Rambert launches major new choreography challenge for schools and colleges

Rambert Elements is a new nationwide choreographic initiative for secondary schools and colleges that will launch during the 2015/2016 academic year. The initiative aims to raise the profile of choreography in schools and colleges and provide a national programme of professional support for students and teachers, to support the development of choreographic practice in future generations.

The programme will give groups of students from across the country the chance to create and perform short works inspired by themes and sequences of movement devised by some of Britain’s leading choreographers. Teachers from the participating schools and colleges will also be invited to take part in a series of skills development master classes at Rambert’s Studios in London.

Three leading choreographers – Mark Baldwin, Aletta Collins and Alexander Whitley – will each create a ‘toolkit’ that will contain resources including a title, a piece of music, online film interviews with the choreographers as well as demonstrations by Rambert dancers of the pre-devised movement phrases and tasks, which the groups can use as starting points. The kits will also include materials relating to the choreographers’ inspirations such as visual art and poetry.

Participating schools and colleges will use these choreographic toolkits to create their own works, which they will have the opportunity to showcase at one of six regional venues: Edinburgh Festival Theatre, The Lowry in Salford, Norwich Playhouse, Rambert in London, Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, and Theatre Royal Plymouth in early 2016. One group from each regional venue will then be invited to perform their work accompanied by the Rambert Orchestra at a central London theatre in June 2016.

Rambert Elements is a challenge that celebrates the range of creativity and the diversity of groups taking part. The pilot will see more than 500 pupils from 36 schools and colleges across the UK taking part, with the aim of increasing both the number of participants and the reach of the programme year on year. Schools and colleges were able to apply up until 4 September 2015 with the selected groups announced on 10 September 2015.

I am delighted that we are able to launch Rambert Elements, a nationwide initiative that will support teachers and students to develop their own choreographic skills by bringing the ideas of leading choreographers directly into the classroom. Rambert Elements will celebrate young people’s creativity and will raise the profile of dance in schools and colleges throughout the country.

Joce Giles, Director of Creative Projects, Rambert

About the choreographers

Mark Baldwin has been Artistic Director of Rambert since 2002, and has choreographed for leading ballet and contemporary dance companies around the world. His creations in the past year include The Strange Charm of Mother Nature and Dark Arteries for Rambert, a dance staging of Mahler’s 4th symphony for Saarbrucken Staatstheater, and Inala with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival and is currently on national tour.

Aletta Collins has worked extensively as a choreographer for dance, theatre and opera. For Rambert she was created two pieces: Bloom and Awakenings. She is a former Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House, choreographed His Dark Materials for the National Theatre and had over 2,000 people dancing in Trafalgar Square for Big Dance in 2008. Her West End credits include the new production of Bend it Like Beckham.

Alexander Whitley is a former Rambert dancer who has choreographed for The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Balletboyz and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. He was the dance nominee for The Times Breakthrough Award in the 2014 South Bank Sky Arts Awards. His first work for Rambert, Frames, had its premiere in March 2015 and is part of the current touring repertoire. Alexander Whitley Dance Company is an Associate Company of Rambert.

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