Mamma Mia! Suffolk dancer Jo Darby stars in second ABBA movie
PUBLISHED: 19:35 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:35 18 July 2018
Suffolk's very own dancing queen Jo Darby is feeling like a super trouper after casters for the second Mamma Mia! film took a chance on her.
At the age of 33 and having started a family, Jo thought her performing days were slipping through her fingers - so she concentrated her passions on the dance school she runs in Rushmere St Andrew.
But last year Jo, who lives in Martlesham, was thanking ABBA for the music after getting the opportunity to audition for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which will hit UK cinemas on Friday.
Out of around 1,000 tryouts, Jo, who has danced since the age of two, was among 70 to make the final cut.
Jo, who is married Kevin, has a two-year-old son called Leo and is 26 weeks’ pregnant, said: “I have a family now and a dance school so I thought I had closed the door on performing almost when this opportunity came up and I was so happy with the fact I got the job out of hundreds of people to show you can do it at any age.”
Jo stars in two scenes in the film alongside Lily James, who played young Donna Sheridan.
“It was an amazing experience,” she added.
Mamma Mia! was Jo’s second dabble with the big screen after working on the choreography for the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson.
Yet the rising star still has her feet firmly on the ground and is keen to use her experiences to inspire the next generation.
Last year Jo ran a Beauty and the Beast summer school to show children some of the moves she learnt on set, and she plans to do a Mamma Mia! edition next month.
Performing runs through Jo’s veins as her mother is a ballet teacher and her father a drummer.
At the age of 18 she enrolled in Performers’ College near Basildon before going on to dance on cruise ships.
Jo said Mammia Mia! was without a doubt a “career highlight”.
She added: “It’s such a hard career. You have to get into that mindset to say I’m going to make this work no matter what, because it’s incredibly competitive. What I think is amazing is I have been able to turn a passion into a career which I’m so grateful for.”
Jo’s Mammia Mia! summer school is from August 28-31 and is open to children aged over eight. Anyone interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org