Mark Baldwin is to step down as artistic director of Rambert, the UK’s largest contemporary dance company. He is leaving to devote more time to his choreographic work.
After first joining Rambert as dancer in 1983, Baldwin later spent ten years working as an independent choreographer before being appointed the company’s seventh artistic director in December 2002. His tenure will be remembered for a huge expansion in the range and number of dance works commissioned, and the superb dancing of the company.
Baldwin himself created eight works for the company during his directorship, from the 2005 Olivier Award-nominated Constant Speed to his 2016 staging of Haydn’s The Creation, which celebrated Rambert’s 90th anniversary. His commissions have included works from Karole Armitage, Kim Brandstrup, Javier de Frutos, Shobana Jeyasingh and Doug Varone.
Talent development has been a feature of his tenure, promoting the choreographic careers of dancers from the company, and launching successful fellowships for emerging choreographers and composers. He created the unique role of scientist-in-residence at Rambert, working with Cambridge University Professor Nicola Clayton on a pioneering exploration of the links between dance and science.
During his 15-year leadership the company has received five Olivier Award nominations, winning twice, and has also won two TMA/UK Theatre Awards and 13 National Dance Awards. Baldwin was the figurehead for a £20million campaign to build the company’s first ever purpose-built home, a state-of-the-art facility on London’s South Bank, opened by Queen Elizabeth in 2014. He has overseen a growth in audiences and an extension of the company’s learning and participation activity. In 2016/17 the company’s work reached over 175,000 people, the biggest total in its 90-year history. In 2015, Baldwin was awarded an OBE for services to dance.
In 2018, Rambert will launch a second professional ensemble, Rambert2, made up of the world’s best early career dancers. It will also create its first full length narrative work in 30 years, Kim Brandstrup’s Life is a Dream, commissioned by Bergen International Festival.
Mark Baldwin said, “I am leaving a company in a very good position, with fantastic dancers and huge audiences. I feel I am leaving Rambert on a high.
“I am so proud to have moved Rambert into a new purpose-built facility on London’s South Bank and we are now launching Rambert2, a thrilling new junior company. Rambert and the Rambert School have never been closer.
“I have commissioned over 60 works, both new and revivals, for the Rambert dancers, who in my opinion have the richest embodied knowledge in the world. This is the beginning of my 16th year as Artistic Director which is the longest stint of any artistic director of this company, and I think it is the perfect moment to hand over. I arrived as a choreographer and my heart tells me it is time to return to that.”