When it comes to fancy footwork on stage, Ray Leeper is your man. Having worked with the cream of the TV and music industries, this year he is working alongside the Mentors to help our Finalists burn up the floor.
Who doesn’t love a good boogie? And the elaborate X Factor stage productions are definitely one of our favourite things about the Live Shows.
So, in the hope of learning a trick or two, we caught with Ray Leeper, who is part of the faboosh The X Factor choreography team, to find out exactly what it takes to own the stage.
So, Ray, where will have seen your handy work?
I have previously choreographed for Elton John and Cher, and I just did [Glee star] Matthew Morisson’s tour in the States. I have done commercials for Pepsi and Levis, as well as TV shows like The Big Bang Theory. I’m also the choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance in the US.
What’s your role on The X Factor?
I’m working under Brian Burke, who, together with Beth Donnan, is the Creative Director of the show, and I’m the choreographer for his concepts. Brian and I usually work as a team, so he and Beth will come up with the concepts and then Beth and I split the choreographies between us.
So how do you come up with the moves?
I’m inspired by the song itself and what I love about working on The X Factor is that there are a lot of pop choreographies. It’s like candy for me.
What is the biggest challenge?
The Finalists are not used to being surrounded by a group dancers and a big production. They are getting lighting, costumes and choreographies as if they are already stars. The challenge is to stay true to what the artists are about - I look at what’s in front of me and work with their individual strengths.
What makes the perfect performance?
I want every performance given the energy as if it were their last. What’s so amazing is that they’re all so excited about what we’re doing with them, and they are approaching it as if they’re already rock stars.
How are the final 16 coming along?
When we presented them with the concept of their performances in the first Live Show, every single one of them was just in awe of the amount of work, time and energy that goes into the choreography. They’re willing to step up to what we have created for them and they want to do the best they can.