Adam was born on 22nd July 1971 in Tooting, London. He started tap dancing at the age of 5 and ballet at 7, training at the Jean Winkler School of Dance in Tooting. At age 11 he continued his training at Arts Educational School London where he also studied Modern Dance, Jazz, Acting, Singing, Music, Contemporary, Character Dance and Stage Fighting. During his time there, Adam appeared with London Festival Ballet at Chatelet Theatre, Paris in Peter Schaufuss' La Sylphide and at Royal Festival Hall in Nutcracker. He also made an appearance in the BBC's Merry Wives of Windsor. At 16 he moved to the Royal Ballet School to continue his training. Whilst at the Royal Ballet School, Adam won the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition (1989) and represented the school at the Prix de Lausanne (Tokyo, 1989) alongside Tetsuya Kumakawa, where he won The Professional Level Prize (other noted dancers at the Prix that year were Monica Zamora, Anne de Vos and Ethan Steifel). At his graduation performance Adam took the lead role of Young Man in Ashton's Two Pigeons at the Royal Opera House.
In September 1989 Adam joined the Royal Ballet Company (see details below). He rose quickly through the ranks, being promoted to First Artist and Soloist in 1991, First Soloist 1993 and being made Principal Dancer in 1994. While with the Royal Ballet Adam worked extensively with Kenneth Macmillan and William Tuckett, partnering all the leading ballerinas of the Company. Ashley Page was the first choreographer to make a Principal role on Adam in his Bloodlines.
Adam left The Royal Ballet in February 1997 to pursue his career further.
In 1995 Adam was approached by Matthew Bourne to join his company Adventures in Motion Pictures for their new production of SwanLake. Together they created the role of The Swan/Stranger and Adam has performed the role all over the world to great acclaim. In 1997, Adam also took part in Bourne's Cinderella.
In 1998 Adam started a relationship with The Scottish Ballet. Scottish Ballet also gave Adam his first professional commission as a choreographer, Just Scratching the Surface, since when he has gone on to choreograph for other ballet companies and for musical theatre.
Adam appeared at the Exeter Festival for 3 years, heading evenings of dance co-produced with Iain Webb. In 2001 the performances included a major revival of Peter Darrell's Othello as well as Page's Room of Cooks (original cast), Scottish Dances from Bintley’s Flowers of the Forest and a piece Adam choreographed especially for the festival, The Art of Touch. In 2002, Adam and Sarah Wildor presented a tribute to Sir Kenneth MacMillan at Exeter which included a revival of his Sea of Troubles alongside Manon Act 3 pas de deux, Summer pas de deux, Isadora solos, Requiem solo and Side Show. Adam and Sarah also appeared with Star dancers Japan in February 2002 in their tribute to Sir Kenneth MacMillan.
The Adam Cooper Company represented the UK at the Washington International Ballet Festival, March 2003, performing a revival of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Sea of Troubles.
Adam has returned to dance as a guest artist with the Royal Ballet frequently since leaving the company and he has worked several times with choreographer William Tuckett. In December 2002 he created the role of Badger in Wind in the Willows and in Spring 2004 he created the title role in The Soldier’s Tale (both these productions were for ROH2 in The Linbury Theatre). Adam also took part in the Mixed Bill of new works at the Royal Opera House in December 2003, with Zenaida Yanowsky in Tuckett’s Proverb.
There has been a return to his musical theatre roots for Adam recently, working as choreographer with Paul Kerryson, Artistic Director of the Leicester Haymarket, on his reworkings of On Your Toes, in both Britain and Japan, and Singin’ in the Rain at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Leicester Haymarket. In November 2004 he choreographed Grand Hotel for The Donmar Warehouse (directed by Michael Grandage), for which he was nominated for a Lawrence Olivier Award. In 2005 he realised a long-held vision with his own production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Co-directed and designed by Lez Brotherston, the production was choreographed by and starred Adam in the lead role of Viscomte de Valmont. The piece premiered in Japan early in the year before a summer season at Sadler’s Wells, with a cast which included Simon Cooper and Sarah Wildor. Following this, Adam and Sarah performed a two-handed play, Wallflowering, at the Sevenoaks Playhouse, ending a very busy year with the choreography for the revival of Promises, Promises at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
In 2006 Adam appeared alongside Neil Morrissey and Patrick Swayze in Guys & Dolls at The Piccadilly Theatre, London and in 2007 he choreographed Imagine This for the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and Side by Side by Sondheim for The Venue Theatre, London. 2008 saw a return to the stage, creating the role of Ramon in Zorro the Musical for the UK tour. Adam also played the Tin Man in the Royal Festival Hall’s summer staging of the musical The Wizard of Oz, after which he turned his attention back to choreography. First, he choreographed Carousel for director Lindsay Posner which had a very successful UK tour and West End run at the Savoy Theatre. Then Adam was asked by Paul Kerryson to direct and choreograph the first new show, Simply Cinderella, at the brand new Curve Theatre, Leicester.
2009 heralded Adam’s return not just to the stage but to contemporary dance. He joined Russell Maliphant for 2:4:10, an evening of works at London’s Coliseum celebrating Maliphant’s 10 years as a choreographer. Adam and Russell performed “Critical Mass”, a piece first created in 1998 for Michael Nunn and William Trevitt’s new company, George Piper Dances.
Adam married Sarah Wildor in August 2000, and their daughter Naomi was born in August 2008.
Adam has a portrait by Stuart Pearson Wright in the National Portrait Gallery London.
For the Royal Ballet:
The Prince, with Darcey Bussell (Swan Lake, Royal Ballet tour to Austin, Texas, 1991).
RB productions choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan include: King of the North, King of the South and the Prince, with Darcey Bussell (Prince of the Pagodas, ROH 1990); Solyony (role created for Adam), and Vershinin (Winter Dreams); Foreman (Judas Tree); Romeo with Fiona Chadwick, Darcey Bussell & Sylvie Guillem, and Tybalt (Romeo & Juliet); Crown Prince Rudolf, with Viviana Durante, Leanne Benjamin, Gillian Revie and Mara Galeazzi (Mayerling); Lescaut, and Gaoler (Manon); Husband, with Viviana Durante (Anastasia); Solo Boy (Gloria); Husband, with Sarah Wildor (The Invitation); Solo Boy (Fin de Jour); Pas de Deux Boy (Danses Concertantes); Drum Major (Different Drummer).
RB productions choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton include: Pas de Deux (Thais); Pas de Deux (Raymonda); Symphonic Variation; Dorkon (Daphnis and Chloe); La Valse and The Poet (Illuminations).
RB productions choreographed by George Balanchine include: Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Symphony in C, with Sylvie Guillem and Viviana Durante (ROH, 1991); Agon; Ballet Imperial; Stravinsky Violin Concerto.
RB productions choreographed by Ashley Page with roles created on Adam include: Bloodlines; Renard; Ebony Concerto; Two Part Invention; Room of Cooks.
RB productions choreographed by William Tuckett with roles created on Adam include: Enclosure; Present Histories; Desirable Hostilities. Other Tuckett productions include A Shropshire Lad and Magpie’s Tower.
Other RB productions include: Young Gentleman (Tetley’s La Ronde); Tombeaux and 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café (Bintley); First Red Knight (Ninette De Valois’ Checkmate); Tsarevitch (Folkine’s The Firebird); The Bridegroom (Nijinska’s Les Noces); Espada (Barishnikov’s Don Quixote); Wheeldon’s Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte; Hart’s Fanfare and Dances with Death; William Forsythe’s Herman Schmerman, Firstext and Steptext, all with Sylvie Guillem.
For Adventures In Motion Pictures: The Swan/Stranger (Swan Lake – Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London 1995; Piccadilly Theatre, London 1996; Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles 1997; Neil Simon Theatre, Broadway 1998; Dominion Theatre, London 2000 and various theatres on tour in Britain and Germany 1995-2000); Spitfire (Swan Lake Gala 1995 and Dance Umbrella Gala 2004); Pilot, with Sarah Wildor (Cinderella, Piccadilly Theatre, London 1997) and the Angel (Cinderella, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles 1999).
For Scottish Ballet: Hoffmann (Peter Darrell’s Tales of Hoffmann); Romeo (Robert North’s Romeo and Juliet, 2000).
Guest Appearances: An Evening with Sylvie Guillem (Hampton Court Festival); Irek Mukhamedov and Company (Bilbao); Darcey Bussell and Friends (Edinburgh and Hampton Court Festivals); summer tours for two years to The Sintra Festival (Portugal); Palemon, with Alessandra Ferri (Ashton's Ondine, La Scala, Milan); Nijinski's role, with Carla Fracci and Deborah Bull (Jeux, Rome Opera House).
As Guest Artist with the Royal Ballet: Romeo, with Darcey Bussell (Romeo & Juliet, Tokyo); Thais Pas de Deux (Washington D.C); the Royal Ballet's Sadler’s Wells season (1999) which included Palemon, with Sarah Wildor (Ondine), Balanchine's Serenade with Darcey Bussell and Zenaida Yanowsky; the lead role in Page's Fearful Symmetries and a role in Tuckett's Turn of the Screw. Steptext Pas de Deux, with Deborah Bull (Royal Opera House Re-Opening Gala in December 1999) and for Anthony Dowell's leaving Gala (2001), Onegin, with Tamara Rojo and Alina Cojocaru (Cranko's Onegin, ROH,2002).
Six Faces, with Tetsuya Kumakawa, Stuart Cassidy, William Trevitt, Gary Avis and Mathew Dibble(K. Ballet, Japan, 2001); Tuckett’s Proverb, with Zenaida Yanowsky(ROH, 2003); Badger (Tuckett’s Wind in the Willows, The Linbury Theatre, ROH2 2003); The Soldier (Tuckett’s Soldier’s Tale, The Linbury Theatre, ROH2 2004 & 2005); Critical Mass, with Russell Maliphant (2:4:10, The London Coliseum, 2009).
For Adam Cooper & Company (co-produced with Iain Webb): Peter Darrell's Othello; Ashley Page's Room of Cooks; Scottish Dances from David Bintley’s Flowers of the Forest; and Adam Cooper’s The Art of Touch (Exeter Festival, 2001). A Tribute to Sir Kenneth MacMillan, with Sarah Wildor, including Sea of Troubles; Act 3 Pas de Deux (Manon); Requiem solo (Exeter Festival, 2002). Ashley Page’s Walk & Talk, with Marianela Nunez; Hans van Manen’s Sarcasms,with Zenaida Yanowsky; the World Premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Binocular, with Simon Cooper; and Adam Cooper’s The Nature of Touch (Exeter Festival, 2003). MacMillan’s Sea of Troubles(An English National Ballet Evening at The Linbury Theatre, ROH and the Washington Festival, 2003).
For Adam Cooper Productions Ltd: Vicomte de Valmont, (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Japanese tour and Sadler’s Wells, London 2005).
MUSICALS: Junior (On Your Toes, Leicester Haymarket 2002, Royal Festival Hall, London 2003 and Japanese tour 2004); Don Lockwood (Singin’ In The Rain, Sadler’s Wells, London and Leicester Haymarket, 2004); Sky Masterson (Guys & Dolls, Piccadilly Theatre, London 2006); Ramon (Zorro the Musical, UK Tour 2008); The Tin Man (Wizard of Oz, Royal Festival Hall, London 2008).
PLAYS: Surprise Guest in Play What I Wrote (Richmond Theatre, 2003); Wallflowering, with Sarah Wildor (Sevenoaks Playhouse, 2005)
Just Scratchin' the Surface (Scottish Ballet, 1998); Elegy for Two (Images of Dance, 1998); Reflections (Images of Dance, 1999); Le Corsair Act 3, with Margaret Barbieri (Images of Dance, 2000); Six Faces, (K Ballet, Japan, 2001); The Art of Touch (Adam Cooper & Company, Exeter Festival, 2001); The Bawdy Song Travellers (Images of Dance, 2002); Garbo the Musical (Stockholm, 2002); On Your Toes, directed by Paul Kerryson (Leicester Haymarket, 2002, Royal Festival Hall, London 2003 and Japanese tour 2004); Singin’ In The Rain, directed by Paul Kerryson (Sadler’s Wells, London and Leicester Haymarket, 2004); Grand Hotel, directed by Michael Grandage (Donmar Warehouse, London 2004); Les Liaisons Dangereuses, co-directed by Adam Cooper and Lez Brotherston (Japanese tour and Sadler’s Wells, London 2005); Promises, Promises, directed by Angus Jackson (The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield 2005); Imagine This, directed by Timothy Sheader (Theatre Royal, Plymouth 2007); Side by Side by Sondheim, directed by Hannah Chissick (The Venue Theatre, London 2007); Carousel, directed by Lindsay Posner (UK Tour and Savoy Theatre, London 2008); Simply Cinderella, also directed by Adam Cooper (Curve Theatre, Leicester 2008).
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, co-directed by Adam Cooper and Lez Brotherston (Japanese tour and Sadler’s Wells, London 2005); Simply Cinderella, (Curve Theatre, Leicester 2008).
FILM & TELEVISION:
Eros in Jason and The Argonauts (Hallmark Films); William Tuckett’s Duet and The Sandman, with The Quay Brothers (Channel 4 TV); the Viscount in Madame Bovary (BBC TV); Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (BBC/Adventures In Motion Pictures Film); Winter Dreams (BBC TV); Dance Ballerina Dance (BBC TV); Billy Elliot (Working Title Films).
For his performance in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake: The 1996 Time Out Dance Award; 1997 Evening Standard Ballet Award; The 1997 Dramalogue Award for Outstanding Performance (with Scott Ambler); The 1999 Fred Astaire Award for Outstanding Male Dancer; nominated for the 1999 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
The 2003 Critics’ Circle Dance Awards for Choreography for On Your Toes.
The 2003 Critics’ Circle Audience Award for Most Popular Performer of the Year.
Nominated for the 2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Choreography for Grand Hotel.