©Peter Mares
Born in Bristol 1962, the earliest memory of anything to do with dance is being a spider (Little Miss Muffet ) aged 3 or 4 years. Managed to avoid anything else to do with Dance until early teens by which point family had moved to a small village outside of Doncaster. Attended the Scott Stevenson School of Dance starting with Acrobatics but soon took up tap and modern when realizing that was where the prettiest girls hung out and then graduated to Ballet at the suggestion of the teacher (said had the face for it ?!?). Landed first professional job at 13 in panto, which closed before the end of the run as nobody had been paid due to the producers going bust. Later that year was awarded a RAD scholarship and took 2 classes a week in York under Louise Browne. At 15 started going to the Ilkley Ballet Seminars which were originally set up to allow young Dancers in Yorkshire access to Internationally known teachers. At 16, abandoning ambitions to form the next Goons or Monty Python moved down to London to take up place at the Rambert school of Ballet (the last year to go to the original school at the historic Mercury Theatre, the school transferred to The Place the following year) and was promoted a year after the first term.

Trained under Terence Etheridge (Classical Ballet, Character), William Louther (Contemporary), Brigitte Kelly (Choreography) and Molly Guilfoyle (Mime).While at Rambert performed in "Eugene Onegin" conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich at the Aldeburgh Festival,"West Side Story" with Ayr Intimate Opera, "Hercules" with the Handel Opera at Sadlers Wells and was Guest Principal for both East Midlands Youth Ballet (Colas in "La Fille mal Gardee" and Dr Coppelius in "Coppelia") and Ballet de Camara de Palma de Mallorca (Grand Pas de Deux and Trepak from "The Nutcracker") . An interest in choreography was developed during this time which resulted in 3 pieces being performed at the graduation performances at The Place ("Loop","Hermaphroditus" and "Hieronymus"). Left a lasting impression on the teaching staff by custard pie-ing them on last day.

On graduation in 1981 went straight to Sweden to join the Gothenburg Ballet under the direction of Ulf Gadd, made professional debut as pair of feet in a giant caterpillar. Things improved and by the end of the year was selected to dance the title role in Mats Ek's "St. George and the Dragon" . An intense 3 years followed (over 200 performances in the 1st year alone) with featured parts in Ulf Gadd's productions of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" and his full length Dance Dramas of Wagner's "The Ring" (4 hours long and 14 costume changes) and "Kratt" . Also appeared in Antony Tudor's "Echoing of Trumpets", Birgit Cullberg's "Ungersvennen och de sex prinsessorna" (Dancing the role of the Troll), John Gilpin's staging of "The Nutcracker", Sulamith Messerer's staging of "Swan Lake"(resulting in a deep loathing for this Ballet) and many other one act ballets, operettas and musicals . Some how managed to find time to paint (most of the paintings on this site are from this period) and play mammoth games of "Dungeons & Dragons"

On leaving Gothenburg in 1984 went straight to Israel and the Bat Dor dance company dancing in pieces by Hans Van Manen, Robert Cohan, Paul Taylor, Mathew Diamond, Rodney Griffin and Laura Dean but left after 6 months because could not tolerate the way the company was run or the lack of performances (only 3 a month!). Returning to England in 1985, broke, quickly accepted work in Germany doing commercial work (fashion shows, TV and trade shows), good money but hated the work so stuck it for 3 months. Returned to England disillusioned but with money in pocket so took time out, kept up training with Pat Norman and William Louther until a chance meeting with Neil Runswick a friend from the Gothenburg days who was starting his own company. There then followed a glorious summer of hard work, artistic freedom and many liquid lunches culminating in a performance by the Runswick Ballet 85 outside Westminster Cathedral the day before Live Aid. Neil then accepted the position of Ballet Master for the Universal Ballet in Korea so the RB 85 disbanded and went their separate ways. At a loose end again in Oct '85 was introduced to Janet Lewis , director of the then Ballet Co. soon to become the Lewis London Ballet.

A book could (and should) be written about the Lewis London Ballet, but essentially, impressed by the company's Honesty and Dedication a 3 month commitment stretched to 9 years without a contract ever being signed. Became Principal Dancer performing the Prince and Drosselmeyer in "The Nutcracker", the Prince and Carabosse in "The Sleeping Beauty" and Old Father William, the Caterpillar, the Duchess, the March Hare, the Jack of Spades and the Mock Turtle in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". As Resident Choreographer created 7 ballets for the company (see CV and production pages for full details) and was also Ballet Master in later years. In 1988 while performing in the Isle of Man met music hero from youth, Rick Wakeman which led to the creation of "Zodiaque" in 1989 which was to become the most popular 1 Act Ballet in the company's repertoire. In it's last season in 1994 the Lewis London Ballet toured 2 full length Ballets and 9 one Act Ballets with all programs performed to live music ranging from solo concert pianist to jazz quintet and singer all without any kind of grant. A work load that the funded companies would find hard to match.


After LLB closed in the summer of '94 a short stint in Ireland followed performing in "Ruby Red" by John Scott for the Irish Modern Dance Theatre. This and an injury (trapped nerve causing 70% loss of use of right arm for 2 months) led to the decision that it was time to retire from performing and concentrate on Choreography and Directing. The first result of this decision was being introduced to Brian Spence and Directing and Choreographing his Rock Musical "Mac Gregor's Trap" (staring Chesney Hawks) which was performed to full houses and rave reviews at the 1995 Edinburgh Festival. This saw the last appearance on the professional stage. In 1996 choreographed "Petrouchka Variations" which was premiered at the Bloomsbury Theatre with concert pianist Alvin Moisey. This Ballet was performed again in 1997 at Jacksons Lane theatre in London as part of a mixed program by Balletomania along with works by Sheila Styles and Ian MacKenzie Stewart. It was around this time started work in West End Theatres (mainly the Victoria Palace Theatre) and teaching occasional professional Ballet classes at Dance Works in London to supplement income. Became head flyman at the Victoria Palace in 1999 and worked on "The Pajama Game", "La Cava", "Fame" and "Kiss me Kate" amongst others. 1999 also saw reunion with Janet Lewis becoming part of the English Youth Ballet team and with Neil Runswick who had started his company the Anglian Ballet Co. As EYB became more and more successful was able to leave the world of rope and steel behind and become Assistant Artistic Director for EYB in 2002 and Associate Choreographer for the Anglian Ballet Co. This led to the discovery of "free time" and not having to work six nights a week! Thus was able to pursue twin passions of Whale Watching (see wildlife gallery and whale watchers.net link) and Rock Concerts. Recent choreography includes Stravinsky's "The Firebird" for VIRTUOSO- a unique piano recital by concert pianist Alvin Moisey with further choreography by Peter Darrell, Janet Lewis and Ian Mackenzie Stewart , " Labyrinthine Dreams" for ABC and "Giselle" for EYB both premiered in March 2008 and after a 20 year break picked up a paint brush again. In 2010 choreographed "The Angel & The Fallen" performed at Salisbury Cathedral with Haley Westenra and The Band of the Adjutant Generals Corps. The story continues.......
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