The one lesson I've learned from life: Craig Revel Horwood says fear is good for you

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The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Australian-British author, dancer, choreographer, conductor, theatre director, and former drag queen, Craig Revel Horwood says fear is good for you

  • Craig Revel Horwood, 57, says that used properly fear can be a force for good
  • Australian-British choreographer says that in the end the worst thing is failure
  • He has just embarked on a solo UK tour singing songs and sharing anecdotes

Craig Revel Horwood, 57, began his dancing career in his native Australia before moving to Paris and then London, where he appeared in the musical Cats. Best known as a judge on Strictly, he’s also an acclaimed choreographer. He and his fiancé, horticulturalist Jonathan Myring, live in Northamptonshire and will marry next year.

Fear can prevent people from trying something new. But, used properly, it can be a force for good. 

Australian-British choreographer Craig Revel Horwood, 57, says that used properly fear can be a force for good

Australian-British choreographer Craig Revel Horwood, 57, says that used properly fear can be a force for good

In the end, I don’t think it really exists. The worst that can happen is failure, and we can all learn from failure. 

It’s why I brought out a Christmas single. I’d like it to have gone to Number 1 but I was up against Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Adele. Still, it reached Number 21. Not bad. 

I also recorded a duets album with [Strictly Come Dancing vocalist] Rietta Austin during lockdown. Another example of pushing myself outside my comfort zone is acting in the film Nativity Rocks. All the cast, including Celia Imrie and Ruth Jones, had to improvise their lines.

There was no script — we were just thrown in at the deep end. That could have been scary but in the end it was like being in a giant playground. 

I’ve never directed a movie, but I’d really like to give that a go too.

The point is that, whenever you step into the unknown, the anticipation is always worse than the actuality. You have to face it head on — and when you do, it’s all right. 

Craig (pictured) on the Strictly Come Dancing stage, where he is usually a judge, giving a drag performance

Craig (pictured) on the Strictly Come Dancing stage, where he is usually a judge, giving a drag performance 

I’ve just embarked on a one-man solo tour of the UK singing songs and sharing anecdotes about my life so far. 

It’s the waiting in the wings that’s the scariest bit. My heart is in my mouth when I walk on stage. 

The trick is to use that energy. Without the adrenaline, you’re not going to perform well. And, if you’re not experiencing that rush, you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing anymore. 

I used to be scared of heights. But seven years ago I jumped out of an aeroplane in New Zealand from 15,000 feet, free falling for a minute. I loved it. 

So my message is simple: Don’t be frightened of fear.

  • Craig Revel Horwood’s The All Balls and Glitter Tour runs until May 27 (socomedy.co.uk/artist/craigrevel-horwood) 

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