Adam Cooper (dancer)

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Adam Cooper
Born (1971-07-22) 22 July 1971 (age 43)
Tooting, London, England
Occupation Actor,choreographer, dancer, and director
Spouse(s) Sarah Wildor
Children Naomi and Mary
Website
www.adam-cooper.com

Adam Cooper (born 22 July 1971) is an English actor, choreographer, dancer and theatre director. He currently works as both a performer and choreographer in musical theatre, and has choreographed and/or starred in award-winning shows such as On Your Toes, Singin' in the Rain and Grand Hotel. He began his professional career as a dancer of classical ballet and contemporary ballet and is a former Principal of the Royal Ballet, a major international ballet company based in London. He became internationally recognized for creating the lead role of Swan/Stranger in Matthew Bourne's contemporary dance production of the ballet Swan Lake, a role that was briefly featured in the 2000 film Billy Elliot.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Adam Cooper was born 22 July 1971 in Tooting, London to a musician father and a social worker mother.[3] He has an older brother, Simon Cooper, who is also a dancer and they trained at the same schools.[4] From a young age, he and his brother, studied tap and ballet at the Jean Winkler School of Dance in Tooting. They also played various musical instruments and sang in a choir. At age 11, Cooper won a place at ArtsEd, a specialist performing arts school in London where he studied classical ballet, character, modern, tap, jazz and contemporary dance, as well as singing, acting and stage combat. After completing his secondary education at the school, aged 16, he was accepted into the Royal Ballet Upper School.[5][6][7] At his graduation performance he played the lead role of Young Man in Ashton's Les Deux Pigeons (ballet) (Two Pigeons).[8]

Cooper married Sarah Wildor in 2000.[8][9] She was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet.[10][11] and is now an Olivier-nominated actress.[12][13][14] Their first daughter, Naomi, was born in 2008[8][15] and they now have a younger daughter named Mary.[16]

Dance[edit]

Royal Ballet Company[edit]

In 1989 Cooper joined the Royal Ballet Company and was quickly promoted to First Artist and Soloist in 1991, First Soloist 1993 and Principal Dancer in 1994.[17][18] He was recognized for his performances in the classic as well as dramatic and contemporary ballet works, and he excelled in playing cruel but sexy villains.[19][20][21] While with the Royal Ballet he worked extensively with choreographers Kenneth MacMillan[22] [23][24][25][26][27] and William Tuckett[28] partnering all the leading ballerinas of the Company[29] including Sylvie Guillem[30] and Darcey Bussell.[31][32] He also performed works choreographed by George Balanchine,[33] Ashley Page, Folkine, Bronislava Nijinska, Mikhail Barishnikov, Christopher Wheeldon, Matthew Hart, and William Forsythe.[34] He left the Royal Ballet in 1997 to freelance and expand his career opportunities.[8][35]

Adventures in Motion Pictures[edit]

In 1995 Matthew Bourne recruited Cooper to join Adventures in Motion Pictures (now renamed New Adventures) for his radically re-interpreted production of Swan Lake (Bourne).[36][37] Together they created the basic Swan movement motifs[38] and Cooper also contributed to the choreography and casting. Cooper performed the dual Swan/Stranger role (the analog of the white and black swan in the classic version) all over the world and his performances won him international acclaim, multiple awards and a strong fan following.[3][39][40][41][42][43][44] Cooper's performance was described as one of "tremendous excitement, subtlety,emotional depth and sheer sexiness".[45] The popular press embraced him and his photo appeared in many magazines.[46][47]

For his performances as the Swan/Stranger he received the Time Out Award in 1995, the Evening Standard Dance Award in 1997 and the 1999 Astaire Award for Best Dancer. He was also nominated for the 1999 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He appeared briefly at the end of the 2000 film Billy Elliot and, in the guise of The Swan, he represented the accomplished dancer that Billy became when he grew up.[48][49] A DVD recording of the Swan Lake (Bourne) with Cooper and the original cast was issued in 1996 and can be seen on Youtube.com.[50] Excerpts from Swan Lake (Bourne) appeared on the 1998 Royal Variety TV program and he repeated his Swan/Stranger role for the TV audience.[51] His performance in the Billy Elliot film and in the Swan Lake (Bourne) DVD inspired at least one of the boys playing Billy Elliot in the stage production to join New Adventures in the hopes of performing The Swan role.[52] In 2003 Cooper once again played the Swan/Stranger when AMP toured in Japan, and there was enormous enthusiasm for his performance[53] and he acquired a large number of new fans.

In 1997 Cooper was invited by Bourne to take part in the initial planning of AMT's next show, Cinderella.[54] This version of the dance took place in London during the Blitz, but used the same Prokofiev music as the classic version Cinderella (Prokofiev). Cooper helped to create and performed the role of Pilot (the Prince analog) in the initial 1997 London run and also played the Angel (the Godmother analog), and Sarah Wildor was his partner when she played the title role.[55][56][57] The production was also performed in Los Angeles in 1999.[58][59]

Freelance Dancer and Choreographer[edit]

In 1998 Cooper worked with the Scottish Ballet to choreograph Just Scratching the Surface.[60] He also performed the Hoffman role in their production of Tales of Hoffman.[61][62] Since then he has gone on to choreograph for other ballet companies and for musical theatre.

Cooper appeared as a dancer and choreographer at the Exeter Festival for 3 years, heading evenings of dance co-produced with Iain Webb.[63] In 2002 Cooper and Sarah Wildor presented a tribute to Sir Kenneth MacMillan at Exeter[64][65] and in Japan. The Adam Cooper Company represented the UK at the Washington International Ballet Festival in 2003 performing a revival of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Sea of Troubles.[66][67]

Cooper has danced as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet frequently since leaving the company, performing lead roles in Romeo and Juliet, Ondine[68] and Onegin.[69][70][71][72] and others.[73] In 2002 he created the role of Badger in William Tuckett's Wind in the Willows.[74][75] In 2004 created the title role in Tuckett's The Soldier’s Tale,[76] which he reprised in 2005 and later performed in Japan in 2009.[77]

In 2005 he realized a long-held vision with his own production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a mixture of theater and dance. Co-directed and designed by Lez Brotherston, the production was choreographed by and starred Cooper in the lead role of Viscomte de Valmont. The piece premiered in Japan early in the year[78][79] before a summer season at Sadler’s Wells, with a cast which included Simon Cooper and Sarah Wildor.[80][81][82][83]

In 2009 Cooper returned to contemporary dance, joining Russell Maliphant for 2:4:10- an evening of works celebrating Maliphant's 10 years as a choreographer.[84][85]

Musical Theater[edit]

2002 to 2010[edit]

In Cooper’s first venture into the musical theatre he was both the choreographer and actor (playing the lead role of Junior Dolan) in On Your Toes. In 2002 it played at Leicester Haymarket, and then was presented at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2003 with the addition of Sarah Wildor in the role of Vera Baronova.[86][87][88] He was lauded by both the critics and the audience for his contributions and was rewarded with the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography and Most Popular Dancer.[89][90][91][92] In 2004 the production also had a successful tour in Japan.[93][94]

In 2002 Cooper provided the choreography for the Swedish production of Garbo-the Musical.[95][96] Cooper also played the lead role of Don Lockwood and choreographed Paul Kerryson's Singin' in the Rain (musical) in 2004 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre,[97] Leicester Haymarket and Chichester Festival Theatre, and was nominated for Critic's Circle Award for Choreography of a Musical.[98] He was nominated for a Lawrence Olivier Award for his choreography of the 2004 Grand Hotel for The Donmar Warehouse.[99] The production won the 2005 Olivier Award in the category of Outstanding Musical Production.[100]

In 2005, Cooper and Wildor performed a two-person play, Wallflowering, at the Seven Oaks Playhouse. Their roles were primarily dialogue with intermittent bits of ballroom dancing.[101][102][103] Following this, he designed the choreography for the revival of Promises, Promises at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.[104][105][106]

In 2006 Cooper appeared alongside Neil Morrissey[107] and Patrick Swayze playing Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls at The Piccadilly Theatre, London[108][109][110] and in 2007 he provided the musical staging for Side by Side by Sondheim for The Venue Theatre, London.[111][112]

2008 saw Cooper's return to the stage, creating the role of Ramon in Zorro the Musical for the UK tour.[113][114] He also played the Tin Man in the Royal Festival Hall’s summer staging of the musical The Wizard of Oz,[115] after which he turned his attention back to choreography. First, he choreographed Carousel for director Lindsay Posner which had a very successful UK tour[116] and West End run at the Savoy Theatre.[117][118][119] Then Cooper was asked by Paul Kerryson to direct and choreograph the first new show, Simply Cinderella, at the brand new Curve Theatre, Leicester.[120][121][122][123]

In 2009 Cooper unveiled Shall We Dance at Sadler’s Wells, an ambitious all-dance show based on Richard Rodgers’ songs. For this production he was the box-office star, director, creator, librettist and choreographer.[124][125][126][127][128][129] Later that year, he provided choreography for Lindsay Posner's production of the Donizetti opera Roberto Devereux at the Holland Park Theatre, Kensington, London.[130]

In 2010 he choreographed Imagine This for Plymouth’s Theatre Royal.[131]

Cooper co-starred in the touring stage version of Irving Berlin's White Christmas during the Christmas season in 2009[132] 2010[133] and 2011.[134] He played the role of Phil Davis.[135][136][137][138]

2011 to the Present[edit]

Cooper was the above-the-title star playing the role of Don Lockwood in Jonathan Church’s highly successful 2011-2013 production of Singin' in the Rain, with choreography by Andrew Wright. It's first sold out run was at the Chichester Festival Theatre[139][140] and then a longer run at West End's Palace Theatre.[141][142][143] He also performed the iconic Singin' in the Rain scene on the Royal Variety Performance TV show.[16][144][145] The stage show was nominated for the Best Musical Revival and several other Lawrence Olivier and other awards.[146] A cast recording of Singin' in the Rain was issued in 2012.[147] Good Mornin' was performed at the 2012 Olivier Awards Ceremony.[148] The show, starring Cooper, is playing in Japan during the month of November in 2014.[149]

In 2013 Cooper choreographed Matthew White’s well-received production of Candide at the Menier Chocolate Factory.[150] Reviewer Sam Smith says "Adam Cooper’s choreography is racy, and the production finds a particular affinity with the ‘Surrealism’ of the piece."[151] In late 2013 Cooper was invited to Denmark to choreograph Daniel Bohr's Danish language version of Evita (musical) at the Det Ny Teater (The New Theater) in Copenhagen. The show premiered in January of 2014. For Evita, Adam Cooper created a choreography with continuous tango elements merged into the rest of the dance.[152][153]

Cooper provided the "energetic" 60's choreography for Sunny Afternoon Musical at the Hampstead Theatre in London. The show ran from April to end of May in 2014.[154][155] It is slated to transfer to The Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly The Comedy Theatre) at the West End in the fall of 2014.[156]

A more frequently updated list of Cooper's activities is on the Diamond Management's website.[157]

Films and TV[edit]

  • Bourne to Dance (2001) TV Movie (himself)[159][160]
  • Billy Elliot (2000) Arts Council of England, BBC Films, Working Title Films (Billy, Aged 25)[161]
  • The Sandman (2000) Channel 4 TV Movie
  • Dance Ballerina Dance (1998) BBC2 TV (himself)[164]
  • Swan Lake (Bourne)(1998) PBS Great Performances TV Series with Adventures in Motion Pictures (Swan/Stranger)[165]
  • The South Bank show: Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion Pictures (1997) TV Documentary (himself)[167]
  • Gala Tribute to Tchaikovsky (1993) TV Special (Principal Dancer)[169]
  • Winter Dreams (1992) BBC TV with the Royal Ballet (Staff Captain Vassily Vasilyevich Solyony)[170]
  • La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty (ballet), Winter Gala with Royal Ballet for BBC TV
  • Prince of the Pagodas (1990) with the Royal Ballet
  • Merry Wives of Windsor'’ (1982) BBC TV (fairy)[171]

Other[edit]

(2000) National Portrait Gallery (London), portrait of Adam Cooper by Stuart Pearson Wright oil on gesso on oak panel, NPG 6542[172]

(2002) Patron of London's Language of DanceCentre.[173]

(2014) Imperial Classical Ballet Faculty Patrons, Adam Cooper and Sarah Wildor[174]

Awards[edit]

(1988) Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition[175]

(1989) Professional Level Prize @ Prix de Lausanne[176]

(1995) Time Out Award[177]

(1997) Evening Standard Award for his performance as The Swan in AMP’s Swan Lake[178]

(1999) Astaire Award for outstanding Male Dancer for his performance as The Swan in AMP’s Swan Lake[179]

(1999) Nominated for Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award for the Broadway Season of Swan Lake[180]

(2002) Nominated for Best Male Dancer by the Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for his performances with the Royal Ballet and On Your Toes.[157][181]

(2003) Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for Best Choreography for On Your Toes[182]

(2003) Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for Most Popular Dancer.[157][182]

(2004) Nominated by Critics' Circle National Dance Awards for Best Choreography (Musical Theater) for Singin' in the Rain[98]

(2005) Nominated for a Lawrence Olivier Award for choreography of the 2004 Grand Hotel for The Donmar Warehouse.[99]

References[edit]

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