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Natalie’s next step


Dancing legend Natalie Lowe tells Lucy Ryan about her latest project – an exciting new show, written and directed exclusively for P&O Cruises

Natalie Lowe dances on the red carpet

Natalie Lowe dances on the red carpet

Natalie Lowe is no stranger to P&O Cruises. ‘I honestly feel like I’m part of the family,’ she laughs. Back in 2013, the popular Strictly Come Dancing star was a pioneer of Strictly Come Dancing themed cruises.


‘My professional partner Ian Waite and I went on board and it was an absolute hit,’ she recalls. ‘Everyone loved it and so did we. Since then, doing the Strictly cruises has been my favourite part of the year. Going on board gives you the chance to meet your audience, to give back to the people who have supported you. They’re the ones who keep you in the competition and keep you getting up in the morning.’


Natalie’s rapport with guests and the P&O Cruises teams led to a day she’ll never forget: ‘I was asked if I’d like to be involved in a big secret event. Of course, I said yes. I then found out I’d be performing in front of the Queen at Britannia’s naming ceremony. I had to find 40 dancers and create the content and choreography for the occasion. The awesome Jive routine and beautiful Contemporary numbers were so special. That was one of the highlights of my career so far.’


As the Strictly Come Dancing chapter ends (Natalie recently retired from the hit BBC series after eight years), Natalie is excited to have more time to dedicate herself to new projects and is thrilled to be working on a new show for P&O Cruises, Natalie Lowe’s Dream Lover.


‘I’ve always wanted to write and produce my own show,’ says Natalie. ‘Last year, P&O Cruises gave me that opportunity, so during the last season of Strictly, I got to work writing the narrative, the musical arrangements and the choreography: it all started coming together!’


Natalie’s vision, Dream Lover, is currently in production and will launch on Oceana in the Caribbean in January 2018. It’s a romantic tale of the trials and triumphs of young love, with a storyline that takes in Natalie’s favourite songs and dance styles in a series of 10 dramatic scenes: ‘I just love the music of the 1950s and 1960s,’ she says. ‘Mum and Dad brought me up with that music. We used to travel 12 hours at a time to dance competitions listening to the likes of Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison. That era really resonates with me so I’m using my favourite tracks and incredible routines to tell the story. It’s cute, fun and energetic. Two guys [Johnny and Jack] fall in love with the same girl [Sherry] and their story is told through the lyrics, music and dance.’


Natalie is excited about breathing new life into on-board productions with her strong storylines and dance expertise. ‘I’m trying to up the ante and give it a really fresh, modern look while still honouring the flavour of the 1950s and how it should be represented through choreography and dance. I’ve jazzed up some of the tracks and we’re pushing for a state-of-the-art production. I’m also involved in the costume design, the set design... everything!’


Creating Dream Lover has been a liberating experience. ‘I feel as if I’ve been on the road for 18 years and now, at last, I can get my nails into something and make it my own. I’ve got so much knowledge and experience to share. I want to pass on everything I’ve learned. Strictly taught me about helping people to learn, get better and get out of their comfort zone. It also honed my passion for storytelling.’


The dance routines in Dream Lover will take guests on a journey through the Charleston, Lindy Hop, Jive, Twist, Latin, American Smooth and Tap. ‘The Headliners dancers are familiar with Jazz and Contemporary so this will be quite new for them,’ says Natalie. ‘I can’t wait to work with them. They’re so talented – I saw them on Oceana and was genuinely blown away. They’re fierce and fast learners. Their energy was incredible. I’ll have 10 days with them at The Academy [P&O Cruises cutting-edge rehearsal studios in Southampton] in November. It will be awesome.’


Despite her experience, Natalie is nervous. ‘I’m giving my all to this,’ she admits. ‘I feel the pressure to deliver something special. But there’s truth in the saying “pressure is privilege”. It’s an honour to be asked to do something that I’ve been dreaming about for 10 years.


‘People come on board to be taken away, swept away and entertained,’ says Natalie. ‘If I can do that through song, dance and storytelling full of emotion and energy, then hopefully I’ll have done my job right.’


See the premiere

Natalie Lowe’s Dream Lover premieres on board Oceana (E801) in January 2018