Dark Arteries

brass band-powered dance

Dark Arteries

Rambert has never sounded quite like this before. The massed ranks of a full brass band propel Rambert’s dancers in Dark Arteries.

Mark Baldwin’s powerful, emotion-filled work about community and change is inspired by the 30th anniversary of the end of the miners’ strike. With music inspired by Gavin Higgins, it is a dance which draws you into its emotional heart while the music lifts the hairs on the back of your neck, then raises the roof.

**** ‘Highly emotional'

Financial Times

'Rambert have a long and proud tradition of performing with live music. And that tradition has rarely been on more impressive display than in Dark Arteries'

The Guardian
Mark Baldwin
Gavin Higgins
Michael Howells
Lighting design:
Michael Mannion
Costume design:
Mark Baldwin and Stevie Stewart
Assistant to the choreographer:
Deborah Galloway
Brass band at Venue Cymru:
Tredegar Town Band

Premiere: Sadler's Wells, London, 12 May 2015

Performances of Dark Arteries have been accompanied by Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, the Fairey Band, Tredegar Town Band and Whitburn Band.

'This is 21st-century brass'

Evening Standard


© Nick GuttridgeMark Baldwin

Born in Fiji and educated in New Zealand, Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland where his enduring interest in choreography began. He helped found Limbs Dance Company, later dancing with the New Zealand Ballet, EMMA Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre and Rambert from 1979 – 1980 and 1983 – 1992.

On leaving Rambert as a dancer, Mark established the Mark Baldwin Dance Company which ran for almost ten years and toured to Sri Lanka, Poland, France, Malaysia, Sardinia and Tunisia. His work within his own company won numerous awards.

He has choreographed for the Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Cisne Negro (Brazil), Royal New Zealand Ballet, Berlin State Opera House, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma among others.

In December 2002, Mark returned to Rambert as Artistic Director. He figure-headed the capital campaign for the Company’s new purpose built home on London’s South Bank and has worked to strengthen Rambert’s position as a leading contemporary dance organisation.

With his special interest in choreographic development and its relationship to music, working alongside Rambert’s Musical Director Paul Hoskins, Mark has commissioned more than 20 new compositions especially for dance and established the post of Music Fellow within the Company.

In 2014 Mark choreographed Mahler’s 4th Symphony for the Saarbrucken Staatstheater in Germany, as well as Inala in collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the Edinburgh International Festival.

Dark Arteries is Mark’s seventh work for Rambert as Artistic Director. His other works for the Company are: Constant Speed, Eternal Light, The Comedy of Change, Seven for a Secret Never to be Told, What Wild Ecstasy and The Strange Charm of Mother Nature.

Mark’s works also include Gunot’s Symphony in G and The Rite of Spring for the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, the latter of which was presented as a curtain raiser for Rambert’s season at Sadler’s Wells in November 2013.

© Owen RichardsGavin Higgins

Described as ‘boldly imaginative’ (The Times) and ‘a talent to watch’ (New York Times), three times British Composer Award nominee Gavin Higgins has been consistently praised for his distinct compositional style.

Coming from a long lineage of brass band musicians in the Forest of Dean he studied French horn and composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, The Royal College of Music and Royal Holloway University. Higgins has worked with some of the country’s leading ensembles and orchestras including the LPO, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Tredegar Town Band, London Sinfonietta, Fidelio Trio, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble 10:10 and Manchester Camerata.

In 2010 he became Rambert Dance Company’s inaugural music fellow where he wrote the ‘enjoyably wild’ (The Guardian), British Composer Award nominated score for What Wild Ecstasy.

His first BBC Proms commission came in 2012 with the ‘monumental’ (The Arts Desk) Der Aufstand for the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. Just two years later Higgins opened the 2014 Last Night of the Proms with the ‘fast, exciting, brilliantly scored’ (The Telegraph) Velocity.

Higgins is currently writing a new work for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Bridge Project violins that will get its premiere at the Southbank Centre, 23rd October.

Michael Howells

Michael Howells started his career in film as an art director and rapidly moved on to become a production designer in his own right. Howells’ work encompasses film, theatre and fashion. For the theatre and dance his work includes: DV8’s MSM, The Royal Court; Deutsche Staatsoper’s Der Damon; Royal Ballet’s Towards Poetry. Previous works for Rambert:  Henrietta Horn’s Cardoon Club; and Mark Baldwin’s Constant Speed, Eternal Light, Lady into Fox, Seven for a secret, never to be told, and most recently Baldwin’s Dark Arteries. Also, Dansgroep’s  fier!; Staatsoper Saarbrucken’s Not a Cloud in the Sky. Theatre includes: chariots of fire (Hampstead Theatre, Geiguld Theatre); and Dick Whittington (The Barbican). Film includes: Shackleton, Nanny Mcphee, Emma, Miss Julie, The Game, Everafter, Fairytale, Ohio Impromptu. He has designed for: Galliano, Lacroix and Mcqueen in Paris.

Michael Mannion

Michael has been a Lighting Designer for the past 20 years. He specialises in designing for dance. He has had numerous commissions throughout Britain, Europe, Australia and South Africa, and his work has spanned designs for touring companies, site-specifics and installations. He has created designs for Rambert, Phoenix Dance Company, The Royal Ballet, The Birmingham Royal Ballet., Ashley Page, Javier De Frutos , Balbir Singh, Protein Dance Company, Shobana Jeyasingh, Hofesh Shechter, Rafael Bonachela, Charles Linehan, CandoCo, Athina Valha, Carol Brown, the re-opening event at the Royal Festival Hall as well as many others.

Michael conducts courses in lighting design at BA and MA level, in London, Denmark and South Africa. He has also taught lighting master classes for the British Council in Kazakhstan.

PRS Foundation logo

The music commission for Dark Arteries was supported by PRS for Music Foundation.

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