Reliving the Movements & Moments of Dame Marie Rambert
Vintage Rambert was a free cross-arts performance project inspired by the public and private life of Company founder Marie Rambert: a dance pioneer, entrepreneur, revolutionary and celebrity. In August 2013 young creatives aged 16 – 25 created ‘Second from the Left’, an original dance work at Canada Water Culture Space under the guidance of Rambert mentors.
I had the opportunity be a part of the Rambert Dance Company’s Vintage Rambert production of ‘Second from the Left’ this summer. Vintage Rambert was a project which invited talented young people from a range of creative backgrounds to work together on a dance production and behind the scenes documentary. There were dancers, stage managers, lighting designers, musicians, composers, writers, filmmakers, visual artists and photographers all working together on his multifaceted production. The entire production was inspired by the Rambert Dance Company’s archive documenting the physical and factual history of Dame Marie Rambert, and how her life lead to her funding of the company. The performance, crafted from scratch over the course of six days, was envisioned to convey the essence of Rambert’s life through collaborative performance art.
After everyone involved had a chance to examine the Rambert archive material, the choreographers worked closely with two young writers on the project to incorporate the story of Marie Rambert’s life and experiences into the narrative of the performance. It was then up to the dancers, under the guidance from the choreographers, to express their own interpretation of Rambert.
‘The studio was highly charged knowing we had to create a promenade performance in six days incorporating dance, text, original music, archive material, film and costume. Everybody rose to the challenge with the quality of the work far exceeding my expectations'”, said Project Director and Choreographer, Deborah Galloway
Under the tutelage from tutors, the young people were able to contribute to the production through varying fields of art and performance. The dance choreography wasn’t simply taught to the dancers; the dancers own personal styles and unique movements were incorporated into the choreography itself. They even took the time to teach eachother the best moves they came up with between themselves. Similarly, all of the music composed was entirely thought up by the recruited young composers, with suggestions from the tutors to match the narrative already established. The resident photographer and fine artist (who was also a dancer himself) were tasked with capturing the movements of the dancers as they happened.
Another important aspect of the process was the costume designing. All costumes were designed by three costume makers, each at a different levels of experience ranging from A Levels to Degree Level. Their role was to physically transpose the memory of Marie Rambert’s life into appropriate costumes. They used an image transfer technique to literally put images from important times in Marie Ramber’s life onto the costumes.
I was apart of the documentary team, which consisted of myself and three other film students. While we were not a part of the dance production itself, we were in charge of documenting it and exploring the different elements that went into such a creatively diverse project. We interviewed people from the production including the mentors and young people, before finally editing the six days worth of content into a seven minute documentary video. The final performance was held Saturday evening, on the final day of the project.
The Vintage Rambert Company will perform ‘Second from the Left’ again on Thursday 12 December 16:30, and on Friday 13 December 18:30 & 20:00 to celebrate Rambert’s move to London’s South Bank. To book tickets to this and any other Rambert event, you email [email protected] and sign up to their e-newsletter for regular updates.
Vintage Rambert Company:
Dancers: Charlotte Arnold, Lydia Baker, Isaac Bowry, David Evans, Joshua Gill, Marlene Hell, Megan Houldsworth, Bethany Monk-Lane, Kurt Nagy, Erin O’Toole, Hazel Pithers, Eliza Reger, Mia Roberts, Gabriela Serani, Cherie Thompson, Daniel Walsh
Composers/Musicians: John-Henry Baker, Rosie Clements, Matthew Goodman, Rob Jones Khemi Shabazz, Benjamin Tassie, Miriam Verghese, Yfat Soul Zisso
Costume Designers: Natassia Green, Sophie Thomas, Ashleigh Turner
Writers: Clare McColloch, Phoebe Wagner
Lighting Designer: Joshua Harriette
Visual Artist: Luka Vardiashvili
Photographer: Sara Azmy
Stage Managers: Letisha Larmond, Funmibi Ogunlesi
Filmmakers: Ysabella Alvarez, Sara Cowburn, Tari Eguruze, Colette Pacini
Project Manager: Rosie Riley
The Rambert Mentors:
Archivist: Arike Oke
Choreographers: Deborah Galloway and Natalie Gibbs
Costume Supervisor: Caroline Hagley
Music Fellow and Composer: Cheryl Frances-Hoad
Scientist in Residence at Rambert and Professor of Comparative Cognition at Cambridge University: Nicky Clayton
Film Makers: Nike Hatzidomou and Victoria Victoria Ljeh from Iconic Steps
Stage Manager: Bill Hammond
Technical Director: Malcolm Glanville