Lindsay Kemp

Cult Dancer, mime artist, choreographer, actor, teacher and director, Lindsay Kemp, attended
Bradford College of Art in the 1950s.

Lindsay was born in South Shields in 1938. His sailor father was lost at sea in 1940 and he was brought up by his mother, who encouraged her young son’s early flamboyance, outlining his eyes with burnt cork and having him dance on the kitchen table for the neighbours.

When he was 8 he was sent away to boarding school for the sons of merchant seaman in Berkshire. He later reckoned he survived a tough school because, but perhaps it was despite, he entertained fellow pupils by performing exotic dances and telling extravagant stories.

Rejected by dance schools when he left school 8 years later Lindsay came to Bradford where his mother had now moved. He studied at Bradford College of Art and became a friend of David Hockney before moving to London and taking classes with the Ballet Rambert, learning dance with Hilde Holger and mime with Marcel Marceau.

Lindsay’s extravagant style excused him from National Service after only a year and he teamed up with a blind dancer from the Ballet Rambert, Jack Birkett aka The Incredible Orlando, touring clubs and working with theatre and dance groups in Europe. He formed his own dance company employing David Bowie (as a performer) and Kate Bush (as a wardrobe assistant). Although he and Bowie’s relationship cooled in 1972 he staged and performed in David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust concerts and along with Jack Birkett performed in the John, I’m Only Dancing video.

Lindsay’s memorable dance performances include Pierrot In Turqouise, Turquoise Pantomime, Crimson Pantomime, Clowns, Legends, Flowers, Salome, Mr Punch’s Pantomime, Duende, Nijinsky The Fool, Façade, The Big Parade, Alice, Onnagata, Cinderella, Varieté and Dream Dances. He also performed in Parades Gone By and Cruel Garden for Ballet Rambert.

Lindsay's numerous TV and film credits include The Vampire Lovers, Savage Messiah, The Stud, The Wicker Man, Sebastiane, Jubilee, Valentino, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cartoline Italiane, The Line, the Cross & the Curve and Velvet Goldmine. He has also become a teacher and director of opera.

Lindsay now lives in Italy, where he keeps 2 homes.