The choreographer/dancer also worked with and mentored Kate Bush
Lindsay Kemp was many things: a mime artist, a choreographer, a dancer, and an actor (portraying that fantastically camp pub landlord in the original Wicker Man). But he was best known for his work with David Bowie and Kate Bush, both of whom he tutored before going on to work with them.
Now, the artist with such an influential role in the young singers’ careers, has died in Italy aged 80. The news was broken yesterday (August 25) in a Facebook post by director Nendie Pinto-Duschinsky, who was working on a film with Kemp, Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance.
The post emphasises Kemp’s ongoing happiness and activity up to the point of his death, saying “It was very sudden, and he had the perfect day rehearsing with his students, about to work more on his memoirs, about to go on tour”.
In a memorial penned for The Guardian following his Facebook post, Pinto-Duschinsky also outlines some of the other names who were tutored by or worked with Kemp, including the acclaimed ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, artist Joan Miró, and Mick Jagger.
Kemp first met Bowie as a student in 1966, going on to cast him in his first stage performance, Pierrot In Turquoise, and helping him to create and perform the stage performance for Ziggy Stardust. The mime artist also showcased dancers from his troupe in Bowie’s iconic “John, I'm Only Dancing” video by Mick Rock. Kate Bush, who says Kemp taught her to dance, asked him to perform in her short musical, The Line, The Cross And The Curve.
Other celebrities have reached out to share their experiences with Lindsay Kemp, including Boy George (who said “he was like a beautiful gay wizard buddha”).