Kevin Clifton makes surprise confession about Strictly anxiety

Kevin Clifton has opened up about still having anxiety before performing on Strictly Come Dancing, despite his years on the show.

The professional dancer, who joined Strictly in 2013, said that he tries to keep his pre-show nerves hidden from his celebrity partners because he needs to be there to support them.

Clifton, 37, told BBC Breakfast: “I’m all over the place with this sort of thing.

“I’m really nervous before any performance, even on Strictly where it’s more my comfort zone, I get nervous before going on.”

When hosts Louise Minchin and Dan Walker revealed their surprise at his admission, Clifton said: “It will be before I go and meet my partner, I’ll maybe take a few minutes in a room on my own because I don’t want them to see that I’m going through this nervous process.”

Minchin said: “I’d be really worried if I saw that you were nervous.”

Clifton replied: “I go through my own process where I have to do a few certain moves and this whole routine that I go through before going out to perform.”

He said he has to be “like a rock” for his partners on the show, so must keep his own nerves under wraps.

The dancer said that he started talking more openly about mental health issues on his podcast, where he initially intended to talk to performers about their mindset and creative process.

Strictly Come Dancing 2018
Kevin Clifton with Stacey Dooley in Strictly Come Dancing 2018 (Guy Levy/BBC)

He said: “I found that when I’m talking to people it very quickly takes a turn into anxiety and mental health and the mental process that people go through, because it turns out that all performers tend to be a bit nuts.”

Clifton, who will soon appear in a stage version of The Wedding Singer, also said that he intended to take a few months off work because he has not had much of a break in recent years.

“It never happens. I keep saying I’m going to take a break – I’ve been working solidly for two, three years, between Strictly, Burn The Floor, the Clifton Dance Academy Online that I do with my sister, my podcast, all of this stuff – and I keep saying I’m going to take a couple of months off, I need to rest,” he said.

“And everyone keeps telling me, ‘You can’t just keep working’.”

However, he said the chance to appear in The Wedding Singer at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre was too good an opportunity to miss, because he was a big fan of the original film.

Clifton will play lead character Robbie Hart in the musical, originally played by Adam Sandler in the movie.