Who is Leslie Bell?
Leslie Bell is a mother to 3 beautiful children. I am a lover of dance since I can remember, an artist, and an optimist. I love all dogs (but especially my two Rhodesian Ridgebacks), and love the ocean and dream of having a beach house. I am a southern girl raised in Tennessee, born into a musical family. My mother and her brother were both professional singers and musicians in Nashville TN. As a child music in my home was like breathing. Not a day goes by when I am not listening to music and singing in the car. I am a choreographer and a teacher, who feels at home in a dance studio and could spend hours there. I am loyal friend who loves to laugh and talk over great food and wine.
What would you do differently from what you do now?
When I was young, I would spend hours drawing designs for the perfect NYC apartment. I would pour over Architectural Digest magazine and try to create beautiful interiors on paper. I even studied interior design recently. So perhaps, something in that world. Lately, I have dreamed of having a rural property set amongst rolling hills with dogs and horses, and maybe even a vineyard! Maybe I could combine both dreams and create a beautiful sanctuary.
Who inspires you and why?
Great choreographers who are visionaries and storytellers. Directors who have a vision, and masterfully make that vision come to life while leading and inspiring a company and making hard choices. The passion required from both creative jobs is extraordinary. Women in leadership inspire me- women who are bold and compassionate and unafraid to be themselves.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I believe the choices you make on a daily basis, no matter how small, add up. Kindness goes a long way, as does giving someone your undivided attention. Raising happy, kind, compassionate, children who accept people for who they are without prejudice is one of the most important things I can do to make a difference in the world.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
As a family, we really love Hawaii. We have been going since the children were young and have found it to be really magical. The people are so lovely and welcoming and immersed in their culture. The beaches are very special in Hawaii. It is hard to explain but when you go, you understand how unique it is there.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Perhaps we would start with a boat cruise during the day and then finish off at a beautiful dinner overlooking Sydney Harbour because it is just so stunning. If we have a weekend, we would drive through the Blue Mountains stopping along the way ending up in Mudgee for some incredible food and wine. My husband’s parents have a sheep station in Mudgee, so we would spend the rest of the weekend immersed in country life.
What are you currently reading?
My script for Pippin! I am also researching the history of women in the circus. Our show has a circus element and we are a troupe of players and so I am researching as much as I can about people, families and stories of people who have chosen or have been born into the circus life.
What are you currently listening to?
I have a playlist that I constantly add to and use to warm up my body to dance. It has everything from Beyonce, to Benny Goodman, India Arie, Sarah McLachlan, Florence and the Machine, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn; a real mix of music. I love anything with a driving beat, great drums and a brass section.
When my children are content and happy. I am happy in the rehearsal studio. I am happy when I am dancing. Seeing my students connect to music and dancing with their whole being is very inspiring. Watching my vision for a piece I have choreographed come to life when it is all put together makes me happy. I am happy being with my family in America at my Mom’s house in TX or laughing at dinner with friends here in Sydney. I am happy spending quality time with my husband on a trip to NYC where we first met.
What does the future hold for you?
Theatre, music, dance, family, animals, travel, gratitude.
Leslie stars as Fastrada in PIPPIN – which plays the Sydney Lyric Theatre from 24 November 2020. For more information, visit: www.pippinthemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Leslie Bell (supplied)