Andrew Stone to get Derry dancing

Dancer Andrew Stone.

Dancer Andrew Stone.

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He’s the dancer who made a huge, if brief, impression in the Celebrity Big Brother house but he maintains he is “no reality TV star”.

“First and foremost I’m a dancer, a singer and an actor. I’ve been doing this all my life. I just happened to become famous after a mockumentary was made about Pineapple Dance studios and I did Celeb Big Brother - but I’m here working hard at achieving my dreams. The fame comes second to that,” says Andrew, who is coming to work with local dancers next week.

It was three years ago that Andrew first came to public attention with the Pineapple Dance Studio TV series. He teaches dance at the world famous London dance studio.

While it was an experience he doesn’t regret he said it was “unlikely” that any further series of the hit show will be commissioned, saying “there were too many egos around that programme” and issues surrounding the attention he and fellow dance teacher Louis Spence garnered from the general public.

“We were just doing what we did - which was teach - and it was edited together so that there wasn’t a lot of interaction between us. It was our individual stories and some of us, myself and Louis, got more attention than the others.”

He admits the show has opened a lot of doors for him and he is now riding on the crest of a wave with a lot of projects about to launch. His debut single ‘Surrender’ will be released in the coming months - with talk that it could well be remixed by dance legend David Guetta.

Andrew has just signed a major deal to feature in a brand new feature film, has recorded a number of pilot TV shows for BBC and ITV and has plans for an online show.

And on top of this he is taking time out to visit Ireland five times over the next few months, including his stint in the North West this week. His stint here will culminate in a performance on Thursday at Foyleside Shopping Centre.

Andrew was invited back to Derry by local dance teacher Wendy MacBean of Dolphin Dancing School. He first met her when he was judging a competition last year.

“She really wanted me to come back to teach the young people and she is quite determined, so I agreed to do it,” Andrew laughs. Wendy has arranged a programme for local dancers aged eight and upwards and they will take part in a number of workshops with Andrew.

Although his celebrity persona is one of someone up for a bit of a laugh and larger than life, Andrew says he changes when in front of a class.

“The blinds go down. I take it very seriously and I will push the dancers to do the very best they can. Away from the celebrity bubble - which is fun, I admit - I’m a dance teacher and a performer.

“If anything I think my celebrity status comes with a certain responsibility. I know people are looking to me - maybe even looking up to me - so I have a responsibility to be a good role model.”

At the moment, Andrew says, this involves spending a lot of time at the gym and taking care of himself while trying to pick the best projects to go forward with.

He is, however, determined to have fun while in Derry this week and promises a bit of showmanship when he performs at Foyleside on Thursday afternoon.

“The dancers I’ve been working with will be showing off what they have learned and I may even dance myself.

“ I’m sure I’ll be there to sign autographs and have a bit of fun if anyone is up for that. You just never know what might happen!”

Eager shoppers and dance fans will be able to see Andrew at Foyleside between four and six on Thursday afternoon.