STRICTLY Come Dancing 2016 champion Joanne Clifton is to appear in the lead role in a musical at the Grand Opera House, York, for the second time this year.

After taking to the Cumberland Street stage as Millie Dillmount, a Kansas girl determined to make it big in 1920s' Jazz Age New York City, in Thoroughly Modern Millie in February, the Grimsby dancer and actress will star in Flashdance – The Musical from Monday to Saturday.

In this touring stage adaptation of the 1983 musical film Flashdance, with a book by Tom Hedley & Robert Cary, music by Robbie Roth and lyrics by Roth and Cary, Joanne will play Alex Owens, a determined steel mill welder by day and exotic dancer by night in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who dreams of becoming a professional ballerina.

When a romance with her boss complicates Alex's ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream of attending Shipley Dance Academy in a show replete with such numbers as Maniac, Gloria, I Love Rock And Roll and Flashdance...What A Feeling.

York Press:

"It's such a buzz, I can't get to sleep until early in the morning," says Joanne Clifton, on the thrill of performing in Flashdance

Sparks will fly, the show promises, and Joanne will testify to that. "We've been touring since the beginning of August, and we've been getting standing ovations at the end, which is such a brilliant feeling, especially when we do a mega-mix of the hits to close the show, and it's such a buzz, I can't get to sleep until early in the morning."

Attending a rehearsal cum press launch in London, the exuberant dancing looked exhausting. "There's so much dancing in there, and when we have two shows a day [as will be the case on the Wednesday and Saturday at the Grand Opera House] – I'm not going to lie, it's shattering! I can sleep on till 11 o'clock.

Millie Dillmount and Alex Owens and indeed the two shows are "totally different," notes Joanne. "Millie is a fearless flapper in the 1920s; Alex is a tomboy in the 1980s, and even their styles of singing differ greatly. Millie has a girlie Twenties' voice; Flashdance has a very Eighties sound, but the range of singing in both suits my voice," she says.

In both shows, she relishes the combination of dancing, singing and acting. "I think in an ideal world you can honour all three at once, and though sometimes dancing could hinder the singing a little, what I've had to learn is that neck and back muscles are held tight but for singing you have to relax the diaphragm, which goes against convention when you're dancing," says Joanne. "The most difficult part is singing, then doing a big dance routine and then having to sing high notes straight afterwards!"

York Press:

Joanne Clifton playing Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Grand Opera House, York, in February

Joanne was born in 1983, the year that Adrian Lyne's movie version of Flashdance was released with Jennifer Beals in the role of Alex. She has seen the film but says: "Looking back at it, I kind of like bringing my own way of doing it to the show," she says. "It was the same with what I did for Millie, where Julia Andrews had played her in the film, but I don't tend to compare myself with other performers because I don't want to copy them. It's better to find my own way."

Joanne, the 2013 World Ballroom Showdance champion, has gone straight from winning the Glitterball trophy at last year's Strictly Come Dancing with Ore Oduba to starring in Thoroughly Modern Millie and onwards immediately afterwards to Flashdance.

"So I haven't really had a chance to think about leaving Strictly, though the reunion with Ore at the start of this year's series felt quite weird and emotional, knowing I wouldn't be doing the series this time, but I'm really enjoying Flashdance," she says.

"You never know, though, I might go back to Strictly one day!"

Joanne Clifton stars in Flashdance – The Musical at Grand Opera House, York, Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at