Patrick Kerr: Dancer and choreographer who got the nation's teenagers moving on 'Ready Steady Go!'
Friday 28 August 2009
For any self-respecting teenager in the mid 1960s, tuning into Rediffusion's Friday night pop show Ready, Steady, Go! to watch Patrick Kerr demonstrate the latest "in" dance craze was an essential weekend ritual.
Originally starting out as a guitarist in his native south London, Kerr turned to dancing full-time with his girlfriend and future wife, Theresa Confrey. The two regularly appeared on Radio Luxembourg programmes such as Muriel Young's Friday Spectacular before being offered work teaching dancing on a cruise ship to Central America and the United States. Returning to London in 1963 as the beat boom was taking off, they were hired by RSG! boss Elkan Allan to demonstrate the dances they'd picked up in America such as the Bossa Nova and the Hitch Hike.
After the newly-wed Theresa left the show to raise a family it was left to Patrick to come up with a new dance each week for the top-rated show. Such dances as the Mod and the Block were either dances he'd picked up from visiting such hip London mod clubs like the Scene or were the product of his own inventiveness.
In 1964, Kerr left the show for a brief stint as a pop singer under the guidance of Adam Faith and Sandie Shaw's manager, Eve Taylor. He released one single, a cover of Bacharach and David's "Magic Potion" and toured the UK on a package with Faith, Shaw, The Barron Knights and The Paramounts, who later became Procol Harum.
Returning to Ready, Steady, Go! as both dancer and presenter alongside Cathy McGowan, Kerr was, by now, friends with most of the key faces of Swinging London including Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Tara Browne, Pete Townshend and Brian Jones, with whom he co-wrote an unreleased song. He and Theresa even had their own Pimlico boutique, Hem and Fringe, on Moreton Street.
After RSG! ended in 1966, Kerr joined a latter day version of harmony trio the Ivy League, and after eventually relocating to Cambridge, he and Theresa opened their first dance studio in 1978. Thanks to the Saturday Night Fever craze, the operation was an instant success and continued to grow into the thriving Bodywork Company Dance Studio, which is now part of the government's prestigious Dance and Drama Awards Scheme, training future dancers and singers for West End productions.
Kerr is survived by his wife, four children and eight grandchildren.
Patrick Kerr, dancer, choreographer, teacher and singer: born 20 February 1941; married Theresa Confrey (four children); died 15 August 2009.
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