Co Down Man Jason Tsoutsas Now Dreams Of Fame On Strictly Come Dancing

Jason Tsoutsas might have thought no one was watching him when he danced with others at a crowded Wembley stadium last summer.

But the 21-year-old from Hillsborough couldn’t have been more wrong. Within weeks he was performing in his first professional show alongside headliners Maureen Nolan of the Nolan sisters, Rebecca Keatley of CBeebies and Keith Jack of Any Dream Will Do of BBC1.

He was among the dancers taking part in a spectacular closing ceremony in front of more than 60,000 people before the Euro 2020 football final between England and Italy.

A two-a-day production of Snow White at the Stafford Gatehouse Theater didn’t have such a crowd size, but for Jason it was just as important – his first paid job as a professional dancer.

Strictly’s twinkling lights are now in his sights – agents for some of the popular show’s stars are watching – but he’s not getting ahead of himself.

Passing college remains the priority, but how did the young man who has been dancing since the age of three take this first step on the road to stardom?

“A choreographer, Philip Joël [from the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts], entered our university at the end of September and auditioned for dancers to take to the panto, ”Jason told the Belfast Telegraph.

“It consisted of three different dance rounds. Then they took us to a room and called out the names of the four people they had chosen. Fortunately, I was one of them. I was in partnership with Emma Kennedy and we worked together throughout the series.

“We started on November 26 and went until December.

“We had a week of rehearsing and learning all the dances, then four days of running with lights and costumes. After that came the real thing – the audience!

“It was great fun, though. We had five or six dance numbers and there were a few other scenes where we had to pretend to talk to each other – we were actors and we sang when we danced.

One of the perks of being in the troupe was getting Maureen to “sign my panto program”.

He said Maureen, who played the Evil Queen in Panto but had previously toured with legends such as Frank Sinatra and Sir Cliff Richard, was “a hoot” when they went out for meals.

“I got everyone to sign so I could remember this job,” said Jason, who added that he also really enjoyed working with Rebecca.

Sharing a dressing room with West End star, Scottish actor and singer Keith Jack, was an added bonus.

“He was my favorite guy to work with,” he said.

“I learned so much from him. He told me what I should be looking for and different things I should do, auditions so that I could get noticed and all this really great advice.

Jason almost had to replace Keith as the handsome prince on Christmas Day after Any Dream Will Do finalist’s car hit black ice on the road and skidded into a tree, leaving him with internal injuries.

“Luckily Keith was fine, but it was both scary and exciting when I was waiting to replace him,” he said.

“I can sing as well as dance, so they taught me his script in case he was away.”

“He crashed his car on his way home to Scotland to see his family. We thought he wasn’t going to come back, but in the end he was fine.

Jason’s mother, Amber (47), owner of the Amber Gordon School of Dance and her first dance teacher, is her older brother’s “biggest fan”.

She looks forward to his next adventure once he completes Performers College in Basildon, Essex in July and “heads to the big and the bad”.

So, will we finally see him strutting around on a certain BBC1 weekend show?

“It would be cool to go to Strictly,” he said.

“I really love choreographing my own stuff – I did it at my mom’s school and while I was teaching.

“It would be strictly like choreographing my own partner’s work and I think I would do pretty well.

“I just have to keep my head down and go on and get the job done and hopefully the rewards will come.”

He can also count on the support of Papa George (46 years old), a businessman from Athens, his three brothers Zak (16 years old), Christo (14 years old) and Louka (12 years old), and his Sister Xenia (10), whom he saw when he was back home briefly earlier this month on a short vacation.

In the meantime, he will follow Tess and Claudia’s advice and continue dancing.

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