Critical Dance


Prince of a Company
An interview with AMP Assistant Artistic Director
by Lara Hartley
September 2001


Scott Ambler relaxes in his dressing room before a meeting.


Scott Ambler is a prince of a guy. Not a 'real' prince mind you but just an all-round good-guy kinda-prince.

With his regal bearing, the six-foot Ambler was a natural in the role of The Prince in Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" that was created on him. His riveting dramatic performance as the lonely and emotionally starved royal was one of the highlights of the film starring Adam Cooper as The Swan.

Ambler, who is also an assistant Artistic Director of AMP and an associate director of "Car Man," said that he had done the role of The Prince for so long that "If you put the music on, I could probably do it again - muscle memory."

"'Swan Lake' caught the people's imagination, but people still want us to be that, because it had such iconic quality - a visual and emotional quality that stuck with them," he said. "People expect that kind of emotional response from each show we do now."


Scott Ambler is a blur as he executes a move during company class.


"Action and emotion through movement - Swan Lake was the first time it all came together," Ambler said. "It reached the pinnacle with the fabulous music."

"The acting part of a show comes first before the actual dancing starts. Dancers go through their characters creating backgrounds and personalities that give the stage personas, depth when in actual performance," he said.

Although you would never know it watching Scott dance on stage or in class, he is the oldest dancer in the company at almost 41. "I am thrilled to be 41 and still have my kneecaps intact," he said.

Dancing is the best job in the world, Ambler said, and he continues to dance because he enjoys it and still finds it challenging and fun.

Scott came to dance late at nineteen-years-old, on a dare from some friends who bought him five ballet lessons. "I called their bluff and after lesson one I was bitten on the ass," he said.

The athletics appeal to him, as well as the discipline with music. Dance is different than doing just sports, he said, because sports is just doing it and in dance you have a product at the end - a work like this, a show ("Car Man") for people to enjoy.

He said that dancers are adrenaline junkies, waiting in the wings to go on and though he doesn't get nervous "because he has been doing it too long, there are these little fluttering things that happen and that fluttery feeling inside is good."

Ambler said, "I want to continue to dance as long as I can do it - until my spine folds on itself."

"I'll dance as long as I'm not dribbling on stage and I can still negotiate around the furniture," he said.

Bourne pays particular attention to a dancer's strengths and creates roles for Ambler when he makes a new piece.

In The Car Man, Ambler dances the roles of Dino, the burping, farting husband of femme fatale Lana and Erik, one of the cabaret dancers. The cabaret number is an exacting one, calling on the dancers to perform in the manner of Martha Graham to the laughing delight of the audience.

Scott likes being on tour but admits "The U.S. tour is a long one." With 16 weeks on the road he rarely gets to see his apartment, but thinks "It is nice to have someplace to come home to."


Car Man the Show

- An Auto-Erotic Thriller -

Car Man Talk

- Talk about the show -

Designer: Lena Marie Stuart
US Director: Azlan Ezaddin
UK Director: Stuart Sweeney

All photos copyright 2001 Lara Hartley unless noted otherwise

All contributions as noted in each feature.