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Lindsay Kemp in 1979.

Lindsay Kemp is a British dancer, actor, teacher, mime artist and choreographer.

Born in South Shieldsmarker on May 3 1938, Kemp was raised in Yorkshiremarker and attended Bradford Art College before studying dance with Hilde Holger and mime with Marcel Marceau.

Kemp formed his own dance company in the early sixties and first attracted attention with an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in 1968. Despite thirty years of worldwide touring with his company and the occasional film and television appearances, Kemp is best known by devotees of Kate Bush and David Bowie, both former students and, briefly, members of Kemp's company (Bowie as a performer, Bush as a wardrobe assistant).

Kemp’s style of performance, a unique and seductive blend of Butoh, Mime, Burlesque, Drag and Music Hall, has at different times been described as fascinating, colourful and self-indulgent, but rarely fails to attract critical acclaim and a loyal fanbase. His many stage performances include Pierrot In Turqouise, Turquoise Pantomime, Crimson Pantomime, Clowns, Legends, Flowers, Salome, Mr Punch's Pantomime, A Midsummer Night's Deam, Duende, Nijinsky The Fool, Facade, The Big Parade, Alice, Onnagata, Cinderella, Varieté, Dream Dances, and, for Ballet Rambert, Parades Gone By (1975) and Cruel Garden (1977). He staged and performed in David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust concerts at London's Rainbow Theatre[[ in August 1972, and, with Jack Birkett , appears in the promotional video for Bowie's single "[[John, I'm Only Dancing" (dir. Mick Rock). Kemp’s film roles include a supporting role in the Kate Bush short film The Line, the Cross & the Curve (1994), a dancer and cabaret performer in Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane (1976) and Jubilee (1977) respectively, a pantomime dame in Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine (1998) and the wonderfully camp pub landlord Alder MacGregor in Anthony Shaffer's The Wicker Man (1973).

During the early 1970s, Kemp was a popular and inspirational teacher of dance/mime with a regular two and a half hour session at the Dance Centre in Floral Streetmarker, Covent Gardenmarker. This was in the days before the Dance Centre became an up-market private club, and anyone could and did drop in. Classes were sometimes taken by Lindsay's unsighted friend Jack Birkett (a.k.a. "The Incredible Orlando") whose flamboyance and mastery was such that uninitiated newcomers could go through a whole session without realising that they were being taught (and corrected) by a blind teacher. It was said that Lindsay had "saved" Birkett from despair by re-training him after he lost his sight.

Lindsay Kemp now lives near Rome, Italymarker.


  • Jubilee (1977), as Cabaret performer

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream for TV (1985), as Puck

  • Guest appearances in Spanish TV show La Mandrágora in 2005 and 2006

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