AM: Can you say what the difference in quality and movement was?

MB: Adam is more over-powering and more dominant and has a much more powerful presence than Will does overall.  His dancing has more strength and power and, therefore, seems to dominate the Prince much more easily, much more casually.  Just by his presence, he can dominate the whole stage; and he actually looks much taller on stage than he is.  When he walks on, in both Acts Two and Three, he looks enormous - and yet off stage he's the same height as me - not even six foot.  I don't understand that at all. 

Will, by contrast, is slight and boyish, a very different presence.  He's only half an inch shorter than Adam, but that's not how it feels on stage.  His presence is something he has to work at.  His style is more gentle and fluid, and his intensity is something he worked on - whereas Adam's is natural.  Adam has an incredible sexual magnetism for people, because it appears that he's not trying very hard - and probably he isn't - in terms of projecting the image that he does.  What Will has is a quite different kind of mystery.  It is perhaps a different kind of erotic appeal, but Will's is projected  with greater innocence and a certain spiritual quality that's really remarkable.             
                                                            
             

                                                                   

AM: At what point did you give your dancers things to research?

MB: Quite early on.  They would know their role, or their line-up of roles, and I gave them different things to study or watch.  Fiona Chadwick went away and read some books about the Queen and said, 'I'm more Princess Margaret - Princess Margaret as she would have been if she had become Queen.'  Since Princess Margaret is patron of the Royal Ballet, she had probably met her many times, and Fiona requested the tumbler for the gin, or whatever it is she drinks - not an elegant glass, but a tumbler like the Princess's .  Saranne - who played the Italian princess - I sent away to watch Anita Ekberg in  La Dolce Vita.  I said, 'I want that business of kicking the shoes off - an Italian woman getting up on a table and getting a bit of sexual energy going - that sort of a feel.'  So she went away and watched that.  The Princess of Monaco (Kirsty Tapp) went away and watched a documentary on Grace Kelly.  In the Soho scene, Will Kemp was the Pop Idol.  Because it was British retro, I asked him to play Cliff Richard.  That foxed him; he would rather have been Elvis Presley.  He enjoyed playing the Italian Princess's lover in Act Three, because he had been having a relationship with an Italian girl in the Royal Ballet and had visited Italy, so he knew the way of life and enjoyed the Mediterranean jealousy of the character.  Each had their thing. Maxine Fone, who was going to be the ballerina in the little Moth Ballet, watched the oldest choreography we could find on video.

AM: One of the four big swans in your original rehearsals was Will Kemp.  Within two or three months, you had him dancing the Swan.  Was he the only dancer in the original company - apart from Adam Cooper and Fiona Chadwick - to emerge from ballet school?

MB: Yes, and he was the only Royal Ballet School product to audition, too.  At that point, we couldn't get anyone from the ballet world at all.  It certainly wasn't considered a viable option at that point for anyone at the Royal Ballet School.  It was entirely Will's initiative that led him to audition for us; he was still just seventeen.  Since then, we have had many trained ballet students and many professional ballet dancers audition for us, probably owing to his example; but a high proportion of them aren't right for us.  They're too 'ballet' - too precious and refined - they don't use their torsos enough, or their weight.   Those we take into the company tend to be the exceptions in those respects. As a dancer, Will fitted right in from the first.

                   
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Link to excerpts on Matthew Bourne's Cinderella
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Excerpts from:           Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures

This book is done in interview style with Alastair Macaulay (AM) in conversation with       Matthew Bourne (MB).


                                                     
~ Swan Lake ~


AM
:  We've spoken of the casts with whom you created Swan Lake in 1995.  During these following three years, in fact, the role of the Prince has always been played by one or other of the same two dancers:  Scott Ambler or Ben Wright.  However, there have been a few other interpreters of the roles of the Swan and the Queen. Of these, perhaps the two most important were Will Kemp as the Swan and Lynn Seymour as the Queen.

MB:  Will was around from the beginning, and was in the background for a lot of rehearsals involving the Swan, though not participating.  He injured himself just before Swan Lake opened at Sadler's Wells, and was devastated by not being able to participate in the production he'd worked so hard on; but he watched every performance from the wings, and just lapped it up.

At the start of 1996, he then learnt the role fully from Adam; they had a very good relationship, and still do.  Will was eighteen, and as a recent graduate of the Royal Ballet School, he felt very much the excitement of learning this big role from Adam, who was still then a principal of the Royal Ballet, and who had received great acclaim for his performance in
Swan Lake.  Will also recognized Adam's generosity and practical good sense; but, even at that age, he found it natural to start doing things his own. way.  By the time he did his first performance, during the British tour in spring, 1996, he seemed to have worked out for himself how he wanted to do it and what he wanted to bring out in it. Obviously, the differences in their techniques and in their styles of dancing make the role feel different anyway; but there were individual inflections and strokes of interpretation in Will which I found very impressive; it never felt like a copycat performance.  We didn't change anything choreographically at all for him; he worked within the existing framework of the role.
AM: Can you say what the difference in quality and movement was?

MB: Adam is more over-powering and more dominant and has a much more powerful presence than Will does overall.  His dancing has more strength and power and, therefore, seems to dominate the Prince much more easily, much more casually.  Just by his presence, he can dominate the whole stage; and he actually looks much taller on stage than he is.  When he walks on, in both Acts Two and Three, he looks enormous - and yet off stage he's the same height as me - not even six foot.  I don't understand that at all. 

Will, by contrast, is slight and boyish, a very different presence.  He's only half an inch shorter than Adam, but that's not how it feels on stage.  His presence is something he has to work at.  His style is more gentle and fluid, and his intensity is something he worked on - whereas Adam's is natural.  Adam has an incredible sexual magnetism for people, because it appears that he's not trying very hard - and probably he isn't - in terms of projecting the image that he does.  What Will has is a quite different kind of mystery.  It is perhaps a different kind of erotic appeal, but Will's is projected  with greater innocence and a certain spiritual quality that's really remarkable.             
                                                            
             

                                                                   

AM: At what point did you give your dancers things to research?

MB: Quite early on.  They would know their role, or their line-up of roles, and I gave them different things to study or watch.  Fiona Chadwick went away and read some books about the Queen and said, 'I'm more Princess Margaret - Princess Margaret as she would have been if she had become Queen.'  Since Princess Margaret is patron of the Royal Ballet, she had probably met her many times, and Fiona requested the tumbler for the gin, or whatever it is she drinks - not an elegant glass, but a tumbler like the Princess's .  Saranne - who played the Italian princess - I sent away to watch Anita Ekberg in  La Dolce Vita.  I said, 'I want that business of kicking the shoes off - an Italian woman getting up on a table and getting a bit of sexual energy going - that sort of a feel.'  So she went away and watched that.  The Princess of Monaco (Kirsty Tapp) went away and watched a documentary on Grace Kelly.  In the Soho scene, Will Kemp was the Pop Idol.  Because it was British retro, I asked him to play Cliff Richard.  That foxed him; he would rather have been Elvis Presley.  He enjoyed playing the Italian Princess's lover in Act Three, because he had been having a relationship with an Italian girl in the Royal Ballet and had visited Italy, so he knew the way of life and enjoyed the Mediterranean jealousy of the character.  Each had their thing. Maxine Fone, who was going to be the ballerina in the little Moth Ballet, watched the oldest choreography we could find on video.

AM: One of the four big swans in your original rehearsals was Will Kemp.  Within two or three months, you had him dancing the Swan.  Was he the only dancer in the original company - apart from Adam Cooper and Fiona Chadwick - to emerge from ballet school?

MB: Yes, and he was the only Royal Ballet School product to audition, too.  At that point, we couldn't get anyone from the ballet world at all.  It certainly wasn't considered a viable option at that point for anyone at the Royal Ballet School.  It was entirely Will's initiative that led him to audition for us; he was still just seventeen.  Since then, we have had many trained ballet students and many professional ballet dancers audition for us, probably owing to his example; but a high proportion of them aren't right for us.  They're too 'ballet' - too precious and refined - they don't use their torsos enough, or their weight.   Those we take into the company tend to be the exceptions in those respects. As a dancer, Will fitted right in from the first.