Interview: James Cousins

Friday 16 October 2015

James Cousins. Work Place Artist. 2015 Photo: Alicia Clarke

Fresh from a four city tour of Brazil this summer and following on from last year’s hugely successful international tour (UK, SouthEast Asia, Chile) James Cousins Company will perform at venues across the UK through autumn 2015, including The Place in London next week (20 – 22 October). We caught up with James, who’s been described by Matthew Bourne as “one of the UK’s most promising choreographic talents” to ask him about what inspires him as an artist…

Why did you chose Haruki Murakami’s books as inspiration for this double-bill of works?
When I first read Norwegian Wood I instantly thought how perfect it would be for dance; it has such rich relationships that are balanced on a knife edge and beautifully written characters who although young have gone through so much. I felt there was not only lots for me to explore but also lots for the dancers to get their teeth into too. I hope that I manage to translate the beautiful, dark and delicate relationships onto stage.

Have the shows changed at all during the touring process?
Yes the pieces are constantly evolving! The dancers are always discovering new layers within the choreography, I try to leave them the freedom to explore new things with each show. I also like to throw in a new thing every now and then to keep them on their toes and to keep the show fresh.
We also do quite a bit reworking of Without Stars for this tour, it’s the nice thing about leaving a piece for a while, you always see new things when you come back to it.

Still under 30 and having only graduated five years ago, you’ve achieved a lot, what’s next for you?
Yes it’s been a roller-coaster few years since leaving London Contemporary Dance School I feel very fortunate to have had such amazing support to help get me to this point.
At the start of the year I decided I wanted to take time to really think about what it is I wanted to create next. We have begun researching three new productions, two here in the UK and one in Seoul. It’s been the best thing I could have done and feel really refreshed and excited about the new ideas and ready to begin creating again next year.

What’s your favourite place in London?
I have several but if I had to choose I’d say the bridges over the river as you get the best views of the city and get a nice sense of space and calm. I also love the little cafe called The Step by my house in Bowes Park, it feels like a little hide away and has a lovely community feel.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
I’ve just got back from Korea where I was introduced to k-pop! They sure know how to do pop music.

Catch James Cousin Company’s double bill Without Stars / I There We Have Been at The Place, from Tue 20 – Thu 22 October
Tour dates & details:

Photo: Alicia Clarke

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