1 Lonely Town pas de deux
by Leonard Bernstein
I don’t know why this piece of music affects me so much. Maybe it’s because it is so purely an expression of wanting to belong. It feels otherworldly yet human in the same moment. Broken yet perfect. One of those pieces of music that makes you believe in something inexplicable that lies beyond simple technique.
by José González
This track plays such a vital part in my journey to becoming a choreographer. I would listen to it endlessly whilst touring the States with Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands when I was around 20. I would escape to the studio to try to work out what I had inside me that was worth showing the world. It made me keep getting back up. I still get very nostalgic whenever I hear it.
by Beth Ditto
The power of this woman and the way her music taps into a sort of rage and majesty I find incredibly exciting. Her music just has it for me. I’m desperate to create work with her. One day maybe.
4 Time after Time
by Cindy Lauper
Baz Lurhman’s Strictly Ballroom had a big impact on me growing up. I saw myself in it in many ways. I would make up dances to this track over and over and pretend to be Scott from the movie. I went on to direct and choreograph the stage adaptation as my West End debut, which was a very special full-circle moment for me.
5 Grand Waltz from Cinderella
by Sergei Prokofiev
Back at school, we had this amazing pianist called Mark Amos. He would regularly break the strings inside the piano with his extraordinary playing. Every plié exercise was a concert to him, an opportunity to change someone’s mood. The memory of his talent matched with this incredible music will forever get my heart racing. I’ve spent many hours daydreaming about choreographing a full length production of Cinderella because of this man (and probably because of Prokofiev too).
Drew McOnie is the choreographer and director of
Northern Ballet’s Merlin, which tours the UK
until 4 December. northernballet.com/merlin