Whilst relishing choreographing production numbers, I’ve always enjoyed working closely with individuals, nurturing and preparing them for their performance.
Michael Fassbender, in one of his earlier roles, Irvine Welshs’ ‘Wedding Belles’, had to be a Northern Soul devotee. I worked one-on-one with him to achieve the prerequisite spins and drop splits.
Kirsten Stewart, on the set of Snow White and the Huntsman, needed guidance in some partner work to be done with both an average-sized and a smaller-sized actor. This involved finding movement appropriate to the era and develop it into what would have spontaneously occurred in the setting of the scene. I tutored of all the actors involved, both during rehearsals and on set.
David Morrisey on Viva Blackpool was gloriously full of energy in his lead role and we had a range of songs to cover, each with a strong narrative. With an actor of that calibre, each move had to be correct not only in its’ execution, but in its’ intent.
During ‘Dead Ringers’ highly successful run for the BBC, I worked with Jan Ravens extensively to produce a Madonna, Gwen Stefani and a Beyonce. All triumphs for a self-proclaimed mother of three from leafy Barnes.
I worked on Omid Djalilis’ series for the BBC, choreographing his musical sketches, involving him in a lead role with an ensemble of dancers. That lead to him saying on radio 4 that he’d hated dancing ‘till I met a choreographer called Lucie Pankhurst’.
Young, emerging talent is always exciting and following filming ‘Rules of Love’ with the director Ben Gosling-Fuller (Old Bleake Shoppe of Stuff, Mitchel and Webb, Ideal) he said ‘the most wonderful part of all is how you worked so well with a young and frankly terrified cast and got them to shed their self-consciousness like Dita Von Teese sheds clothes’.
With icons such as the late John Inman, I employed the use of a ‘stand-in’ on whom I choreographed and who could then walk John through the number. With both Lionel Blair and Paul O’Grady, the trick was choreographing everything around them, so their unique performances could be framed but not curtailed.