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  1. ITV Report

Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom hits the London stage

The acclaimed film director Baz Luhrmann has adapted his Hollywood-hit, Strictly Ballroom - a movie credited with reviving an outdated dance form - as a West End stage musical.

The stage version of the 1992 film about a professional dance star paired with a left-footed partner in a bid to win a major championship, is to open at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.

The film began as a side project for Luhrmann, himself a former ballroom dancer, and his proposal was at first met with little enthusiasm from Hollywood.

He is gratified that the film - that was originally refused funding - lives on today, saying the film sends a "strong, clear and joyous" message.

Baz Luhrmann was himself a ballroom dancer. Credit: ITV News

He told ITV News: "When I went to Cannes to finance Strictly Ballroom the film, the guy said 'ballroom dancing will never be popular in the United States, it's not possible'.

"And then the next year, I was at Cannes with the film, after a great struggle to get it made. And it won the Prix de la jeunesse."

After the success of Strictly Come Dancing, which brought ballroom onto prime time Saturday night TV, Luhrmann said adapting the film into musical was a natural step

The original 1992 film was a surprise hit around the globe. Credit: ITV News

The director, whose other hits include Moulin Rouge! and a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, said audiences wanted the escape.

"It's not just the politics in America, or in England. The political world is so noisy that you better be putting something out there that is strong or joyous or clear. We really need strength in the arts, because you need to cut through all that noise."

Moulin Rouge! - which originally starred Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman - is currently being adapted for the stage.