Imogen Claire

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Date of Birth:
24 June 1943 London, England, UK
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Stark-looking Imogen Claire, the British dancer, choreographer and actress, was born in London in 1943 and trained at the Royal Ballet School. She went on to study at the London Dance Theatre and progressed to principal roles. As an actress with a decided taste for the avant garde, she became a regular player in the splashy, offbeat film dramas/musicals of Ken Russell, her first film being The Music Lovers (1970) with Glenda Jackson. This was followed by the controversial The Devils (1971) starring Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed, The Boy Friend (1971), Savage Messiah (1972), Mahler (1974), Tommy (1975), Lisztomania (1975) and Valentino (1977). Along the same line, other cult films included The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), as one of the Transylvanians, Flash Gordon (1980), Caravaggio (1986), by the innovative director Derek Jarman, and Billy Elliot (2000), in which she played the role of a dance examiner.In the theatre realm, she appeared in a production of "Tales of the Vienna Woods" where she met John Rothenberg. They were a couple for over two decades before marrying in 1992. A great portion of her theatre assignments was with Philip Prowse, both as designer and director, with Imogen acting and providing the choreography. She also spent a couple of years teaching at the Drama Centre.Heavily involved in union politics, Imogen was elected Equity's very first choreographer council person in 1994. She lent a strong, unwavering voice, coming up with a steady stream of productive initiatives, particularly for dancers. The Dance Passport was launched in 2000 and proved a major success. She also pioneered insurance plans designed specifically for dancers in case of injury. She was re-elected in 2004 but illness prevented her from taking a full part in council activities. She died after a lengthy battle with cancer in her native London on June 24, 2005.
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