Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has been truly blessed to have had some incredible choreographers leading our annual tap dancing fundraiser, and this year is no different.
For 2022 we are lucky to have TV Presenter and Dancer, Naomi Wilkinson, taking the reins and leading the way!
From presenting and producing children’s television to teaching dance, travelling the world to starring in panto; Naomi has achieved a huge amount of success and won’t be stopping any time soon.
Like Roy Castle, Naomi has a passion for dancing and television presenting, so we know our tappers are in safe hands for Time to Tap!
We were lucky enough to chat to Naomi about her love of tap, dancing and why Roy Castle was one of her heroes when she was growing up.
RCLCF: Hi Naomi, thank you so much for getting involved in this year’s Time to Tap. Tell us a little bit about you, your job and your dance experience.
Naomi: “I’ve been living my childhood dream, presenting children’s television, for the past 23 years. I started out on a digital channel in 1999, then I presented and produced Milkshake! on Channel 5 for 10 years, before moving to CBBC in 2010.
I am married to camera operator, Mark, and I have a gorgeous 19-year-old stepdaughter called Sophie.
Over the years at CBBC I have been fortunate to present lots of different programmes like, ‘Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature’; ‘Marrying Mum and Dad’; ‘All Over the Place’; ‘Wild and Weird’; ‘Princess Mirror Belle’ and many more. I count myself very lucky that no two days have been the same… I have dressed up in more costumes than I can remember, travelled to unbelievable destinations, had the most wonderful opportunities, and enjoyed every single second of it.
I also work for BBC Teach and have presented many of the BBC SuperMovers routines, BBC Ten Pieces films and lessons for BBC Bitesize Daily (new music and art lessons coming this month!).
I love to dance and trained as a dance teacher, graduating with a first from The London College of Dance. I am also a qualified fitness / Zumba instructor. Dancing together with others is, without doubt, one of my most favourite things to do.
I love to choreograph, I love to dance, I love to tap, and I love to teach. So, when I was invited, I jumped at the opportunity to host this years’ Time to Tap event!
Music is very important to me, especially classical music, having grown up in a very musical household. I play the piano and I love nothing more than spending time down at the beach with my surfboard – I may not be especially skilled at either of these hobbies – but they both make me incredibly happy!”
RCLCF: How long have you been tap dancing for?
Naomi: “I’ve been dancing all my life and I think I began tap dancing when I was about six years old – I was instantly hooked!”
RCLCF: What do you like about tap dancing?
Naomi: “Tap dancing is brilliant exercise for your body and mind. I have always enjoyed finding rhythms that I feel fit perfectly to music and then figuring out how I can produce those rhythms with my feet is so satisfying! It makes my heart sing when I hear expert tappers effortlessly executing exciting, syncopated rhythms, especially when it is accompanied by a tune that I love.”
RCLCF: Did you ever get to meet Roy Castle before his passing?
Naomi: “Yes, I went to a masterclass with Roy when he came to my hometown, Bristol, around 1990. I remember being completely starstruck to be in the same room as the presenter of ‘Record Breakers’ and knowing that he was such an amazing tapper, I was really excited that he was going to be teaching us all a routine.”
RCLCF: What did you like about Roy?
Naomi: “Roy was very much a hero of mine growing up. I am a tap dancing, children’s television presenter who used to play a brass instrument, the French horn, so I feel a real affinity with the tap dancing, trumpet playing legend that was Roy Castle. I hugely admired him as a child and I loved watching his programmes (‘All-Star Record Breakers’ was an annual highlight when I was young!), and I would always watch in awe when Roy played an instrument or tapped. He always seemed so warm and kind, as well as being remarkably talented, a really inspirational gentleman.”
RCLCF: We know you took part in our annual tap dancing fundraiser during lockdown, how did you find out about us? And why did you want to take on the role of choreographer for this year’s Time to Tap?
Naomi: “My friend Helen posted on social media last year to say that she had signed up to take part, I messaged her as soon as I saw her post to get the details of how I could join in too. It was very easy to sign up and I thought it was a fantastic way of bringing those with a shared love of tap dance together, while raising funds for those affected by lung cancer in memory of the late, great, Roy Castle.
I love to choreograph, I love to tap, and I love to teach, so when I was invited, I jumped at the opportunity to host this year’s event!”