I hate mimes. I’m with Shakes the Clown on this.
Mime memes are as old as miming itself. But there’s one mime to whom we rock fans owe a debt of gratitude: Lindsay Kemp.
When David Bowie was searching for his voice during his failed folksinger phase in the 1960s, Bowie fell under Kemp’s spell. Bowie became Kemp’s student in 1966 who proceeded to teach him the art of moving onstage, the basics of choreography, and how to attract and hold and audience’s attention.
Later, Kemp help Bowie created the production for his groundbreaking Ziggy Stardust tour of 1972-73. The dancers in this video are from Kemp’s company.
Bowie wasn’t Kemp’s only high-profile student. In the 1970s, he was called to mentor a teenaged Kate Bush. The choreography for videos like “Wuthering Heights?” Pure Kemp.
Kemp stayed active well into his senior years. This weekend, though, Kemp passed away in Italy at the age of 80.