Lindsay Kemp. Well where do I begin?
Well to start with, he is a mime artist, director, choreographer and dancer, and I would imagine, everything else in between.
David Bowie was ready to pack it all in, possibly showbiz was not for him, when he met Lindsay Kemp. Kemp inspired him, motivated him and encouraged him to characters, mime and movement, and it is argued that he had a vital role to play in his success. Bowie and Kemp’s work together on Ziggy Stardust arguable reinvented how rock music was played live.
Anther celebrity who found great inspiration in Lindsay was Kate Bush, who was a student of his, attending his classes in London. She dedicated a song to him, with his movements featuring in the music video, and the pair collaborated regularly. See her song and music video (with plenty of Lindsay gestures) here.
For us, successful applicants of the Dance Base Professional Residency, we had a week with Lindsay, and his wonderful assistant and beautiful dancer and teacher in her own right, Daniella Maccari at their Grassmarket studios. Daniella is beautiful, and has tremendous balance between being grounded and experiencing the madness.
The week at Dance Base was filled with joy, frustration and laughter. We moved, and were encouraged to give our all to the movements – no matter how big or small they may be. We got drunk off the moonlight, imagining pouring liquid into our mouths while watching the moon. We were told not to walk, of course lets not just walk, lets dance/move/tread carefully. After all, the Earth, and whatever ground we are walking on, is sacred.
“Maybe it’s because I never walked,” he goes on. “I always danced. For me, dancing is so much more pleasurable than walking. When I say dance, I don’t mean I did chassés and grand jetés in the street. Although I did sometimes – but not usually when I was on my own, shopping. For me, dancing is the quickest way to happiness. Just as music is the most direct route to heaven, isn’t it?”” (Lindsay Kemp for The Guardian)
It was refreshing. It was a different way to work. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was not the usual dancer under choreographer scenario that we experience today. We are dancers, and we provide our opinions, our thoughts and our moves. With Lindsay, we provided our whole selves. And those whole selves were led into his magical land of movement and mime, looking at interpersonal connection, dancing for ourselves, for each other, and most importantly, for the audience.
‘My dances have always been about me and I invent the movement. Not too much moving, but with great intensity and, I hope, with beauty.” (Kemp for The Guardian)
I wondered if he was going to shout at us on stage. The answer was yes. In the most endearing, hilarious, encouraging shreeks, shreeks where you could hear the joy in his voice encouraging us to become better dancers, movers and connectors to the audience.
Whatever we did, was ‘For You’.
Quotes from Guardian article here