If you’ve ever watched the hit show “So You Think You Can Dance” that made its first debut in the UK, you would have caught the choreography of one of the most versatile and talented choreographers in England, Richard Marcel.
With having worked with a slew of celebrities from Madonna, Kyle Minogue, to George Michael and Diana Ross, Marcel’s ability and knowledge to artistically produce and direct for stage and on screen performances has made him one of the top professionals in the industry. Although he’s in the middle of expanding his Latin dance agency and on the road producing the choreography for the cast of Riverdance: Heartbeat of Home, a fashion show for Fashion Live and in the middle of pre-production for BBC1 Children In Need, we caught up with Marcel for a quick interview!
SALSEEK: How did you get started as a dancer and choreographer?
Marcel: I started dancing competitive Ballroom and Latin from the age of 12. I researched and learn't salsa from the age of 16 and went to a performing arts college at the age of 19. I danced professionally for many years for various pop artists, dance companies and tours and continued to learn more dance styles. I gradually started choreographing during the latter end of my dance career and full time for the last 6 years. My first break was as guest choreographer and consultant for the original production of Burn The Floor.
SALSEEK: What is a typical day for you in your hometown in England?
Marcel: Well, typically I wake up, miss breakfast, check my emails and then go to work, either at a dance or TV/film studio. I sometimes spend lots of time in production meetings or in an edit suite. When I'm not working I take full advantage of the food places, cinema's, bars and clubs in Soho and the West End, where I live. It's an amazing and vibrantly buzzing part of London where things tend not to be all that typical! Time off also means dancing salsa till the early hours of course!
SALSEEK: You are known for your unique style and choreography, what makes you unique and sets you a part from other dancers and chorographers? Marcel: My USP is definitely the fact that I am multi-styled. Over the years I have invested a lot of time and effort into mastering dance across many genres, to an authentic and professional level, which has always been an advantage to me both as a dancer and choreographer. I have been very successful in helping dancers from one style learn the technique of another, especially for Theatre and the West End. My experience in translating dance for TV and film, as well as being able to work harmoniously with a production team under pressure, is something that I feel has helped me as well.
SALSEEK: You’ve worked with some amazing stars like Madonna and Diana Ross, how was your experience working with them?
Marcel: Working with major stars is always exciting! I guess I'm naturally curious as to what they're really like just as anyone else would be. I feel fortunate and grateful that I have the opportunity to work with and meet celebrities on a regular basis, although working with someone you admire, famous or otherwise, is more of a blessing.
SALSEEK: What are the most challenging aspects as a dancer or choreographer?
Marcel: As a choreographer I usually find my biggest challenge is aiming to push creative boundaries under the limitations of time constraint and production budgets. Suppressing one's own creative ideas for the specific demands of a production is something that I find takes getting used to. Regardless, I always aim to respect the vision and experience of the experts in their fields as there's always something you can learn from it. As a dancer, maintaining my fitness levels, dance technique and keeping up with the ever evolving dance industry is a welcomed challenge.
SALSEEK: Tell us about your new project you are working on.
Marcel: There are many exciting things happening at the moment. I am currently choreographing the Latin/Afro Cuban sections on a very prestigeous new international show by the producers of Riverdance called ‘Heartbeat Of Home’ in Dublin. I am also staging the UK’s biggest primetime Telethon for the BBC and choreographing all the dance performances for the stars that are taking part. I am currently in the cutting room for the forthcoming salsa feature movie ‘Cuban Fury’ which I choreographed and is due for release in the new year. I will start choreographing for Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars) which starts very soon including on-screen judging on its week day show ‘It Takes Two’. I have also been invited to be a judge for the European Salsa Championship which is an honour. One of my favorite jobs at the moment, however, is producing live shows for a sensational new UK pop artist called Lemon. Her song ‘Pussydrop’ is in the Hollywood movie Kick-Ass 2 to my choreography and she is set to become a global superstar…watch this space!