Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer are now established as one of BBC1′s Strictly Come Dancing most popular dance couples. Karen Hauer has appeared in two series of TV’s most watched programme, partnering Nicky Byrne from Westlife in her first year and in 2013 dancing with “Hairy Biker” Dave Myers, reaching week seven. Kevin Clifton made a spectacular debut reaching the final with celebrity partner and Breakfast News presenter Susanna Reid. As one of the few British dancers on the TV show, Kevin was often referred to by the legendary Bruce Forsyth as “Kevin from Grimsby!”
Kevin and Karen got engaged in early 2013 and as a couple both professionally and privately, it is clear that Kevin and Karen have a connection that enables their live dance performances in the theatre, on TV, for cruises and corporate events, to deliver a level of expertise that ensures the WOW factor that should be expected of two world champion dancers.
Born in Venezuela Karen was brought up in New York from the age of eight. She attended The High School of Performing Arts otherwise known as ‘The Fame School’ and whilst there she majored in ballet and contemporary dance and received The Helen Tamaris Award for Excellence in Dance. At age 10, Karen received a full scholarship to attend The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she learned her craft and continued to study for the next 10 years. Living in New York, Karen was influenced by a very broad range of dance styles. The cosmopolitan community and access to training in jazz, African and hip-hop ignited her determination to learn as many different dance disciplines as possible. At the age of 19 a visit to a cha cha class sparked her interest in Latin dance and that sent her in a new direction learning all the major ballroom dance styles.
Karen was crowned the 2008 World Mambo Champion and the following year gave her the chance to show her versatility as an all round trained dancer when she reached the final six girls of the American version of So You Think You Can Dance, performing jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, hustle, ballroom and Latin. Whilst on the show she worked with choreographers Jason Gilkison, Melanie Lapatin, Tony Meredith, Napoleon and Tabitha, Wade Robson and Laurieann Gibson. She was also one of the back-up dancers for Jennifer Lopez’s performance of ‘Louboutins’ in December 2009.
Following her success on So You Think You Can Dance USA, Karen joined the original Broadway cast of Burn The Floor at Longacre Theatre in 2009 as a principal female dancer working once again with choreographer Jason Gilkison. She stayed with Burn The Floor on Broadway until 2010 before continuing her role in a world tour that took her to the USA, Europe, UK (she was an a member of the original West End cast), Asia, Australasia and South Africa. Karen has an amazing presence on stage and is one of the most expressive and charismatic dancers on the current dance scene. Able to express emotion through each and every movement right through to her fingertips, Karen takes choreographed routines to new heights and she has that rare talent to attract the eye of every audience member whenever she dances.
In autumn 2012, Karen was invited to join BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in the UK and her celebrity partner was former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne. They reached the ninth week of the competition. Karen joined the Strictly Come Dancing live UK tour, where she danced with former Strictly contestant and former cricketer Phil Tufnell. Karen was invited back in 2013 to join the new series of the UK’s most watched television show and she partnered “Hairy Biker” Dave Myers, lasting an impressive seven weeks before being voted out in the dance off.
Kevin was born in Grimsby, England and is a former Youth World Number 1 and four times British Latin Champion. He trained in Ballroom and Latin from an early age, taught by his parents, former World Champions Keith and Judy Clifton, who teach at The Clifton Academy in Grimsby. He went on to win International Open titles in Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Belgium.
From an early age, Kevin was taught the importance of giving your all during a performance and his boundless energy is electric and contagious. His passion and love of dance as an art form is evident and this shines through on stage. Kevin is trained in all styles of ballroom dance (Ballroom ten) and he enjoys creating new routines and working with established choreographers. His diverse taste in music ranges from a love of rock legends such as Robbie Williams, Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury to the romantic delivery of Michael Buble, all of whom bring out the showman in him, making Kevin a compelling and intuitive performer to watch.
Away from the ballroom scene, in 2010 Kevin made his musical theatre debut in Dirty Dancing The Musical at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End. More recently, Kevin (and his professional dance partner Karen Hauer) have been principal dancers of Burn The Floor Dance Company for several years, performing in the show’s record breaking Broadway run as well as in London’s West End. Kevin also toured the world with the show performing in countries including Japan, Australia, South Africa and the USA as well as making guest appearances on Dancing With The Stars in USA and So You Think You Can Dance in Holland.
Kevin Clifton performed in some of the group dance routines on the 2012 series of BBC1′s Strictly Come Dancing and he was also worked on some of the ensemble choreography. In 2013 Kevin was invited to join Strictly Come Dancing, the most watched TV show in the UK, as one of the professional dancers. His debut has been a remarkable success, partnering Breakfast News presenter Susanna Reid and reaching the final in his first year.