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Christopher Bruce Essay

2297 words - 10 pages

Christopher Bruce is a very well-known British choreographer and performer who is regarded as one of Britain’s leading choreographers. Fusing his unique dance talent and his insightful knowledge of audiences, allows him to excel as one of Britain’s greatest living choreographers.

Bruce was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom in October 1945. Bruce suffered from Poliomyelitis (Polio) and therefore his father decided that he should start dance in order to strengthen his legs and possibly pursue a career as a dancer.

Dance training

His early dance training, which included tap, ballet and acrobatic dancing, took place at the Benson Stage Academy. Many features of ...view middle of the document...

Today, Rambert Dance Company is regarded as one of Britain’s most successful contemporary dance companies along with its worldly reputation.

The year 1977 brought about the appointment of Bruce as the associate director of Ballet Rambert. For the next 10 years, as the associate choreographer, Bruce created more than twenty works for the company. Coinciding with his duties as the associate director of Ballet Rambert, Bruce was also appointed as the associate choreographer for a number of other dance companies, including the English National Ballet. His role as associate choreographer at Houston Ballet preceded his appointment in 1994 as the artistic director at Rambert Dance Company. He remained artistic director of Rambert Dance Company until 2002.


Bruce is mainly influenced by musicians, composers and his own appreciation of music. Those who influenced his style of dance include Marie Rambert, who provided him with a solid dance foundation and encouraged Bruce to utilise theatricality. Personal, social and political themes are more than often reflected through his dances, as a result of his own apprehensions. However, Bruce does neither intentionally nor initially gravitate towards choreographing a dance with the main aim of making a statement. Instead, his first priority is movement and if it may be that he is also able to deal with certain issues, then he may very well do so. Many of his pieces have a strong emotional undertone. Starting points for his choreographic process include paintings, music, global events, literature and poetry. Human rights is another recurring theme of his dances. In the 70’s, the main influence of Bruce’s work originated from South America and the government in Chile.

Choreographic style

Bruce is deemed as a contemporary choreographer although his style of dance encompasses contemporary dance, classical ballet, modern dance and traditional folk dance as seen in Ghost Dances. The combination of all these dance styles gives his choreography universality. During his contemporary dance training, Bruce was also exposed to the Martha Graham technique; consequently Bruce’s choreography incorporates the Martha graham technique. Hence the strong use of the back and a low centre of gravity became key elements of his choreographic pieces. Powerful imagery and pure aesthetics are key aspects of Bruce’s choreography; furthermore almost all of his dances have a distinct thematic base or narrative. His use of narrative stemmed from his training at Rambert.

Ghost Dances

Ghost Dances is based on the political issue regarding Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. Bruce’s influence whilst choreographing Ghost Dances was to capture the suffering of innocent people who were caught up in the violence. Pinochet's bloody coup and the political oppression in Chile were his primary influences of Ghost Dances. Human rights have definitely provided Bruce with inspiration to create Ghost Dances. Bruce also wanted to portray...

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