George Piper Dances interview


Better known as Channel 4’s Ballet Boyz, George Piper Dances talk to Kelly Apter about making the most of their creative freedom.

Michael Clark’s arrival in Glasgow coincides with a return visit by George Piper Dances. Like Clark, the founder members of George Piper Dances trained at the Royal Ballet School. Unlike Clark, William Trevitt and Michael Nunn stuck to classical ballet for many years, performing in the Royal Ballet itself until 2001.

When they did finally make the transition from ballet to modern dance, their passage was eased considerably by Channel 4. Having carved a niche for themselves as photographers, while still dancing with the Royal Ballet, Trevitt and Nunn decided on the pseudonym George Piper - an amalgam of their middle names. When Channel 4 came calling in 1999, however, they became known as the ‘Ballet Boyz’, documenting turbulent backstage life at the Royal Opera House, before going on to present The Rough Guide To Choreography.

Despite the confusing plethora of names, Trevitt and Nunn are determined to demystify the dance process itself. To that end, their stage work as George Piper Dances blends dynamic choreography with humorous and informative video footage. In Glasgow, they’ll be performing Encore, an evening of dance created by four choreographers including Rafael Bonachela (the man behind Kylie’s onstage moves). ‘We wanted to try as many different styles as possible,’ explains Trevitt. ‘So some of the work is very classical, one is much more folky and the piece by Rafael is punchy and contemporary.’

After years of toeing the Royal Ballet line, Trevitt and Nunn are clearly enjoying their new-found freedom. By interspersing the dance in Encore with interview footage, they give an illuminating account of what it’s like to run a company. ‘We’re in an unusual position as directors because we commission work,’ says Trevitt. ‘Normally dancers do what they’re told, but now we’re able to call the shots and choose which choreographers we want to work with.’

Encore, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Tue 27 & Wed 28 Feb.

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