Lindsay Kemp (born Cheshire, England, 3 May 1938) is an English dancer, actor, teacher, mime artist and choreographer.
Life and work
Kemp's father, a seaman, was lost at sea in 1940. According to Kemp, he danced from early childhood: "I'd dance on the kitchen table to entertain the neighbours. I mean, it was a novelty in South Shields to see a little boy in full make-up dancing on pointe. Finally it got a bit too much for my mother, and she decided to send me to boarding school at the age of eight, hoping that it would knock some sense into me."
Kemp's mother moved away from South Shields, and Kemp attended Bearwood College, near Wokingham, a school for the sons of merchant seaman. He and his mother later moved to Bradford, Yorkshire where Kemp attended Bradford Art College before studying dance with Hilde Holger and mime with Marcel Marceau. He played the Player Queen in the BBC's Shakespeare Quatercentenary production of Hamlet filmed at Elsinore castle in 1963, which starred Christopher Plummer.
Kemp formed his own dance company in the early sixties and first attracted attention with an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival in 1968.
His stage performances include Pierrot In Turquoise, Flowers, Salome, Mr Punch's Pantomime, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Duende, Nijinsky, Alice, Cenerentola (Cinderella), ''Nijinsky il matto (1983) (translation: 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), most of these works in collaboration with composer Carlos Miranda.
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", directed by 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 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 and mime. David Bowie, Kate Bush were students of Kemp.
In 1979 Kemp left England for Spain and then Italy and by 2002 had homes in Rome and Todi.
Kemp is openly gay.
Kemp in 1979
The Vampire Lovers (1970), as Jester.
Savage Messiah (1972), as Angus Corky.
The Wicker Man (1973), as Alder MacGregor.
The Stud (1974), as Topstar.
Sebastiane (1976), as Dancer.
Jubilee (1977), as Cabaret performer.
Valentino (1977), as Mortician.
A Midsummer Night's Dream for TV (1985), as Puck.
Cartoline italiane (Italian Postcards) (1987).
The Line, the Cross & the Curve (1993), as 'Guide'.
Velvet Goldmine (1998), as Pantomime Dame.
Guest appearances in Spanish TV show La Mandrágora in 2005 and 2006.