Celebrating Mark Baldwin | Rambert Artistic Director 2002-2018
As Mark stands down as Artistic Director of Rambert, we look back on an illustrious directorship of the company
Shortly after Mark Baldwin was appointed as just the seventh Artistic Director in Rambert’s long history, he was interviewed by The Guardian. “What’s the point of me taking on this company if I don’t have the highest ambitions for it?” he said. “What’s the point if I don’t start off by swinging from the chandeliers?”
Mark steps down this year, after a 15-year tenure which makes him the longest serving director of the company since Marie Rambert herself. The high ambitions with which he started his directorship have been present throughout his time leading the company.
In the Guardian interview he spoke about his belief in collaboration — the principle that Marie Rambert learnt from Diaghilev that dance works should be a meeting place for a choreographer, an artist and a score. He talked about his commitment to developing the choreographic potential of dancers from the company, as well as bringing in the newest talents in music and design.
14 years later, as Rambert celebrated its 90th anniversary, that same vision was to the fore. Mark presented two programmes at Sadler’s Wells. The first was Contemporaries, a programme of dance to new music, from dancemakers — Malgazorta Dzeirzon, Alexander Whitley and Patricia Okenwa — whose choreography practice had been developed during their time as dancers with Mark’s Rambert company. The second was his own work, a collaboration with artist Pablo Bronstein to create an epic dance staging of Haydn’s The Creation.
The intervening years saw over 60 new creations and revivals, growing audiences for Rambert’s work all around the country, a doubling in the size and reach of Rambert’s learning and participation work, and the realisation of the company’s longest-held dream when it moved into its first purpose-built home, a state-of-the-art, £20m building on London’s south bank. Mark made eight utterly distinctive works of his own for the company’s repertoire, and won two Oliviers and 13 National Dance Awards. In 2014, he was awarded an OBE for services to dance.
Mark talks about his time as a dancer, choreographer and Artistic Director of Rambert
Announcing his departure, Mark said “I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single dancer, musician, conductor, crew, creative artist, support staff, learning and participation worker, fundraiser, CEO, choreographer, board member, Arts Council officer, wardrobe supervisor, physio, teacher, rehearsal director, stage hand, usher, costume maker, sound engineer, volunteer, archivist and audience member who has helped Rambert on this part of its artistic journey.”
Thank you, Mark. Thank you for always swinging from the chandeliers.