Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
ever done gymnastics or something like that?
- I did a sort of gym class at school. I've just always loved sport
and movement, it's just such a great feeling, you know?
Yeah. (1978, Countdown)
to ask you - what made you think of starting your moving/dancing?
- What, moving and dancing while I'm singing?
- Well that was really inspired by a person called Lindsay Kemp, who I
saw a few years ago in an amazing stage show and I'd just never seen anything
like it. This guy was moving without saying anything, and the whole audience
were just completely lost, they were just mad over him. And I'd never seen
anything so inspiring, and I thought that maybe if I could move and sing at the
same time, maybe I'd be able to get across that sort of emotion. It's just
something I'm trying. [Laughs].
Did you train at school or anything?
- Ah, yeah. I trained for a couple of years at a dance school, after
that. But it wasn't really mime, it was more modern dance. But I learned an
awful lot from that, I really did.
Oh. I'd like to ask you some more questions. You know, if I want to
start, going to movement lessons, where would I start from?
- Well the best thing to do is have a look in theatrical papers like
Time Out and that. They do a lot of good courses that are pretty
cheap. Places in London and all over the country, I think. Where you can just
go along with students. There are some good schools, but you need
qualifications for a lot of them. So personally, I'd go for the courses, cause
they're more inspiring anyway.
Oh, I see. (1979, Personal Call)
feel that physical discipline is very important, don't you, why do you think?
- Ah, it's very important, because our bodies are what we live in. And
we keep our homes clean, so we should keep our bodies clean. And I think
exercise wakes you up. I mean, if I don't do any exercise my brain is asleep
for most of the day. And if you just do a few sorta you know one, two, three
[Makes push up sounds and laughs] you feel much better, it's really
So that's another thing you do, besides writing songs and going to
- Yeah. [Laughs] (1979, Personal Call)
this whole sort of... The whole music, the concept of your music, and also the
energy and the activity that you're involved with it - the choreography
involved, though, is so... It's such an important part, obviously, of your
whole show. And have you ever thought of doing ballet? Have you ever done
ballet, I mean have you ever sort of get into a musical, something like that?
- I did ballet for a year, on and off, when I was at my dancing
school. And I found it very hard to actually get on with the people in the
room, that was really my big problem. It's such an important thing for a dancer
because it is the classical basics and there's no way [Of] getting
around it. You know, if you want to have good technique, then you really do
have to do ballet. And so for many technical points I'm not really correct when
I dance. But I do feel that dance is something that is very free and you can't
tie it down. It's techniques, but it's also emotion and for me the emotion is
the thing that really matters. You can have technique, you know, that's superb
and yet be as flat as a board. And yet, there are children that have never
trained at dancing, and yet they make you want to cry, because they move like
angels. They're beautiful, they're so free and they're just purely stating what
they're feeling and it's so delightful because they're enjoying everything they
do. And I think that's what dance is about, the enjoyment of that feeling of
movement and freedom, it's like suddenly breaking through a barrier. (1980,
Never For Ever Debut)
Did you start out dancing before you became a singer?
- No, when I um... I left school at ah... I was about sixteen,
seventeen. And I actually left school with the decision that I wanted to throw
myself into the world of music and [Swings arm] go forth and get into
it. And I felt that I had to work in order to find a way in. And I took up
dance really to sorta fill up the day, give me some kind of discipline, and a
way to get to meet people and become independent.
Really, like does it take a lot of time? Do you work out a lot?
What has it done for you?
- It did an incredible amount, especially when I started back then. I
had a recording contract, but I didn't
know when I was going to be making the first album, and I had, in a way, time
to kill and use until that point. And I had very little experience... certainly
the business, I mean coming straight from school. And I had almost two clear
years of going to the dance school, learning to dance, getting more control
over my body, and writing. Just using the time generally as a kind of
foundation for what was to happen next when the album was released and the
single was very successful. I think without having used the time like that,
things could've been very different for me. I was very lucky.
Do you choreograph all the clips then? Like `` sat in your lap''
and `` suspended in gaffa'' and `` wuthering heights", those all are your
- Yes, and those ones that you mentioned particulary. I worked with a
chirographer when we toured and I was using two dancers and he was involved
with integrating the routines between the three of us. And the `` Running Up
That Hill'' dance performance, I worked with a lady chirographer called Dianne
Grey, and I really enjoyed that. It was really exciting to work with someone
else and get that feedback. And her experience with my sorta non-technical
ideas were a very good combination, we had a lot of fun.
Where did you shoot some of these? Like `` suspended in gaffa''
it's like in a barn or something. Are these all sound stages or do you use
- Yes, they're all stages and extremely good designers. (1985,
dancing is amazing. Does somebody do your choreography or do you do that
- Well, for the tour I had a lot of help from a man called Anthony Van
Laast. But for a lot of the videos, most of the choreography is mine, yeah.
Cause I know a lot of girls would like to dance like... And they
say ``wooo, I wish I could dance like kate bush does.'' I mean all this sort of
movement. Does that come from anywhere, did you see anyone and say ``that's how
I'd like to dance.'' I mean, did you model your movements on a particular
dancer or not.
- I don't think I actually modeled the movements, but I've definitely
been inspired by particular people and when you see people that are really
great, you want to be like them. But I think the thing about dance and music is
that it's very much an expression of you from within. So even if you learn to
dance or sing, there's always that thing from you, which is really what it's
about, I think.
There's hope for me yet.
- Oh, definitely! (1982, Saturday Superstore)
- When I first started, I had all the time in the world to study dance
and write songs. But now I have to stop dancing when the music takes over. I
don't have the energy for both.
- I might dance intensely for four to six months then not for a couple
of year... so when I come back to it, it's painful both physically and
mentally. (1983, Australian Women's
some very exotic body language to, where did that come from? Did you have
special training for that?
- Yes, I did train. But when I left school, I knew that I wanted to do
music, but I also knew that their was something missing from the expression.
And I was very lucky just to see an add in a paper. I went to see a show, and
it was Lindsay Kemp, and really I'd never seen anything like it before. And
what he was doing was he was using movement without any sound at all, something
I'd never experienced, and he was expressing so much, probably more most people
would express with their mouths. And it suddenly dawned on me that there was a
whole new world of expression that I'd hadn't even realized. And so..
Do you still do a lot of mime?
- Yes, I try to, yes.
You still train at it, do you?
- It's very hard to get the time, that's the main problem, because I
find I'm in the studio or writing most of the time. So fitting everything in is
in fact the biggest problem and it's very frustrating sometimes because there's
so many things that you want to do, but because of limitations you can't fit it
all in. (1981, Friday Night And
dancing still an important aspect of your career, and how much practice do you
do a day?
- Yes, it is still important. The problem is when I'm making albums I
can't dance, as well. So I have to wait until I've finished the project before
I can start again. Um, probably do about three to four hours a day when I
haven't got anything else on. The last few months I've been getting back into
it. It feels a great again.
Well that is a long time, really.
- Well it's not constant class, we do a class maybe an hour, an hour
and a half, and we just [Do] routine numbers, so it's much slower, but
we're still moving and trying things out. (1982, Unknown BBC interview)
Wanted to know if you've been influenced by mime artists like
marcel marceau or lindsay kemp?
- Well, I've definitely been influenced by Lindsay Kemp, because he's
one of my heroes and he was my teacher for a while. Mercel Marceau. I admire
his stuff, but it's a little too, staid for me. You know, it's the art of
illusion, it's not really the actual showing of
emotion, which is really what Lindsay
teaches. And for me that's perfect because it's what music and any form of art
is about, it's emotion, it's from inside. (1978, Ask Aspel)
You're about to go out on a concert tour of theatres. But a lot of
ladies, sometime in there career, get pushed towards the glamour end of the
market, the cabaret circuit. Does that thought abhor you at all?
Or appall you I should say.
- Yes, I'm really not into cabaret, I must admit. (1979, Saturday
Are you going to incorporate that skill [Dancing] at all in
- That's something I've yet to find out for myself. And I can say,
``oh, yeah I want to do this and this.'' When you actually start working it out
you find that you have very obvious limitations. You know, like you can't leap
up into the air twenty times and keep singing a high ``A'' You know, you'd soon
explode into little pieces. But, I'm going to try to do something like that. I
think theatre is a very important part of concerts. (1979, Swap Shop)
One other aspect of your dance intrigues me, since you have created
a style that visually complements modern music, and that is your own
preferences and influences for dance styles in this country and abroad.
- I don't really avidly follow contemporary dance styles - Lindsay
Kemp definitely was the starting point for me, although I like to think that I
don't visually copy.
- What I try to do is work in front of mirrors - and then without -
whilst the music is playing, and see what happens. This helps me to create my
own choreography best. Obviously, a lot of my movements come from my training -
during that time Robin Kovak certainly had a big influence on me at the Dance
Centre. She certainly gave me that strength to develop my own style.
- I now do my dance rehearing in a small studio room near my home, and
have a set group of dancers that I can call upon to work with. My musicians
haven't changed much either, that work with me. (1982, Electronics Music Maker)
Obviously you are someone who feels that the world of dance and the
world of rock can coexist. But does dance absorb rock better than rock absorbs
- I think there is a very basic logic to that, in that if you dance,
it's very, very unusual to dance without music. Dance is always something that
is done to music, this is what dance is about - you know, the rhythm. Even if
it's just someone tapping out rhythms on a drum. That is, music is sound, and
dance works hand in hand with sound. And I think music can stand on its own,
but in some cases what it makes you want to do is dance!
I think `` running up that hill'' is one of the better examples of
how dance can be used well in rock music.
- Well, it's very nice that you think that, because very much what we
were trying to achieve was to make it a serious piece of dance, which I didn't
feel I'd done enough of up until that point. I'd played around with dance, but
in a very... sort of theatrical way. And in some ways it was a sort of
saying-goodbye to that dancing side of me, by doing it in a very pure way. It
is a very pure dance video without any theatre or anything attached, because I
feel very much a shift now from dance into film imagery, so they are two very different
things. Not that dance couldn't still be incorporated, but it's not the same
attitude. (1987, MuchMusic)
- It was such a very important part of my life. When I started music I
think it was responsible for keeping me sane, because training as a dancer
really kept me in good spirits amid all the crazy stuff that happened when I
first became popular. But I guess I've gotten more and more into filmic
imagery, and I don't really keep fit like I used to. (1990, Los Angeles Times)
- But, in some ways I think I'm trying to get back to a lot of things
that were my roots. I've started dancing again, which I never thought I'd
[Massive applause.] (1990 kate bush convention)
Cloudbusting / Subjects / Dance