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Friday, 2 November, 2001, 15:48 GMT
Rambert celebrates 75 years
Dance Week
The piece evokes World War II
By BBC News Online's Robert White

Britain's flagship contemporary dance ensemble, Rambert Dance Company, is set to mark its 75th anniversary with a new work from artistic director Christopher Bruce.

It is 75 years since the Polish-born dancer Marie Rambert, a former dancer at Russian impresario Sergei Diaghelev's Ballets Russes, in Paris, founded Britain's oldest dance company.


My dance comes directly from images inspired by the music

Christopher Bruce
Bruce's His Grinning in Your Face receives its London premiere at Sadler's Wells from 20 to 24 November.

Created specially to honour Rambert's anniversary, and for a mixed cast of nine, Bruce's ballet is inspired by the music of virtuoso blues and folk guitarist Martin Simpson and by images of the US midwest in the last century.

'Stimulated'

The piece evokes the hardships of the Depression and World War II, and features songs by Bob Dylan, Paul Anka and Cat Stevens, as well as Simpson's own arrangements of traditional folk songs.

Bruce explains: "My dance comes directly from images inspired by the music - which appeared to me to paint pictures of rural America from the 1930s to the 1960s.

"My imagination was stimulated by photographs, novels - particularly Steinbeck - and, of course, the movies.

"There is no storyline, although I do use a storytelling device occasionally. Mostly, the work is an interpretation of the songs, with linking themes."

Bruce is one of the most important figures in the Rambert company's history.

'Strengthen legs'

His best loved works include Rooster - a slick evocation of sexual posturing on 60s dancefloors performed to vintage Rolling Stones tracks - and Ghost Dances, a tribute to victims of political oppression in South America danced to Andean folk music.

He joined the Rambert school in 1959, at the age of 13, after taking up dancing to strengthen legs damaged by childhood polio.

He went on to become one of the country's greatest male dancers, then one of its best and most popular choreographers.

Bruce's birthday greetings are echoed by BBC Knowledge, which is screening a Rambert at 75 special at 2100 GMT on Thursday 8 November.

Saturday 3 November sees the start of Dance Week 2001 on the corporation's dedicated arts and culture channel.

Highlights include eight new, specially commissioned, 10-minute dance performances, to be broadcast under the title Dance for the Camera, and profiles of dancers including Wayne MacGregor, Alicia Markova, Jane Dudley and Michael Clark.

See also:

30 Nov 00 | Education
09 Sep 01 | Entertainment
27 Apr 01 | Entertainment
08 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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