derek hartley choreographer
Derek has choreographed countless events, dance pieces, cabarets, shows and special occasions over the past 35 years in his long and established career. He is that rare choreographer who can turn his hand and mind to nearly anything in a dance style and staging. See his CV for details but included in there is an eclectic mix of productions and credits so far in his lifelong achievements in dance.
His speciality is TAP DANCE and in a style of his own. He takes care to construct tap pieces exactly appropriate to the the music and he has a proven track record over countless productions in this particular dance form. For Derek it has to "fit" and in terms of tap dancing it has to be true. From Astaire and Kelly to Jackson and Stomp, he likes to consider all kinds of stylistic angles and loves to fuse and combine ideas and aspects.
Derek's credits in teaching are almost too numerous to include! Professional and West End productions; his own directed productions; college pieces in the hundreds; classes both public and private in the tens of thousands!
He has taught stars of screen, TV and Sport, with a couple of lessons given to Torvil and Dean in their heyday. He can teach almost anyone and of any age...his oldest student, an actor aged 89; his youngest, a dancer, aged 4.
An invited guest teacher in upwards of 12 countries in his career, he has always strived to share his extensive experience, gained from many years learning from some wonderful performers from America and Europe in his earlier years. Guest teachers such as the great Honi Coles and even in a production with the iconic Nicholas Brothers at the London Palladium!
Since 1979 and to this day he has taught at the world famous Pineapple Dance Centre in London's Covent Garden.
Performer --Hartley & Hitch
Recently Derek and his partner Claire have dedicated their new act in Tap dance/ jazz, ballroom/Latin and Swing to old Hollywood and to the stars from these great movies. They are an act of super fast tap dancing and subtle humour and attention to detail that only Derek can bring.
Already they have appeared at the famous art deco hotel at Burgh Island, the Cafe de Paris in london's West End, on television in Got To Dance, at the renowned De Montford Hall in Leicester, starring Len Goodman and the Piccadilly Dance orchestra and at many 1940s/WW2 commemorative events in various parts of the country.
They are ideally suited to giving very crafted performances and narratives on tap dancing and its pioneers, from Fred Astaire to Sammy Davis Junior, from theatre to film via Hollywood and its "golden years" era and from the earliest years of popular dancing....
......the 1900s...1920s...1930s...'40s...'60s...80s...this current era.
Workshops in Tap and Latin are a special occasion with Derek and his partner, who dance and demonstrate and teach on every invited occasion. Every Christmas since 1985 Derek has given a tap workshop/masterclass with his dedicated Pineapple cohort and in the intervening months is invited to do similar appearances up and down the country...and in other countries... see teacher section above.
His workshops give an insight into how steps in tap dance have evolved; how unknown dancers from America's immigrant past have contributed to what we are still doing today; how rhythm and syncopation can brighten and surprise in a dance piece; how other many musical styles and composers can fuse with tap dance; But most of all he has a way of going about his workshops that inspires and interests and involves. He leads an informative lecture packed with information that helps young dancers understand and therefore enjoy the great tap story.