My Secret Life: Derek Deane, choreographer, 57

My parents were... very kind people. My father was in the RAF and my mother trained as a nurse. I had a very distant relationship with them, though, mostly because of their work commitments.

The household I grew up in... I grew up in lots of different households, because we moved round the earth all the way through my childhood. I went to 10 different schools.

When I was a child I wanted to... I always really wanted to be in the theatre, but as an actor. It changed to dance very late – I only started with dance when I was 16.

If I could change one thing about myself... It's not a very good answer, it's just related to dance – I'd change my ankles, knees and hips to new ones, after 30 years of dancing.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... shearing sheep.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... catching sheep! To answer properly, I'm no good at being patient with people who don't work hard.

At night I dream of... mostly nightmares – a lot of anxiety dreams, and very little pleasure.

What I see when I look in the mirror... I see myself getting older.

I wish I'd never worn... my Shakespearean pants in a ballet by Kenneth MacMillan called Isadora. They were big and huge and uncomplimentary to the physique, and it was hard to dance in them.

My favourite item of clothing... Anything cashmere really.

I drive... a 4x4 Nissan Terrano, as I live on top of a mountain.

It's not fashionable but I like... to have foie gras with a cosmopolitan at half six in the evening.

My house is... I live on top of a mountain in a very big old farm house in the south of France. I live with 48 goats and 29 sheep.

My favourite work of art... Anything by Caravaggio.

My secret crush is... Oh my goodness. Who is my secret crush? Who's flavour of the month? Patrick Dempsey – that'll get people.

Movie heaven... is anything French – Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources. Because when I watch them I feel like I'm at home.

A book that changed me... The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by the Dalai Lama. It didn't make me happy but it helped me to accept unhappiness more.

My greatest regret... Depression.

My real-life villains... Politicians – can you trust them?

The last time I cried... This morning, when I thought about somebody very close to me who had just died.

My five-year plan... To be more creative, and to carry on working, but also to save plenty of time to enjoy living at home. I've only been living here for three years, but because I work all round the world, I'm always travelling. But it's so wonderful to be at home and watch the birds fly below the house.

What's the point? The point is to try to get to the end.

My life in six words... Complicated, fascinating, fun, desperate, invigorating and splendid.

A life in brief

Derek Deane was born in 1953. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and went on to become a principal dancer for The Royal Ballet. After retiring from the stage, he became artistic director of the English National Ballet in 1993, and in 2000 was awarded an OBE. Deane has also created work for The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, Shanghai Ballet and many more. Earlier this year he appeared in a BBC4 documentary, Agony and Ectasy: A Year at the English National Ballet, and he is currently directing Strictly Gershwin, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, from 9-19 June

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments