Arlene Phillips came to prominence in the dance world by creating the often controversial but hugely popular dance group Hot Gossip. Since that time she has become a world-renowned Director and Choreographer with her work seen widely on stage, feature film, concert arenas, television, music videos and commercials.

Having trained in dance from an early age Arlene moved to London in the 1970s and discovered Modern American Jazz.  Immediately falling in love with the dance form she developed her own Jazz style and began offering classes at Covent Garden’s Pineapple Dance Studio, she soon became recognized as a popular teacher and choreographer.

In 1974 Arlene assembled some of her young dance students  together and formed the soon-to-be-famous dance group Hot Gossip.  They would eventually perform at a London nightclub for 2 years before being noticed by TV producer David Mallet and appearing as a regular feature on the Kenny Everett Video Show for Thames Television in 1978.  Monday nights were never the same once Hot Gossip hit UK television, the nation would grind to a halt to watch the saucy dancers in risque costumes, famous protestations by Mary Whitehouse moralist campaigner of the time, helped to catapult the group to superstar status taking Arlene’s choreography to the world.  The Benny Hill Show also featured the dancers and after tremendous success the group were finally given their own TV format The Very Hot Gossip Show in the early 1980’s, recording a hit record ‘I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper’ with Sarah Brightman and touring the world extensively.

Since the success of Hot Gossip the work quite simply flooded in.  Arlene began accepting offers for films in the UK, America and the world allowing her to work with notable directors on works including Escape To Athena (1979), The Village People’s Can’t Stop the Music (1980), The Fan (1981), Annie (1982), Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life 1983), Duran Duran’s Arena (1984), Legend (1985) with Tom Cruise, Highlander (1986), Salome’s Last Dance (1988), The Pet Shop Boys It Couldn’t Happen Here (1988), White Hunter, Black Heart (1990) and The Wind In the Willows (1996).

Through the 1980’s music video became popular and Arlene worked on many recognizable clips with popular artists such as AC/DC, The Bee Gees, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Erasure, Aretha Franklin, Boy George, Whitney Houston, Millie Jackson, Moody Blues, Joan Jett, Elton John, Kiss, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Go West, Olivia Newton John, Queen, Cliff Richard, Diana Ross, Feargal Sharkey, Tina Turner, Robbie Williams and Paul Young.

Television continued to be a creative source and numerous award ceremonies, popular series and TV specials kept Arlene continually traveling between England and America.  Some of these shows included Ken Russell’s The ABC of Music, The Hot Shoe Show, the US syndicated Dancin’ To The Hits, Peak Practice, Blue Peter, Leo Sayer Series, Leo Sayer Special, David Essex Series, Golden Oldies Picture Show, Duran Duran Special, Donna Summer Special and a Tina Turner Special.  Live events with high profile celebrities from the opera world also received Arlene’s attention and resulted in shows such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa & Friends, Lesley Garrett - A Night At The Opera and An Evening With Michael Ball.  Much of Arlene’s work has been brought together in popular large scale events such as The Brit Awards, The Royal Variety Show, The Prince’s Trust, Children in Need, Party in the Park and the legendary Party at the Palace.

The unstoppable force of this dedicated choreographer lead to varying arena and concert work.  From staging Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games Official Theme, Amigos Para Sempre to taking on the role Director of Choreography for the Manchester XVII Commonwealth Games in 2002.

Arlene has worked on huge worldwide productions such as Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, EFX at the MGM Grand, The Bratz Arena Tour and the British  2009 entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.  UK productions of A Clockwork Orange (R.S.C.), Black Goes with Everything (The Songs of Don Black), The James Bond Gala, Midsummer Classics at the Royal Albert Hall and An Evening with Gediminas Taranda (Bolshoi Ballet) in Moscow.

Arlene’s renowned choreography has been seen in a number of much loved musicals including Flashdance, Sleeping Beauty, The Sound of Music, Grease, We Will Rock You, Time and Matador.

Whilst maintaining her choreography Arlene was increasingly asked to take on role as director in shows such as Saturday Night Fever, Starlight Express, Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar (US tours).

Arlene is now widely recognized as a TV personality appearing on chat shows and talent TV reality shows famous all over the UK.  Numerous appearances include Strictly Dance Fever, Loose Women, Friday Nights With Jonathan Ross, Ready Steady Cook, The Friday Night Project, Must See TV, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, SMart,  The One Show, As Seen On TV and Your Country Needs You: Eurovision Song Contest 2009. In 2007 Arlene toured the UK with the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour that out sold the Spice Girls Tour!

A collaboration with fellow choreographer Bruno Tonioli resulted in UK TV format DanceX, it went on to become popular American show Dance War: Bruno vs Carrie Ann.  Along side theatre producer David Ian, Arlene created a new musical drama Britannia High and is currently creating her own dance show, the first to embrace every style of dance.

Since 2004 Arlene has been notably popular as a judge on the UK’s BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing.  Her popularity has been far reaching and she continued as a judge until recent controversy ended her involvement.  Not to be deterred since leaving the show she has been appointed as the Government’s ‘Dance Tsar’ to help improve the UK’s health and fitness in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Arlene has choreographed over one hundred TV commercials in England and America including 7-Up, American Express, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Levi Jeans, Vidal Sasoon and Yellow Pages.

Arlene’s relationship with dance has allowed her significant accolades including nominations for Tony Awards, Olivier Awards, a National Broadway and a FaNY. Awards include an MTV, a Drama Desk, a BAFTA and an Emmy for best choreography.  In the 2002 New Years Honours List Arlene was awarded an OBE for Services to Dance and in 2004 a Companionship Award from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts for her contribution to dance, presented by Sir Paul McCartney.  She has also been awarded Honorary Membership in 2006 by the International Dance Teachers Association and a Carl Alan Award for Services to Dance.

Photography: Grant Sainsbury

Hair & MakeUp: Alana Phillips

Clothing: Arlene Phillips for Marisota