Rambert: Dark Arteries, The Three Dancers and Transfigured Night
Dance company presents a triple bill of narrative-driven pieces
It’s 1984, and Mark Baldwin is travelling around the UK on a tour bus. A young dancer with Rambert, his main preoccupation is finding a place to warm up and stretch – but he’s also acutely aware of what’s happening in the towns they drive past and through.
‘We kept reading in the local papers about all these things that were happening with the miners’ strike,’ he recalls. ‘It was one of those things which, at the end of it, you felt you had really lived through something.’ Fast forward 30 years and Baldwin, now artistic director of the company he once danced in, is revisiting that pivotal time in British history.
Inspired by the strike, which devastated mining communities across the north of England and Scotland, Dark Arteries features a newly commissioned score by Gavin Higgins, performed live at each date on Rambert’s UK tour by a different local brass band.
‘It’s lovely to have so many people on stage,’ says Baldwin. ‘There are 21 dancers in the piece, plus about 35 in the band, who sit at the back of the stage behind riot shields which have been bent into music stands.
‘It’s rare to have great big pieces in contemporary dance, so I’m really pleased about that – because once you get the whole company on stage, with the brass band, it’s quite powerful.’
For the Edinburgh date, Dark Arteries will sit alongside Didy Veldman’s The Three Dancers, inspired by the Picasso painting of the same name, and Kim Brandstrup’s Transfigured Night, inspired by Schoenberg’s 1899 score.
‘Didy’s piece has these funny little narratives and is quite witty and dry,’ says Baldwin, ‘and Transfigured Night is about a woman who’s having an affair and discovers she’s pregnant. So it’s a very narrative-driven evening.’
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu 26–Sat 28 Nov.