Last week Youth Dance Ambassador Johanna Hadley ventured down to Rambert Dance Company’s new studios. Have a read of her fantastic day here.
“Dance Anywhere?”, Catherine Reed from The Lowry’s Marketing Team, said to us both as we met her for the first time in Piccadilly train station. It felt like a codeword used for our identification just as we were about to embark on our latest mission. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was – Rambert Dance Company!
Once we had arrived at London Euston, we met up with two other journalists who had also travelled down on the train, before making our journey across the Tube system and arriving at Waterloo station. Catherine, armed with the map on her phone, lead us as we weaved our way through the puddle-strewn pavements. There were some debates as to the direction we were heading in (and a few near-misses with wrong turnings!) but it was marvellous as we were in the central heart of London’s South Bank. The Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre, to name but a few of the buildings that we walked past on our way; it couldn’t have seemed more fitting than for Rambert to have moved here.
Their building – in quite a contemporary design – was so new, you could almost still smell the wet concrete. Apparently the building isn’t entirely finished yet (still a few tweaks required!), but the light and airy design is simply stunning – and perfect for a dance company.
We next headed to one of their dance studios to watch the dancers. We were ushered into tiered seating located at one end of the very large and bright studio as the dancers were dotted throughout the room – some stretching in corners, some practising steps. Everyone’s eyes were suddenly drawn to the middle of the room where one of the dancers was being tossed and flipped high into the air – Christopher Bruce (ex-Rambert dancer, Artistic Director and Choreographer) was stood with his assistant just a little in front of this acrobatic and daring manoeuvre. He was urging them to practice over and over again, until they achieved his vision of the movement.
The rehearsal continued for Rooster, with Mr. Bruce giving last minute tips to the dancers before they commenced their full run-through for us. Now began what I can only describe as spectacular. The detail applied by these dancers was astonishing – beneath their contemporary stylings, their exquisite ballet technique was clearly shining through.
After watching the performance of Rooster, we then headed up into a boardroom along with the other newspaper reporters, Rambert staff, and Mr. Bruce to eat lunch. We were given the opportunity to ask Mr. Bruce questions – his answers were always insightful and thought-provoking. Throughout the whole question and answer session, he discussed his time with Marie Rambert, his choice of music, and his selection of dancers. One reporter asked him what the best piece of advice was that was ever given to him by Marie Rambert. His response was that he couldn’t think of a single piece of advice, however it was her ruthlessness in pursuit of the highest standard, passion and commitment that has stayed with him. Mr. Bruce went on to explain that, for himself, when selecting dancers to work with, he is only interested and committed to people who want to go all the way – if they are unsure, then he doesn’t want to work with them.
Next, we were given a tour of their new premises – the administration department, their other studios, the wardrobe (which was fantastic to see!), the archives and finally back to the main foyer, where we said our goodbyes and departed, back on our way to Manchester.
Whilst writing this blog post the day after my trip to Rambert, and throughout the day today, I have frequently found my mind wandering back to the points raised by Christopher Bruce and his thoughts, opinions and comments – some of which have a direct lineage back to Marie Rambert.
Mission: Rambert Dance Company … accomplished!