KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words


*Have you 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)


*I'd like 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)


*Kate, you 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 wonderful.

So that's another thing you do, besides writing songs and going to sleep.

Yeah. [Laughs] (1979, Personal Call)


*I mean, 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 choreography?

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 locations?

Yes, they're all stages and extremely good designers. (1985, MTV)


*And the dancing is amazing. Does somebody do your choreography or do you do that yourself?

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 Weekly)


*You have 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 Saturday Morning)


*Is your 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 Morning Show)


Are you going to incorporate that skill [Dancing] at all in any concerts.

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 dance?

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 manage.

[Massive applause.] (1990 kate bush convention)

Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Subjects / Dance