The Australian-born dancer and choreographer Jeremy James performed with some of Britain’s leading groups – the Rambert Dance Company, the Siobhan Davies Dance Company, the Arc and DV8. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he became well-known to British audiences as one of the most interesting modern dancers on stage. His style of movement was shaped by a classical discipline, coloured by a dark energy and a sardonic wit that were very much his own.
James attended both the upper and lower schools of the Royal Ballet and, after graduating in 1980, performed with London City Ballet (the small-scale touring company directed by Harold King), then with Australian Ballet and Western Australian Ballet. During these years he danced several leading roles, including James in La Sylphide, Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty and the Prince in Nutcracker. But his essentially maverick style was not suited to the traditional aesthetic of a ballet company, nor to its hierarchical structure, and in 1987 he returned to Britain to work in modern dance.
In 1996, he stopped working for other choreographers and concentrated on making his own work. His progress was fast, maturing in four years from a slightly self-conscious subversiveness to work that was rich in detail and controlled in energy. Most of his work was for his own group, though in 1998 he created a work for Rambert – Gaps, Lapse And Relapse.
Jeremy James, dancer and choreographer, born August 4 1961; died April 5 2000.