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 Post subject: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 11:02 pm 
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<P><B>RAMBERT DANCE COMPANY APPOINTS NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR</B><P>The Board of Rambert Dance Company has announced the appointment of Mark Baldwin as the new Artistic Director of the company.<P>Mark was a dancer with Rambert from 1983 to 1992 and has also performed with a diverse range of dance companies including New Zealand Ballet, Second Stride, Australian Dance Theatre and of course his own Mark Baldwin Dance Company which was the recipient of the 2001 South Bank Show Award for Dance. He has also choreographed pieces for Phoenix Dance Company, Scottish Ballet (resident choreographer 1996), the Royal Ballet, London City Ballet and Rambert Dance Company.<P>The Rambert board was impressed with Mark’s strong vision for the future of the company, which incorporates collaborations with other art forms, particularly music and the visual arts. The board is confident that under his directorship the company can look forward to an exciting future.<P>Chairman Prudence Skene says: “We are delighted that Mark Baldwin has agreed to become the new Artistic Director of the company and are particularly pleased that we have managed to recruit someone who has strong roots within the company: Mark's career as a Rambert dancer for many years thus ensures the Rambert tradition will continue. <P>While welcoming Mark's appointment, I would also like to pay tribute to Christopher Bruce's direction of the company over the last eight years. It has been a period of considerable achievement and he hands over a magnificent company. His long association with the company, as dancer, choreographer and director, will be celebrated during the company's season at Sadler's Wells in November 2002.”<P>Mark Baldwin says: “I feel privileged and fortunate to inherit the best dance company in the world and I am confident that I can build on Rambert’s traditions to create vital programmes that express the most thrilling aspects of dance today.”<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2002 12:17 am 
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Image <BR><small>Laurent Cavanna (with wings) and unnamed partner in "The Bird Sings with its fingers". Photo by Richard Dean.</small> <P>Congratulations to Mark Baldwin on his appointment as Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company. I've pulled together some information about Mark Baldwin's background. <P>Here's a CV from the Royal New Zealand Ballet website:<P> Image <P><B>Mark Baldwin</B><BR>Choreographer<BR>Mark Baldwin's choreography is performed by major dance companies around the globe. His work has been met by universal acclaim for its innovation and energy.<P>Born in Fiji, Mark's architect father, Irish grandparents and Fijian mother encouraged him to refine his instincts as an artist. Mark continued his dance training at the New Zealand Dance Centre with money from a scholarship to study painting. Mark was at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland where Noel Crombie and Phil Judd from Split Enz were also students. Mark attended some of the first ever Split Enz concerts. <P>While at university, he helped establish Limbs Dance Company where he began to choreograph. On graduation Mark joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Mark was later a member of the Australian Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company. In 1992, after 12 years as one of its busiest dancers, Mark left Rambert to further his choreographic calling.<P>He formed the Mark Baldwin Dance Company in 1993 as a vehicle for his choreography. Since then Mark has choreographed more than 40 works. The company regularly tours throughout Britain and internationally and more recently has been joined by the chamber orchestra Symphonia Twenty One.<P>Among his awards is the 1995 Time Out magazine Award for Choreography for his "timeless but up-to-the-minute choreography".<P>Mark's work can be seen in the repertoire of major dance companies through the world, including the Royal Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, The Berlin State Opera House, Cisne Negro Dance Company in Brazil, Channel Four, BBC, London City Ballet, Turkish State Opera House, the Modern Dance Company of Argentina, the Scottish Ballet (resident choreographer in 1996), Phoenix Dance Company, and Ireland's Dhagdha Dance Company.<P>***********************************************<P>Here is some information about the Mark Baldwin Dance Company:<P><B>Mark Baldwin Dance Company</B><BR>Type of work - Contemporary classical dance<BR>from londondance.com<P><BR>The Mark Baldwin Dance Company is a performance orientated dance company set up to showcase and develop the choreography of Mark Baldwin. It aims to focus on the relationship between dance and music, to commission new scores especially written for dance, to develop relationships with visual artists, to help maintain and develop the Mark Baldwin Dance Company˜s use of technological tools: video, CD Rom. Mark Baldwin was the first choreographer in Britain to learn and use the choreographic software Life Forms to present dancers from a variety of backgrounds of the highest technical and performance standards.<BR> <BR><A HREF="http://www.londondance.com/Content.asp?level=3&SubSection=109" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A> <P>And a positive review of a peformance by the Mark Baldwin Dance Company from Judith Mackrell:<P><BR><B>Mark Baldwin</B> <P>Peacock Theatre, London <BR>Rating: **** (out of 5)<P>Judith Mackrell <BR>Monday March 26, 2001<BR>The Guardian <P>There are few choreographers who can afford the luxury of a commissioned orchestral score. But a new initiative from new-music ensemble Sinfonia 21 has allowed Mark Baldwin to collaborate with composer Julian Anderson on the creation of The Bird Sings With Its Fingers, a work in which both choreography and score are inspired by Jean Cocteau's film Orphée. <BR>Anderson's music is peculiarly visual. You can almost see the light-reflecting textures of its surface, the rhythmic scatter of percussion and woodwind that the orchestra send ricocheting across the darkened auditorium. It would be hard for any choreography to match its dazzling artifice and Baldwin, perhaps wisely, opts for a very spare response, his white-garbed dancers mapping out the essential geometry of the Orpheus myth rather than displaying its own virtuoso invention. <BR> <P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,462967,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A> <P>You can hear Mark Baldwin talk about the rehearsal process for this programme on BBC Radio3. Thanks to Brendan McCarthy on ballet.co for finding this link.<P> <A HREF="http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/speech/workinp/baldwin.shtml" TARGET=_blank><B>"Work in progress"</B></A><P>***************************************************<P> Image <BR><small>One of the designs by Tracy Grant for Baldwin's "Ihi Frenzy"</small> <P>Here's a page about the work he created for the <A HREF="http://www.nzballet.org.nz/Ihi/frenzy2.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Royal New Zealand Ballet, "Ihi Frenzy"</B></A><P>****************************************<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited June 27, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2002 2:23 am 
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A few extra thoughts - Baldwin's CV does look very strong for the job and I've been told that the announcement did not come as a great surprise to those involved in dance. BTW, Rambert security has been exemplary, as it should be, and glasses of wine poured down the throats of those who might be in the loop have not revealed a scrap of information over the past few weeks. <P>Apart from his strong background in the field of dance, a couple of people have told me today that he is an affable character who looks after his dancers. Rambert already has a friendly, supportive ethos, so it certainly looks as though he will fit in easily to the Company. <P>He is a painter so his vision to involve a wide range of art and design in the ongoing work of Rambert rings true.<P>He is spending today at Rambert meeting with the Company.<P>Christopher Bruce's farewell performance will take place at Sadler's Wells on November 14th.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited June 27, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2002 12:10 pm 
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We're delighted to publish the first interview with Mark Baldwin, following the announcement that he will succeed Christopher Bruce as Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company.

*************************************

Interview with Mark Baldwin,
the new Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company

by Stuart Sweeney

When did you first hear the news and has it really sunk in yet?

I heard definitely on Tuesday evening [two days before]. The selection process had gone on since January or February and in all I attended four meetings and that gave me some time to get used to the idea. It’s almost sunk in and today [the day of the announcement] was crucial as I met the dancers. I wanted to speak to them in a way that they would understand where I was coming from and to make some sort of first impression. It’s a very beautiful Company and I’ve been keeping a low profile because of the way that rumours spread in the dance world. So it was very nice to see them working in class and what a fine bunch of dancers they are, quite incredible.

Going back to your own time as a Rambert dancer, what are your strongest memories from those days?

There is something quite thrilling about being a dancer – having work made on you and just the thrill of being in a theatre and performing in a fantastic place where anything can happen. If you’re a lover of dance, a black stage with some dancers on it is a wonderful thing. Sometimes when you’ve done a season you can look back and feel that you were able to push yourself completely and see yourself improve technically and in your performing skills and also forming a logic about how you hear the music.

And of course with a company you go abroad and we went to Egypt and I remember looking at the Pyramids and thinking, ‘Dance has brought me here.’ Meanwhile we all got stomach bugs!

One remembers some conductors and other wonderful people you worked with. I used to do ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ [by Glen Tetley and back in the Rambert repertoire recently] and that is a very difficult piece to do and a couple of times I can remember the whole thing being quite electric and really working.

It was 10 years ago when I stopped coming here although I have been for the odd rehearsal since then. So it was quite strange when the train stopped at Stamford Brook station and I had to make myself get out of the tube and follow the route that I had followed many years ago.

Over the past decade you’ve made work with various companies around the world with and of course your own Mark Baldwin Dance Company.

I’ve been building up this relationship with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. I was there last year for about 3 or 4 months and we did a big project with a local Maori group as they have a tradition of concert parties and the ballet toured with the concert party and it was a huge success. It’s a small country and it’s very difficult to get people to go to modern work and yet we had full houses. So it was thrilling to work on.

I also had my own Company for 8 years and I won a South Bank Show award for my last show. We commissioned a piece ‘The Bird Sings with its fingers’ and that paid me back in diamonds. Even though we were a small project funded Company, we managed to establish a relationship with an orchestra and it was a great thing to do. So in a way this artistic venture came to a crescendo with that show. I’d worked with some of those dancers for a long time and in a wonderful way they knew how to express themselves through my work. It was important, as the show before that wasn’t so great, so it was very nice to leave the Mark Baldwin Dance Company having done a show that I was very, very happy with artistically.

It’s also a tradition of Rambert to work with live music with their excellent Musical director Paul Hoskins, but isn’t it very expensive?

I’ve just been speaking to Paul and we’re going to meet next week to talk further. One of the things about this job is to persuade people that these things are valuable for all of us and I need to get out there to raise some money for them to continue the regular use of live music.

I read that Christopher Bruce’s farewell performance will be in November. Is there going to be a hand-over period?

I suppose it’s started now, but we haven’t decided when I’ll start full time and I’ve got commissions to fulfil until the 22nd November. The farewell to Christopher will be a sad occasion, but we’re opening up to all kinds of exciting things, in the tradition of Rambert.

One of our team has just reviewed the Rambert performance in Brighton. She commented on the wide range of pieces on show, with works like Christopher Bruce’s “Ghost Dances” and “Cheese” by Jeremy James. At Sadler’s Wells recently we also saw Jiri Kylian’s “Symphony of Psalms” and, in contrast, Lindsey Kemp’s "The Parade’s Gone By". One of the national critics commented that the rep was too wide and there was a need for a sharper focus. What’s your view?

I believe that the repertoire needs to stay as wide as it can. Sometimes when Directors take over companies the repertoire ends up reflecting their work. I want to bombard the dancers with a very wide repertoire, but within that I’m hoping that we find a voice which says, ‘This is Rambert Dance Company, you can’t find this anywhere else in the world. We do our stuff in this particular way, we have particular pieces that are made on us and are special to us.’ That’s what I’m very much looking for.



Can we expect to see your own work entering the repertoire quickly?

Not for a while, as I think it’s my job to find a repertoire before I start doing my own work. When I’m sure about the direction that the company is going, then I’ll know how to fit myself into that and of course I’ll know the dancers really well by then. My stuff is based on music and mainly new music and working with composers. I’m very lucky that they have their own orchestra here. Let’s be honest, one of the reasons I wanted to do this job was that a year or two down the line when I do my own work, I will know how to take advantage of this marvellous resource that we have here.

What will happen to the Christopher Bruce works?

They will be leaving the rep slowly. Christopher says he wants a rest and I think he should do that, but of course I’d love to leave an invitation for him to come back and do things when he’s ready for it. I hope he doesn’t leave it too long as the dancers are still fresh from doing a lot of his pieces, so they understand the work. We’ve had one discussion about when he might come back to do something for us. The prospect of finding big works to replace “Ghost Dances” and “Rooster” is quite daunting because when you’re touring, the theatres and the audiences know those works and yet we have to replace them somehow. I’m going to have to spend a lot of money on advertising and spread the word to the public about the new works.

One of the other traditions of Rambert that I admire a great deal is the choreographic workshops and the encouragement of dancers in the Company to make work. Is that going to continue?

Marie Rambert always bullied her dancers to choreograph and if she thought there was a choreographer in the Company she would get them involved. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep that tradition going and give the dancers who want to choreograph the support and encouragement that they need. It should come from the round. That is, thinking about the design point of view and from a musical angle as well as choreographic structures.

I really hope that we can not only take dance ideas ahead and forward, but also musical and design ideas. It’s a big task, but it’s in the tradition of Ballets Russes. The idea that the elements which make dancing a thrilling experience in the theatre, namely dancing, design, music, choreography, all of those things are strengthened when they are in combination with each other.

That fits in with the comment in the press release that the Board were impressed with your plans for collaboration with other art forms.

That’s it. The dance world is not that big, especially when you think about the 10 million people who have been to see Tate Modern in the last two years. That is an amazing statistic and it’s a pointer that people want to see new work and we want to give it to them in the best form possible.

Does new technology have a strong place in the future of the Company?

I’ve always used technology to make my work before it gets to the studio. I used to use the Life Forms software and I use high digital cameras to catch movement and help me refine it. It remains to be seen how people want to use that on stage. These tools have all been developed to help us heighten what we do, but we have to be careful that we’re not going to rely on them to do the work for us.

I made a dance CD-ROM as far back as 1994, so I have a good background in this area. My instincts are that it can be wonderful, but actually at the end of the day with an empty stage and a brilliant dancer on it, you don’t need anything else. That human thing still thrills me more than other stuff.

Rambert is a medium sized business and there will be a lot of decision making to be done with some 50 employees. Is that a daunting prospect for you?

No it’s not really. I do have the benefit of my time at Rambert as a dancer and I have worked with large companies around the world, so there are aspects that I understand, even if you haven’t been in the office everyday.

I think that one of the reasons why they may have chosen me is I do have knowledge of the detail of running a company. With a small company such as my own you get to see how to make something from almost nothing. The learning curve for this area was really steep at first because you’re struggling with financial issues the whole time if you’re an ambitious project funded company.

When I went to the Rambert interview I did angle it in the direction that I understand business. I spent a lot of time examining the draft accounts with one of my best friends who is a Professor of Accounting at Reading University and another who is a City Editor. So, it’s not as foreign a language to me as people might expect.

When I met with the Executive Director, Sue Wyatt, she understood that I understood what she had to do because of my own personal connections with the business world. Everything I do has cost implications so I wouldn’t dream of doing anything without running it past Sue first. Let’s be honest, I don’t think that you can be the Artistic Director of a company unless the relationship with the Executive Director is on a very firm footing. We’re going to be doing this together.

Rambert has Prudence Skene as Chairman of the Board and if anyone knows about arts business it’s her. I’m also blessed because I have Stephen Brett as my Associate Director and he is wonderful and very organised and does a great job. That’s what made the job attractive for me that these people were in place and that I’m able to rely on their expertise to give me firm advice when I need it.

Where would you like to see Rambert in 5 years time?

I’d like to see Rambert with a repertoire that they can truly call their own. A repertoire that was made on and for and by the dancers. I would like to see us have several pieces in the repertoire from the Company’s back catalogue, because they are complete works of art that are worth reviving again and again. That the whole thing smacks of brilliant originality and that says things about the times we live in now in Britain.

[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 12, 2002).]

<small>[ 02 February 2003, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 8:44 am 
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Thank you for such a detailed interview - the future sounds very exciting for this wonderful company.


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2002 10:58 pm 
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Feature on mark Baldwin from The Guardian.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Last Thursday, when Mark Baldwin announced his appointment as artistic director of Rambert Dance Company, he did such a good job in talking up the position that his jubilation began to do battle with raw terror. One minute, he was boasting exuberantly that Rambert is "the best dance company in Britain"; the next, he was admitting there was "a panic button going off". <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4452074,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2002 8:59 am 
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Oh my, I am so slow, I didn't know Mark Baldwin had already taken over as AD of Rambert. But I'm glad nonetheless. I was in New Zealand a few months after the RNZB premiered <I>Ihi FrENZy</I> last year, which was said to be a great success; later that year, I caught some of Baldwin's earlier choreography during a retrospective of Limbs works organised by the Auckland Dance Company.


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 Post subject: Re: Criticaldance interviews Rambert's new AD - Mark Baldwi
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2002 1:29 pm 
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Well to be picky Malcolm, Christopher Bruce stands down after the Sadler's Wells season in mid-November. In addition Mark still has some commitments to fulfill. Nevertheless, Mark indicated in our interview that there will be a handover period rather than an abrupt change.


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