Winston Hills dance teacher to battle for survival

DAVIN Griffiths-Jones expects his dance students’ parents will be more than a little surprised to see him on the box dressed in drag.

“It is camp,” Griffiths-Jones said of I Will Survive, a new talent series premiering on Wednesday, August 22, on channel Ten and on which he appears, "but they’re [the parents] used to flamboyance in our [school] shows [which are known to include Peter Allen numbers].”

Watch our video interview with Griffiths-Jones below, filmed by the Parramatta Sun's Gene Ramirez below:

It's been a big year for the Winston Hills performance teacher who was named a finalist in the ACE Awards (for Best Dance Production) and in the MO Awards (for Best Children's Show).

"I've just been so ridiculously busy, that I just haven't stopped all year," said Griffiths-Jones of the year leading up to his selection on I Will Survive - something that very nearly didn't happen.

"I was told about the audition when I was in America and on the way back my plane was delayed six hours.

"I think the audition finished at four and I got there three-ish. It was meant to be.

"I knew I did a good audition but then you just have to wait for the phone to ring.

"I sang Love To Hear The Music, from my cabaret show, and then I had to improvise a dance routine to [Gloria Gaynor's] I Will Survive."

Griffiths-Jones will be one of 12 contestants on I Will Survive, which searches for Australia’s ultimate triple threat – industry speak for a skilled dancer, singer and actor.

“Expect a crazy ride with amazing costumes, fantastic rural towns that we go to and an amazing adventure,” Griffiths-Jones said of the reality show, which recreates the original Priscilla, Queen of the Desert all-singing and dancing journey.

"Some [contestants] are married but some are theatre-ish, but the theme is Priscilla so it's going to be a crazy show."

On their travels through Australia’s outback, contestants will sing, dance and act for resident judges Jason Donovan and Stephan Elliott, famous for directing the monster hit musical film Priscilla.

A raft of A-list female stars will also appear as guest judges, including Muriel's Wedding's Rachel Griffiths and Toni Collete, as the men vie for $250,000 and a Broadway showcase.

‘‘The most challenging thing on the show was the acting; that’s my third tier,’’ Griffiths-Jones said in reference to dancing, singing and acting in the series.

"What I learnt from them [the judges] is just to really get into the character and to channel the character."

No stranger to our television screens himself, Griffiths-Jones first skyrocketed to stardom on Ten’s Star Search when he was 10 years of age.

Nine years later he would open the Davin Griffiths-Jones School of Performing Arts, now located in his home town of Winston Hills.

"I did commericals, lots of plays as a kid - lead juvenile roles with the Sydney Theatre Company; it was just about trying to tap back into that [in I Will Survive] because I haven't done it for so long."

I Will Survive premieres on Tuesday, August 21, on Ten at 7.30pm. It will air Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7.30pm throughout the season.

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