6. Red Dress, Wild Hair, Woman in Dance: A Look at Kate Bush and Her Dance

Bare with me these next few days, I just got a rush of ideas and writing inspirations which includes a start to the Sylvie Guillem Series and a response to the “Tutu much” article in the Guardian. I have to sort through all of these ideas and post them in a fairly spaced out manner, rather than vomiting them all on here right now. My creative writing class is turning out to be uninspiring in the classroom, which is sad, but at least it’s fueling me outside of the classroom to write. 

This post is sort of a passion-post of miscellaneous matters. All relating to dance though. The goddess at the top of this cosmic tower of inspiration is none other than the recently returned Kate Bush. Why does she matter to the dance world? Why is her return important? Who is she?! Well, let’s take a brief look at the myths she has crafted using dance in her videos and on stage.

Welcome to the return of the red dress woman, Kate Bush.

*for the sake of this post I’ll refer to Kate Bush as “Kate” because I don’t like the initial reference I get when I read “Bush” as the last name, if you know what I mean.

The above music video is called “Wuthering Heights” (yes, that is a Emily Brontë reference- Kate was born on the same day as Emily). It was released in 1978, following a “white dress” version of the video. My personal preference is with the “red dress” version for so many reasons which link to the source text of Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Kate Bush is a trained dancer with passion in dance and movement but she is never reliant on one form over the other. She crafts her own style using her life and music.

The reason why it is important to the dance world, along with dozens of her other music videos that featured dance, is because it features a type of dance that is uncomfortable and unconventional. I’d like to point out the Taylor Swift video “Shake It Out” which TRIES to achieve this feeling, but is in no way close to how Kate Bush does it here. Listen to the lyrics of “Wuthering Heights,” the mingling of sound and movement in the video. Can you feel unison and relation to both areas?


To start there are numerous articles about Kate that are better at explaining her history. I’ll drop a link to NME’s archive of links for the curious:


For me, Kate is the start of so much more for musicians; exploration, curiosity, uniqueness, elevation, quality, movement are all used in her long history of music and her life’s history. Inspired artists in music include Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple, Florence and the Machine, St Vincent, Bat for Lashes,  the list can go onwards and onwards because Kate was an important musical artist. But she was also an important dance figure. The proof is in her movement on stage and off.


On stage, dancers might feel a sort of release and entrapment; that is to say, one can be free while performing but feel tied to that localized place for their freedom. The “real world” doesn’t embrace them or inspire them or soothe them as much as the stage does. But for a few dancers life is also a part of their stage, they carry their freedom of movement everywhere. Kate Bush has proven this power of freedom in her on stage life and off stage life. She has never felt entirely stuck or trapped by one or the other. I think Taylor Swift, to use that example again as much as she makes me cringe, is not using her stage life and “real world” life in unison entirely.

Back to Kate though, the return of this earth-mother musician is important to the dance world. I don’t know if you are aware but there is a dance troupe called “The Kate Bush Dance Troupe” which focuses entirely on the characters of Kate Bush’s history and the movements of each character. Here are some links:



This is big! This is a grand experiment into the kooky world of movement that Kate has presented to the public in her music videos and on stage performances. For dancers and non-dancers to pick Kate Bush’s particular movements up and highlight them is so very amazing!

Further, due to the legendary “Wuthering Heights” red dress music video “members of the public try to set a world record for the most people dressed as Kate Bush re-enacting the dance from her iconic Wuthering Heights music video in Stanmer Park, Brighton.” (see photo below) The appeal of her movement is not something to debate. You can question whether you like it or not, but you can’t question the influence and inspiration her movements bring to dancers, musicians, artists of all sorts and kinds.

kate-bush-record_2859299kThe return of Kate Bush marks a return to the dance of the uncommon collective. Tribute to our deep cherishment of unique expression and passionate response to sound and movement. Plus, Kate is a lively 56. At this age, many dancers are being told to stop, slow down, and start knitting or whatever. Not for Kate, no way. Her return concert is a festival of dramatic movement and music. Plus, it is a performance that few musicians of today can achieve, since music predominantly travels on the web (one of those pesky downfalls of technology, yes?).

In a way, she’s like the rock goddess equivalent of Margot Fonteyn, without the Nureyev. She moves and many of use react intrinsically. We remember images of both of these great artists’ entire history. And with Kate Bush, worldwide fans form a collective which understands the value of personality as well as characters and drama and hype. Yes, Kate has borrowed the past links of dance and music, she sees the richness of the history of art but she knows that she is more powerful by making the past collide with her present. I like to link her to Lana Del Rey too because Lana is doing something very much dipped in the past but with her own tone and character and movement.

Kate Bush

I wish I could see Kate Bush in concert and revel in her return with high spinning arms and swirling hips. Alas, return concerts of this nature are too expensive for me, not to mention too far away. I recommend you take a trip with Kate Bush’s music videos, songs, history. You won’t regret getting to know her. You might even want to dance with her.

Enjoy these links and some more music videos (please note her music video “Red Shoes” which is, you guessed it, inspired by the ballet film The Red Shoes and another personal favorite of mine which incorporates her cocktail of dance and sound wonderfully):





And here is a BBC documentary on the woman:



2 thoughts on “6. Red Dress, Wild Hair, Woman in Dance: A Look at Kate Bush and Her Dance

  1. Pingback: 26. The Phosphorescent Dancer: Reviewing Dance in Florence and the Machine’s Music | Jessica Maria MacFarlane

  2. Pingback: 38. Creating Your Coven: Dance in 7 GRIMES Music Videos | J.M.M.

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