starring at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London’s West End. Kevin also toured the world with the show performing in countries including Japan, Australia, South Africa and the USA as well as making guest appearances on So You Think You Can Dance in Holland.

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Karen Clifton

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Best known to millions of people all over the country as one of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing professionals who last year partnered Hairy Biker Dave Myers, Karen Clifton’s Latin background is evident through her sultry looks and passion for dance. Born in Venezuela, Karen was brought up in New York from the age of eight. She attended The High School of Performing Arts otherwise known as ‘The Fame School’ and whilst there she majored in ballet and contemporary dance and received The Helen Tamaris Award for Excellence in Dance. Aged 10, Karen received a full scholarship to attend The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she learned her craft and continued to study for the next 10 years. Living in New York, Karen was influenced by a very broad range of dance styles. The cosmopolitan community and access to training in jazz, African and hip-hop ignited her determination to learn as many different dance disciplines as possible. At the age of 19 a visit to a Cha Cha class sparked her interest in Latin dance and that sent her in a new direction learning all the major ballroom dance styles.

Karen was crowned the 2008 World Mambo Champion and the following year gave her the chance to show her versatility as an all round trained dancer when she reached the final six girls of the American version of So You Think You Can Dance. Performing jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, hustle, ballroom and Latin, she worked with choreographers including Jason Gilkison, Melanie Lapatin, Tony Meredith, Napoleon and Tabitha, Wade Robinson and Laurieann Gibson. She was also one of Jennifer Lopez’s dancers for the singer’s performance of ‘Louboutins’ in December 2009.

Following her success on So You Think You Can Dance USA, Karen joined the original Broadway cast of Burn The Floor at Longacre Theatre in 2009 as a principal female dancer working once again with choreographer Jason Gilkison. She stayed with Burn The Floor on Broadway until 2010 before continuing her role in a world tour that took her to the USA, Europe, UK (she was a member of the original West End cast), Asia, Australasia and South Africa. Karen has an amazing presence on stage and is one of the most expressive and charismatic dancers on the current dance scene. Able to express emotion through each and every movement right through to her fingertips, Karen takes choreographed routines to new heights and she has that rare talent to attract the eye of every audience member whenever she performs.

In autumn 2012 Karen was invited to join the UK series of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing and her celebrity partner was former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne. In 2013, Karen partnered “Hairy Biker” Dave Myers and reached week seven.

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Lukas McFarlane

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Originally from Canada, Lukas was crowned the UK and Ireland’s best dance act, winning Sky1’s hit TV show, ‘Got to Dance’ Series 4 2013. McFarlane captured the hearts of the nation and has continued to excel with his passion as a Choreographer.

Professional credits to date:
Choreography Credits: So You Think You Can Dance (Choreographer; Portugal, Poland. Ass. Choreographer; USA, Canada) ‘Love Criminal’ Magalie Music Video (Passion Raw, John Turner), ‘Sweet Nothing’ Gabrielle Aplin Music Video (Chief Productions, Joe Conner), Barclaycard Presents ‘British Summer Time Hyde Park’, Sky 1 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Opener.

Live Performance Credits: ‘Got To Dance’ Series Winner, Celine Dion “Le Grand Show”, Taylor Swift (SYCO) X Factor Live Shows, Carly Rae Jepson (SYCO) NRG Music Awards (Choreographer and Dancer),

Television Credits: Ronan Keating – Red and Black (ITV), Adidas Foot Locker Commercial, Lee Evens ‘Monster’ Opener, Beth Ditto & The Gossip – Music Video, “Rags” Movie (Nickelodeon); The Movement (Christian Storm)

Lukas is the Creative Director of London based dance company, UnTitled.

He is an avid teacher and has taught in Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Russia, USA, Germany and many other places all over the world.

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