Christopher Bruce

(b. 1945)

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(b Leicester, 3 Oct. 1945)

British dancer, choreographer, and company director, whose career has been most closely associated with Rambert Dance Company. He studied in Scarborough and at the Rambert School, and joined Ballet Rambert in 1963. He became the company's leading male dancer after its re-formation in 1966, and was acclaimed for his performances in Nijinsky's L'Après-midi d'un faune and as Pierrot in Tetley's Pierrot lunaire. He created roles in Morrice's The Realms of Choice (1965), Hazard (1967), Blind Sight (1969), and That is the Show (1971), and in Tetley's Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain (1968). He also created the role of the poet Lorca in Cruel Garden, which he co-choreographed with Lindsay Kemp for Rambert in 1977. He was associate director of Rambert (1975–9) and associate choreographer (1979–87). He was additionally associate choreographer of London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) between 1986 and 1991) and was appointed resident choreographer of the Houston Ballet in 1989. In 1994 he took over as artistic director of Rambert. A fluent and prolific choreographer, Bruce has been unusually successful in reaching a wide audience, works such as Cruel Garden (with Lindsay Kemp, mus. C. Miranda, 1977), Ghost Dances (mus. S. American folk-songs, 1981), Swansong (mus. Philip Chambon, London Festival Ballet, 1987), and Rooster (mus. The Rolling Stones, Geneva Ballet, 1991) gaining special popularity. His style embraces both classical and modern vocabularies and even when his works do not deal directly with narrative, they have a strongly expressive slant. Some, like Swansong, are overtly political. A list of his other works includes For Those who Die as Cattle (no mus., 1972), There Was a Time (mus. Brian Hodgson, 1972), Unfamiliar Playground (mus. Anthony Hymas, Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, 1974), Ancient Voices of Children (mus. G. Crumb, 1975), Black Angels (mus. G. Crumb, 1976), Echoes of a Night Sky (mus. G. Crumb, 1977), Night with Waning Moon (mus. G. Crumb, 1979), Dancing Day (mus. Holst, 1981), Intimate Pages (mus. Janáček, 1984), Sergeant Early's Dream (mus. folk-songs, 1984), Remembered Dances (mus. Janáček, 1985), Silence is the End of Our Song (Chilean poems, Royal Danish Ballet, 1985), Land (mus. Nordheim, London Festival Ballet, 1985), The Dream is Over (mus. John Lennon, the Cullberg Ballet, 1986), Waiting (mus. Errolyn Wallen, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, 1993), Moonshine (mus. Bob Dylan, Nederlands Dans Theater, 1993), Crossing (mus. Henryk Górecki, 1994), Meeting Point (mus. Michael Nyman, 1995), Quicksilver (mus. Nyman, 1996), God's Plenty (mus. Dominic Muldowney, 1999), a full-length work based on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. He retired from Rambert in 2002 but continued to choreograph, for example creating Three Songs — Two Voices (mus. Jimi Hendrix, arr. Nigel Kennedy) for the Royal Ballet in 2005 and Hush (mus. several) for Houston Ballet in 2006.

Subjects: Dance.

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