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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living