Oliver Lewis playing at speed of Flight

Oliver Lewis.
Oliver Lewis.

AS a child growing up in South London, Oliver Lewis used to be bribed by his parents with Mars bars to practice the piano, but such enticement was not necessary for the violin.

“I always loved playing and when I would get home from school, playtime for me was taking out the violin, which was a strange thing for a child,” Lewis, who now lives in North London, said.

This love for violin, which Lewis described as a conveniently-sized instrument as opposed to a cello or double bass, turned into his career, performing as solo violinist in various West End shows and where he has been part of the Spirit of the Dance cast since 2001.

“An actor friend of mine said she’s seen an ad in the paper for a ‘funky fiddler wanted’,” Lewis said.

“I didn’t know anything else but I called them up and they invited me down to their office; it was Spirit of the Dance.

“They said they’d seen my videos and knew I could play but asked if I could dance. So I jumped up on the table in the board room and played a few notes quickly, did a spin on the table and shouted ‘yee-haw’.

“They asked me what I was doing the next week and I started the first of many tours with them.”

Oliver Lewis.

Irish in origin and bursting with spectacular energy, Spirit of the Dance will celebrate the show’s 21st anniversary with an Australian tour including performances at Crown Theatre Perth and Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.

Lewis said he was always blown away by the incredible military precision of the dancers.

He plays a cross-section of music during the show on electric violin, including Flight of the Bumblebee which Lewis broke two Guinness World Records with to become the world’s fastest violin player, first in 2010 on BBC children’s television program Blue Peter and then again in 2011 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“By nature, if I set out to do something I like to finish it,” he said.

“I’m quite tenacious.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Spirit of the Dance

When and where: Crown Theatre Perth, May 15 and MANPAC, May 16

Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com.au and www.manpac.com.au

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