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Paul-Michael Jones On...Dirty Dancing

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Manchester's Paul-Michael Jones has taken on the role of Johnny Castle - made famous by the late Patrick Swayze in the hit film Dirty Dancing. The stage version proved to be a huge success in the West End. The show is back on tour and returns to Manchester in May. We caught up with the local dancer to find out the secret of the show's success.

For anyone who was asleep in the 1980s and no access to dvds - can you tell us the story of Dirty Dancing?
Dirty Dancing is a love story set at a holiday camp. Every girls dream holiday! Well not until she meets dance teacher Johnny Castle. It's the story of a girl growing up and finding herself.

What about your character? How challenging is Johnny Castle to play knowing how iconic Patrick Swayze made him?
It was a scary challenge at first but I’ve loved every minute of it. Patrick Swayze was a legend and a real role model for me as a male dancer.

The music is instantly recognisable. What are your favourite tracks and why?
I love dancing to "Time of my Life" just because it is so iconic and the memories of listening to it while watching the film as a young boy.

How does it feel knowing that you are going to perform to a home crowd?
It’s so nice to be home doing the show. I’m so excited to have all my family and friends coming to watch. I always love coming back to Manchester.

Dirty Dancing remains a hot ticket - despite the recession. Why do you think this is?
Because it’s such a feel good show in hard times. However you’re feeling, you are guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face.

Chemistry is an important aspect of the show. How do you make sure that people believe in you and Baby as a couple?
We get on really well out of work which helps. And we use the fun we have in real life in our characters.

Audiences often shout out key lines from the movie. How do you deal with this whilst still remaining in character?
I smile inside but keep my calm and just concentrate on the scene.

What are your plans once the tour is over?
Not got a clue! I’m enjoying this so much I’ve not given it a thought yet.

Paul-Michael Jones was speaking to Glenn Meads

Dirty Dancing is at the Palace Theatre, Manchester from 21 May - 15 June.


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