RS100: The Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance launches its centenary celebrations

Anya Linden Studio Theatre, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Twickenham, London
January 27, 2020

Maggie Foyer

An Armoured Inkwell by Nio Serrapiglio and Imogen Wallace Photo Rambert School/James Keates
An Armoured Inkwell
by Nio Serrapiglio and Imogen Wallace
Photo Rambert School/James Keates

It’s easy to forget how very young the art of dance is. It was just 100 years ago that Marie Rambert founded her vocational school in the matchbox size studio in Notting Hill Gate. She would have been amazed to see the splendour of the new workspaces and Studio Theatre in Twickenham, West London where Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance is situated under the direction of Amanda Britton, herself a former Rambert dancer.

The centenary year was launched with a feel-good evening of celebration. A rich mix of alumni, teachers and associates of the school enjoyed wine and nibbles followed by a short presentation of student choreography.

Fostering the School’s dual aims of building technique and creative exploration, student choreography has always been a highlight of Rambert School shows and this 30-minute sampler was no exception. Most impressive was the short solo, Ville Morose, choreographed and performed by Third Year student Archie White. There was nothing superfluous in the emotionally charged movement, carefully chosen and so self-contained it held the attention like a magnet.

Outstanding amongst other solos and duets was An Armoured Inkwell from First Year students, Nio Serrapiglio and Imogen Wallace, inspired by poetry from Aidan Andrew Dun, grandson of Marie Rambert. A wartime love poem, it sensitively drew on deep emotions of longing and separation in performances of exceptional maturity.

An extract from the new work by Arielle SmithPhoto Rambert School/James Keates
An extract from the new work by Arielle Smith
Photo Rambert School/James Keates

Two group works bookended the presentation. Aheym choreographed by Second Year, Aurora Casatori for six dancers, used Bryce Dessner’s composition that invests a string ensemble with drive more often associated with rock music. The dancers responded with spirited performances in choreography defined by punchy leaps that rebounded off the floor and daring lifts.

The closing number, an extract from a new work by Arielle Smith, used twelve committed and enthusiastic dancers in a joyously collaborative work. Bobby McFerrin, Don’t Worry, Be Happy was followed to the letter as performers were hoisted aloft, swung around and generally just celebrated being dancers.

I expect there will be further development on these works in Platform, the student showcase in May and on the strength of this evening it will be well worth a visit.

For more on the Rambert School’s RS100 celebrations visit www.rambertschool.org.uk/school/rs100