BURN The Floor might not be the most fortunate name for a show heading for the Grand Opera House so soon after the fire on stage two evenings ago.

Thankfully, the York theatre re-opened the next night for Rock Of Ages to complete its run, and Kevin Clifton, Graziano Di Prima and Johannes Radebe can look forward to turning up the heat in their ballroom dance show next Wednesday (May 1) after all.

Ironically, Clifton is on a break from playing rock demigod Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages to do Burn The Floor before resuming his outrageous role in the satirical Eighties' poodle-rock musical, visiting Leeds Grand Theatre from July 29 to August 3.

"Burn The Floor is the show that ignited a spark in me and changed me forever as a performer," says the Grimsby dancer, who finally scooped the Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy with celebrity partner Stacey Dooley last December after reaching the final five times.

Clifton is joined in York by Strictly’s newest pro, Italian heartthrob Graziano Di Prima, and South African Johannes Radebe in a ballroom show that has taken him to the West End, Broadway and all over the world.

Asked why he has been drawn back to Burn The Floor once more, 36-year-old Clifton says: "I think you never really leave. It becomes a way of life. It’s a relentless show that is really hard work, but also gives you a feeling, when you are completely in the zone of a flat-out Burn The Floor performance, that I’ve never found elsewhere. I’m addicted to it and I feel it has had more influence on my dancing than anything else I’ve ever been involved in."

Burn The Floor is so inspiring to the ballroom dance world because it "pushes the boundaries of what we can achieve with ballroom dancing". "It’s so much more than wearing sparkly shirts and dancing the competition style," says Clifton. "It’s years ahead of most ballroom dancing I see and is constantly seeking to improve and explore where we can take our style."

York Press:

Man behaving badly: Kevin Clifton as wild Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages at Leeds Grand Theatre this summer

Burn The Floor "feels like home" to Clifton. "It’s where I feel safest to express myself and explore new things in my dancing. It’s a family that I belong to and a very special place where the most interesting ballroom dancers in the world live," he says.

What does dance mean to Clifton? "Dance is the original art form. Before speech or anything else, we express ourselves through movement in our body language. It has the capacity to express things which words cannot," he says.

If he had a choice, "I would love to go back to either the Fred Astaire era, as there was such romance about dance in those times, or maybe the Forties, when Lindy Hop was bursting on to the scene, as it’s such an energetic style," says Clifton.

His love of dancing bursts through each performance. "Dance is the means to express myself, enjoy myself and entertain," he says. "A lot of people think dance should only be for yourself and it’s not about the audience, but I love entertaining the audience when I dance."

He passes on this advice to anyone want to start dancing: "Always remember why you dance. Don’t get caught up in the competitive nature of it and the obsession with being a perfect technical dancer. It always comes down to enjoyment, expression and entertainment," he says.

Has he ever wanted to do anything else as a profession? "I had many dreams of being a WWE wrestler, but that was never going to happen," Clifton says. "I’d still love to explore acting more."

There is, however, one alternative career you can rule out for Clifton in the week when the Tour de Yorkshire rides into God's Own Country from Thursday. "I can’t ride a bike," he reveals.

Tickets for Burn The Floor's 7.30pm performance can be booked on 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york.