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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 08:31 GMT
Jill vamps it up for Chicago role
Jill Halfpenny in rehearsals for Chicago
Jill Halfpenny in rehearsals for her role as Roxie in Chicago
Strictly Come Dancing winner Jill Halfpenny is vamping it up for her new role in West End musical Chicago.

The Tyneside-born former EastEnders actress is set to tread the boards as schemer Roxie Hart.

She donned a slinky black stage outfit during rehearsals for her three-month stint in the role.

The 29-year-old, from Gateshead, transformed her shape for the BBC1 ballroom show, after being axed from the TV soap.

She said: "Everything has tightened up. Dancing has made me use bits of my body that I've never used before."

Practising her dance moves with partner Darren Bennet was a tough exercise, she explained.

"If somebody asked me what I would rather do, three hours of dancing or an hour on the treadmill, I would take the dancing any time," she said.

"The jive and the quickstep are the best workout. You're just knackered when you finish.

Jill Halfpenny and dance partner Darren Bennett
Halfpenny won full marks for her jive performance on Saturday night

"It's only one-and-a-half minutes but it feels like you've been in the gym half an hour."

Strictly Come Dancing transformed her fortunes and led her to landing the part in Chicago.

She follows in the footsteps of Denise Van Outen, Claire Sweeney and Jennifer Ellison, who have all played murderess Roxie.

The actress begins a three-month run at London's Adelphi Theatre in January.

On Wednesday she was due to strut her stuff for the last time in a Strictly Come Dancing special.

She will battle it out with previous series winner Natasha Kaplinsky to be named Champion of Champions.





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SEE ALSO:
Dance show ratings top X Factor
12 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
EastEnder crowned ballroom champ
11 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
Stars unveiled for more Dancing
27 Sep 04 |  Entertainment


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