By James Twomey
Channing Tatum is in town with his production of Magic Mike Live, a West End version of the dance movie Magic Mike, but this production also includes a Magic Dean and a Magic Ross. Dean Stewart and Ross Sands are from Lewisham and Greenwich respectively, and are both making South London proud with their own magical moves.
Dean, 26, who grew up in a family of 10 in Hither Green Lane and went to St Joseph’s Academy, has always had a passion for dance.
He said. “I’ve been dancing for 20 years since I grew up watching videos of Usher and street dancing. I knew it’s what I wanted to do.
“I took dance classes in Catford and Bromley, my mum took me to my very first dance class in Brixton and now she’s so proud.
“Growing up in my area was not easy so my mates are proud of what I’ve become. It’s the biggest production I’ve ever been on and I can’t believe it’s on in the West End.
“It’s really exciting, I’m learning lots from Channing’s advice and help as a mentor and I’m really enjoying it.”
Dean was offered the role while he was still in Los Angeles and couldn’t wait to come home for it. He said:
“It was really overwhelming, it’s such a big production and working with Channing is a huge opportunity. I feel blessed to work with him.”
Ross, 29, grew up in Greenwich and Bexleyheath taking dance classes at the age of 10 at the Liz Burville Centre before attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Ross said: “It took over my life, every day after school I was dancing.
The movie Honey was my first taste of hip-hop dance.
“Before that I did musical theatre but the movie inspired my journey through the pop industry.”
The production enters Magic Mike’s mythical club which showcases a group of extraordinary artists performing a 360 degree dance with acrobatic moves in front, behind, and above the audience.
Magic Mike Live is taking place at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square which has been transformed into a 325-seat performance space but the pair are no strangers to big events.
Ross has spent most of his career dancing for musicians such as Beyonce and Rihanna.
Channing Tatum was the star in the original movie and is now the co-director for this stage performance.
Ross said: “It’s brilliant how hands-on he is.
“This thing is his baby and he’s so proud of what we’re doing, he is such a gent as well.”
As the dance captain, Ross is trusted to keep all the dancers to a high standard when the choreographers are away.
Ross said: “It’s a big responsibility and one I am proud of.
“I didn’t know much about it at first, but from the first audition I knew it was something special and I wanted to be in it.”
It’s a big production for both dancers but the pair are still keeping an eye on the future.
Dean said: “I want to go back to LA once the production is finished and pursue theatre and television but my absolute dream would be to join a world tour production for an artist.”
Ross on the other hand has been thinking of a move away from dancing after a long, successful career.
He said: “I’ve actually started looking at interior design, I like it because it’s creative and I’m coming up to 30 so it might be time to try something else.”
All pics except Channing Tatum by Trevor Leighton