Christopher Bruce

 

By:Ashlee Zlotnick

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Christopher was born on the 3rd of October 1945, in Britain.  He established himself in such a way that he has become one of the UK’S foremost artists. His dance career did not start off the way most people’s dance career start.

When Christopher was a mere child he contracted Polio which damaged his legs. His father suggested that he start dance classes as it would help with the healing of his legs as well as give Christopher a great career opportunity if he wanted to pursue it beyond the classroom. He started straight away at the Benson Stage Academy in Scarborough. He learnt Ballet, tap and acrobatic dance. In 1963 thirteen year old Bruce was accepted into Ballet Rambert School. In 1966 Norman Morrice, the Artist Director at the time, reformed the company to include contemporary work into their repertoire.

Christopher became one of the leading dancers in the Rambert Company as he was an intense and dramatic performer. He is most famous for the roles in the faun in Nijisky’s L’apres-midi d’un foune and Pierrot in Tetley’s Pierrot Lunaire. He danced with guest performers from other companies as well. The last huge role that he was seen in was in 1988 for the London Festival Ballet.

His choreography was inspired and encouraged by the Rambert Company. Christopher was one of the last choreographer’s that was nurtured by the founding member of the company, Marie Rambert. In 1969 Christopher created his first piece of work, George Friferic. After that, twenty more pieces of work was created by Christopher for the Company. He was the Associate Director and Choreographer. More and more people were falling in love with his work and he was becoming more and more in demand as a choreographer all over the world. Due to this he built relationships with the Nederlands Dans theatre, Royal Danish Ballet and the Houston Ballet. He has not only choreographed for ballets but musicals, operas, films and television as well. Christopher became the director of the Rambert Dance Company between 1994-2002.  As director he commissioned many unique and new works by world renounced choreographers such as Merce Cunningham and Jiri Kilian.

In 1998 he was awarded a CBE for a lifetime of service to dance due to him being one of Britain’s leading choreographer in both Ballet and Contemporary.

Christopher is a very unique choreographer as he did not like to provide his audience with program or notes on his work as he wanted his audience to interpret his work in their own way. His work usually has a very clear theme and strong sense of character yet at the same time had room for individual interpretation. Christopher once said, “In a sense, my ballets have a narrative quality or some kind of subject matter. However, its often not a specific one-line narrative, but a layer of images which form a kind of collage and leave room for the audience’s imagination to work.” His themes for his work would often follow a political or social theme. He used to re-create the political or social issue in an abstract way rather than a literal way.

The music he used varied from classic to folk to popular tunes. For the Rooster (1991) he used music from Rolling Stone. He made sure that the costume, lighting and design contributed to creating his masterpiece but at the same time did not distract one from the choreography.

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