Greig Cooke graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 1995, with a Post Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Dance. He has performed internationally for eighteen years, developing longstanding collaborations with Charles Linehan, Lea Anderson and Mark Bruce. Greig has also worked with and originated roles for AMP (Swan Lake), Aletta Collins, Probe, Punchdrunk, Vincent Dance Theatre, Random Dance, Arthur Pita, Tom Sapsford, Fleur Darkin and the reworking of Peter Schaffeur’s west end production of Equus in 2007. Greig has toured the world extensively and was nominated for most outstanding performer whilst on tour in Toronto in 2004. In 2005, he was Rehearsal Director for The Featherstonehaughs, on their reworking of Flesh and Blood and more recently, was in Comma 39, directed by art film maker Stuart Croft and choreographed by Ben Wright
Greig has taught extensively in the UK, delivering GCSE, A-Level and BTEC workshops for Richard Alston Dance Company, The Featherstonehaughs and Adventures in Motion Pictures. In 2001 he worked with Random Dance Company’s production, digit01, and was later invited to be guest speaker for the London Arts Board, Dance and Technology conference. He has subsequently delivered many dance and animation workshops to schools across the UK.
In 2001, Greig set up and delivered the Hurricane boys project at The Place, London, to encourage young boys to dance. Hurricane has been running for 10 years. Greig has also been a member of staff for London Contemporary Dance School’s Centre for Advanced Training and spent time as Rehearsal Director for their youth performance company, Shift.
How did you come to be a performer?
I started dancing at a very early age, probably when I was about 5. The story goes, I climbed into my sisters tap shoes and said I wanted to do that! It kind of continued from there. I joined a local dance school, it was called South East Theatre School, and by the time I was about 8 or 9, I joined the Associates of the Royal Ballet. I kept going to the local dance school. When I was about 15, I got taken to London Contemporary Dance Theatre and I was blown away. The situation was very different back then, you had to apply for grants. I auditioned for LCDS. Went to The Place when I was 16, studied there for 4 years, did my post grad and then it all began….
How do you prepare before a performance?
Food is really important for me. Getting the timing of my belly is really important. Eating about an hour and a half to two hours before is ideal. Having food in the system ready to burn. That’s part of the process. About an hour before, I like to get into the theatre to warm up. If there are any demands of the show… costume, make up. It often involves a bit of focused yoga and chatting to other performers. If you’re doing duets, it helps to do something with that person to connect.
How do you feel when you perform?
It shifts and changes. You can feel emotional, calm, anxious, focused… how do I feel?… Excited.
How does performing outside feel compared to inside?
I’ll let you know. I’ve performed mainly inside, so this will be my first time performing outside. I’ve done inside site specific, in a warehouse. I think it’s going to shift around. There is a freedom of being outside of the box. The box being the theatre. Interacting with the audience in a different way. I’m really looking forward to exploring how it changes and how it influences you psychologically and physically, because I think it can do that.
If you weren’t a performer, what would you like to do?
I do run a website business on the side and I enjoy the focus of it. But if I had a choice of anything, I definitely like to work with animals in some way. I’ve been watching Attenborough documentaries. Working with film and animals in some way. Otherwise the law. I’ve always been interested in the justice system. That seems so serious, not very creative. There’s something about it I’ve always been intrigued or fascinated.
What do you like to do on your day off?
Depends. I will spend time with my son. Make him breakfast, talk about what we are going to do for the day and spend time with him. Or I lie in, make coffee, get back in bed, do the crossword. Go for walk, get fresh bread, that kind of thing.