Dame Marie Rambert
Marie Rambert was born in Warsaw in 1888. Although she showed exceptional aptitude for dance at school, it was not until 1904 when she first saw the work of Isadora Duncan, that she seriously considered becoming a professional dancer. Her parents, however, had other plans and in 1905 Marie Rambert was sent to Paris to study medicine. She was too young to begin medical studies immediately and so continued her dancing while she waited, eventually earning a modest income by giving dance recitals in fashionable Parisian salons. In 1910 she went to Jaques-Dalcroze’s School of Eurhythmics in Geneva, and when Diaghilev needed someone to help Nijinsky teach his cast the complicated rhythms of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Dalcroze recommended Marie Rambert. She joined the Ballets Russes in 1912 to teach eurhythmics, assist Nijinsky and dance in those ballets for which she was suitable. She remained with the Company for a year.
At the outbreak of the First World War she moved to Britain and supported herself by teaching dance and eurhythmics in schools and private homes in London. She continued to study and prepared new productions which, when performed, met with considerable public and critical success. In 1918 she married the English playwright, Ashley Dukes, whose support and encouragement for her work proved invaluable throughout the 41 years of their marriage.