A year full of new commissions

Work celebrating the power of the arts in times of political and social upheaval to premiere in the week following 2015 General Election.

• Rambert’s commissions include choreography by Mark Baldwin, Kim Brandstrup, Didy Veldman and Alexander Whitley, and three new musical scores specially created for dance
• Plans build on a year of unprecedented success in 2014, the company’s first in its new home on London’s South Bank
• Rambert renews its commitment to national touring of world-class contemporary work

Our brass band dance work is among a series of original commissions which form the cornerstone of our plans for 2015.

At London’s Sadler’s Wells in May 2015, Rambert will be joined on stage by Tredegar Town Band, winners of the 2013 British Open and one of the country’s foremost brass ensembles, the first time that a professional dance company and a brass band have collaborated in this way. The work’s title, Dark Arteries, is a metaphor for Britain’s coal mines taken from a poem by Mervyn Peake. 30 years after the Miners’ Strike, and one week after the 2015 General Election, Dark Arteries celebrates the power of the music to sustain communities through times of social and political upheaval.

Dark Arteries is choreographed by Rambert’s Artistic Director Mark Baldwin to a specially composed score by Gavin Higgins, a former Rambert Music Fellow who wrote the opening work for this year’s Last Night of the Proms. For Higgins, who comes from a family of brass band musicians, the work has deep personal connotations:

“Politicians have been asking recently if brass bands are valued in the arts. I truly believe that band music is relevant to today and it is utterly unique to Britain. The only thing we have left from our mining heritage is the plethora of incredible brass bands throughout the country and this is something to be extremely proud of.” Gavin Higgins

In addition to Dark Arteries, Rambert will premiere new works by Kim Brandstrup, Didy Veldman and Alexander Whitley, as part of its national touring repertoire.

Alexander Whitley is a former Rambert dancer who began his career as a dancemaker in the Company’s choreographic development programme. He is now an in-demand artist who has recently made works for Balletboyz, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, and has been nominated for the Emerging Artist prize in the 2014 National Dance Awards.

Whitley’s company became an Associate Company of Rambert in 2013, and his first Rambert work since that appointment will premiere at Theatre Royal Glasgow in March 2015. The piece continues his collaboration with artists Tuur Van Balen and Revital Cohen, exploring how ideas of production relate to and impact upon the body. It features an original score by Icelandic composer Daniel Bjarnason.

Another former Rambert dancer, Didy Veldman has an international choreographic career. She co-founded Compagnie Alias with Guilherme Botelho in Switzerland, and has worked extensively with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and with Cedar Lake in New York. For Rambert, Veldman will create a work to premiere at Theatre Royal Plymouth in September 2015 inspired by the Picasso masterpiece The Three Dancers. The painting recalls a passionate and ultimately tragic triangular love affair among the artist’s friends, and shows love, sex and death linked in an ecstatic dance.

The vivid Cubist imagery and eternal themes are reflected in Veldman’s work, performed to new music by acclaimed Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin. The score is jointly commissioned by Wimbledon International Music Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music and Dancenorth in Australia, and Sitka Summer Music Festival, El Paso Pro Musica and West Bach Festival in the USA.

Rambert’s final new creation for 2015 will be Transfigured Night by Kim Brandstrup. A two-time Olivier Award winner, Brandstrup has worked extensively for The Royal Ballet and for other leading dance companies around the world during his thirty-year career. His first new work for Rambert since 2004 will be set to Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), the seminal early work by 20th century musical giant Arnold Schoenberg. The piece, which echoes the music’s theme of embracing unconditional love, will have its premiere at Sadler’s Wells in London in November 2015.

Rambert’s Artistic Director Mark Baldwin said:
“From Plymouth to London to Glasgow, Rambert’s new works next year should give our audiences a real treat. Sadler’s Wells won’t have heard anything like Tredegar Town Band before – the big music, and big dancing, are going to raise the roof!”

2014: a year of success

Rambert’s plans for 2015 build on a year of unprecedented success for in 2014, the Company’s first year in its new, purpose-built home on London’s South Bank, which won a RIBA National Award as one of the best new buildings of the year.

Critical acclaim has included five-star reviews for both Rambert’s programme of 20th century classic works at Sadler’s Wells in May, and its specially staged Cunningham ‘Event’ at its new home in June/July. Audiences have agreed: the Sadler’s Wells week in May was the highest selling in the Company’s history, and the Rambert Event was a sell-out. On tour in England, Scotland and Wales, average attendance has been its highest for over 10 years.

The new building has doubled Rambert’s capacity for participatory work, and this year over 30,000 people will take part in classes, workshops and events. The Company’s work in schools and in the community continues to expand, and City Bridge Trust has awarded Rambert a grant of over £100,000 to extend its programme working with elderly people in London over the next three years, using dance to improve quality of life for people living with dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Britain’s national dance company

Rambert’s plans for the coming year affirm its position as Britain’s national dance company, supported by a new three-year cycle of funding from Arts Council England.

The Company is committed to presenting excellent new and historic dance works to audiences in all parts of the country, performed by world-class dancers and accompanied by live music. Rambert will continue to have the most extensive national touring programme of any UK contemporary dance company and, through partnerships with theatres in England, Scotland and Wales, develop new audiences for dance in all parts of the country.

Alongside these performances, the Company engages tens of thousands of people in outreach, education and participation work of the highest quality, invests in the professional development of its dancers and of composers for dance, and supports the work of its Associate Companies: New Movement Collective and Alexander Whitley Dance Company.

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