Strictly Ballroom; A Q&A with Zizi Strallen

Strictly Ballrooom Zizi Strallen and Jonny Labey

Since opening in March, Strictly Ballroom has dazzled audiences with its timeless story of self-discovery, finding your own voice and, of course, mesmerising hip action. Based on Baz Luhrmann's (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge) multi award-winning movie, this sashaying spectacular has inspired the world to dance!

We recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Strictly Ballroom's Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins, Cats) who plays the lead Fran to find out what it is like being part of such a magical production.

What has playing your character taught you about yourself?

Playing Fran has taught me to just accept myself for me. She is a very strong person and when she first talks to Scott, she says, “I want to dance with you.” There is no doubt in her mind as to why he wouldn’t want to dance with her. So, I think it’s kinda taught me to be a bit more confident about what I like and who I am.

Who would be your ultimate dance partner?

Well — I have to say Jonny Labey, don’t I? He’d kill me if I didn’t! I don’t know, I have actually been very lucky [to dance with] with some amazing dance partners in my life that I can’t think… Yeah, Jonny Labey, Mr Jonny Labey. I’m just going to give that answer and that is that!

What is your favourite moment from the show that you think people should know about?

I think a really moving moment in the show is ‘Time After Time’. I haven’t seen it myself obviously, but the people that play Shirley, Doug and Les all stand in the wings and watch it every night because they love it so much. So I am guessing it’s a lovely moment in the show and the audience love it.

Is there ever a time you felt that you needed to find your own youthful rebellion?

I kinda feel like in my life quite a lot because I try and do a lot of different things in this industry and sometimes you get put into a box —‘You’re a dancer, you’re a singer, you’re an actor’ — and I’d like to think in my life that I could go and do a movie or a play and then come back and do a musical and then do a dance show or a dance film and cross all the genres. So I see myself as a bit of rebel in that sense of ‘why not try everything?’

How would you describe your in-the-club drunk dance style?

I wouldn’t say that I am very cool. I am quite long-limbed so I’d say quite fluid, nice movement dancing. Drew McOnie’s choreography really suits my body — I think — because he is quite a fluid dancer.


Strictly Ballroom is currently running at the Piccadilly Theatre, booking until 5th January 2019.

Keep your eyes peeled as we have an exclusive interview with Jonny Labey, who stars as Scott in Strictly Ballroom coming later in the week!

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