Close-up: Adam Cooper

How does the most wanted man in dance cope? He goes on the run...
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The Independent Culture

Ballet dancer, singer, actor, director, choreographer, pin-up... even if there were an area left for Adam Cooper to colonise, he hasn't time right now, what with productions queuing for his attention and the arrival of baby Naomi, his first with Sarah Wildor, his wife and sweetheart since Royal Ballet days. The girls have moved up to Leicester to be with the 37-year-old while he directs and choreographs the new Curve Theatre's first production, the musical Simply Cinderella, complete with ballroom, jive, jitterbug, and – in Cooper's words – "naff pop video number".

Cooper was never meant to be solely a ballet dancer. At stage school in London, he also did modern, jazz, acting, singing and stage-fighting, so it was something of an aberration that he ended up at the Royal Ballet for the first eight years of his professional life. Shrewdly, the company gave him leave to go off to create the iconic Swan in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, a role that gained him a feverish fan base.

Next summer sees a narrative-dance project, Shall We Dance?, for which he'll choreograph and perform, but for now he's shuttling between Leicester and London, where he's choreographer for a production of Carousel at the Savoy.

The musical has serious dance pedigree: Agnes de Mille did the 1945 original, and Sir Kenneth MacMillan made the dances for London's last major production. Cooper's version veers more towards de Mille, "though I think there's even more dance here". He has two Royal Ballet-trained dancers as the leads, to furnish the show's 10-minute dream sequence, but ever the eclectic, he's also dipped into other styles, including Appalachian clog dance – "Like tap, but more stamp-y."

'Carousel' is at the Savoy, London WC2 (0870 164 8787) to July 2009. 'Simply Cinderella' is at the Curve, Leicester (0844 581 0779), Thurs to 24 January

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