On Friday, May 3, one of the world’s leading independent dance companies, Rambert, is performing at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. Rambert was formed at the start of the 20th century and today is Britain’s longest standing dance company. The company originally specialised in ballet, but today its focus is on contemporary dance, and is known for its diverse and international programming.
Like much of the work performed by Rambert, the show coming to the Churchill Theatre is a triple bill – ‘PreSentient’, ‘Rouge’ and ‘In your rooms’ – showcasing the work of three choreographers with very different styles. The pieces share a common theme of artistic breakthroughs, based on the idea that every great artist has a ‘moment’.
The first of the three pieces being performed is Wayne McGregor’s ‘PreSentient’. The piece, which was commissioned by Rambert in 2002, marked the choreographer’s arrival as a major talent and won a Time Out Award for Best Choreography ‘PreSentient’ is being performed by 12 dancers to Steve Reich‘s Triple Quartet, played live, with Lucy Carter’s lighting and Ursula Bombshell’s costume design completing the aesthetics.
Hofesh Shechter’s ‘In Your Rooms’ is the second piece showing as part of the trio. Hofesh, now an established artist, made his Sadler’s Wells debut with the piece in 2007, which is described by Rambert as ‘blending the personal and political in a work heart-stopping intensity.’
The piece is performed by a collective of dancers to a haunting score composed by Hofesh himself. The Observer described the piese as: “A performance of truly extraordinary beauty and profundity.”
The triple bill concludes with Marion Motion’s ‘Rouge’. Unlike the former pieces showing, ‘Rouge’ is a new creation by the French choreographer, who has never worked with a contemporary company before now. Marion is best known in the UK for her work with singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens, for whom she choreographer the video for her breakthrough track Tilted. Between this video and Dua Lipa’s ‘IDGAF’, which she also worked on and for which her choreography was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in 2018, Marion’s work has clocked up hundreds of millions of YouTube views.
Following the performance at the Churchill Theatre, the triple bill is showing at the prestigious Sadler’s Wells Theatre in Clerkenwell from May 14 – 18.
Rambert was formed by Marie Rambert, a Polish immigrant and dancer who arrived in London when the First World War broke out. While continuing her own ballet studies and performing as a soloist, Marie opened a school of dancing in Bedford Gardens, Kensington, two years after arriving in the UK. Of the company, she is reported to have said that if the Royal Ballet was the National Gallery of dance, then her own company was the Tate.
The company has had several names over the years, including the Ballet Club and Ballet Rambert. In 2014, its name was changed from Rambert Dance Company to Rambert, which it is known as today. Rambert’s home is on London’s South Bank, in a building opened by the Queen in March 2014.
Rambert is an ever-expanding entity. In 2018, the company launched Rambert2, made up of dancers from around the world in the early stages of their career. This secondary ensemble is currently touring around the UK as well as offering educational experiences and workshops to schools.
The company’s reach is growing too, with performances planned in France, Italy, Norway and Switzerland in the near future. Earlier this year, Rambert made a special guest performance on the new BBC One series The Greatest Dancer, performing alongside singer Freya Ridings.
However big they grow, though, the company’s ethos remains in creating dance that stands out from the crowd, resonates with the 21st century and above all, really matters.
Rambert is performing at the Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley BR1 1HA. May 3, at 7:30pm. Admission: £20/concessions available.
Photo: ©Ben Hopper