Work has begun on the new home of the Rambert Dance Company in the heart of London’s South Bank.
The project began in Rambert’s 85th Anniversary year and the company will move into its new South Bank building in 2013.
Founded by Marie Rambert in 1926, Rambert Dance Company has sustained her pioneering commitment to choreography and developing dancers as artists.
The project has been in development for over nine years, with the contract being awarded to VINCI Construction UK Ltd. The main construction work began in December 2012.
Award winning architects Allies & Morrison have designed an accessible world-class facility which comprises three large dance studios, set and costume workshops, offices and archive.
The total cost of the project is £19.6 million, £7 million of which was awarded by Arts Council England. Rambert has raised the remainder of the fundraising target from private and public sources.
The South Bank is already a home to some of the country’s leading cultural institutions such as the Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, Tate Modern and Southbank Centre.
By bringing dance to join music, film, theatre and the visual arts, Rambert believe that they will complete the artistic circle in the UK’s major cultural hub.
Rambert’s Artistic Director, Mark Baldwin said:
“This is an incredible milestone for the Company and it is a great relief to know that more than 85 years after we were founded we will finally have access to facilities that have been so desperately lacking in our current premises.
“This new purpose-built home will provide state-of-the-art working, training and rehabilitation space for our dancers, and will enable us to become a centre for choreography that feeds the contemporary dance sector and generates bold new work that excites and engages our audiences all around the UK.”
The new building will allow Rambert to expand the services they provide in various ways, including opening an archive of the Company’s history which is currently hidden in cramped storage rooms.
Larger studios will allow choreographers to create work in areas that are as big as the stages they perform on and for the first time the dancers and the Rambert orchestra will have the space to rehearse together.
In addition, new physiotherapy and fitness facilities will provide the expert care that dancers need given the tremendous pressure the work has on their physiques.
Rambert’s Chief Executive, Nadia Stern said:
“At the heart of this move is a desire to open up the creative process and inspire audiences with the ideas, excitement and joy of this contemporary and collaborative art form. We want to establish an open house for dance that helps to break down barriers and preconceptions by inviting people to the heart of the artistic process to see first-hand how contemporary dance is created.
“Alongside this we will open up Rambert’s extensive archive for the first time in the Company’s history. This is a fascinating collection of national significance dating back to the late 19th century, recording the development of dance, the most ephemeral of art forms.”
The plot of land for the new building has been made available to Rambert by Coin Street Community builders, one of the UK’s leading social enterprises. In return Rambert has committed to lead a significant community dance programme in the local area and pay rent of one pair of ballet shoes per year.
The Company currently works with 14,000 children and young people and 6,000 adults each year and this purpose-built home will serve to double levels of public engagement and allow the company to significantly expand its education and outreach activities to meet the needs of the local community in Lambeth and surrounding boroughs.
Colin Street Community Builders Chief executive, Iain Tuckett said:
“Rambert has world class dancers who deserve world class facilities and I am delighted that they are now going to get them. We look forward to welcoming them to London’s South Bank where they will be an active participant in our great and growing mixed community.”
Chair of Rambert’s Board of Directors, Howard Panter added:
“In these financially difficult times it is a testament to the generosity of individual and institutional donors who have helped us sustain the lifeblood of our Company. The partnership between the leading social enterprise, Coin Street Community builders, and a cultural organisation like Rambert has genuinely given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share our passion and expertise in dance with a huge number of new people.”
Harlequin Floors is the world leader in advanced technology flooring for dance, the performing arts, entertainment and display.
For over 30 years, Harlequin has been manufacturing and supplying specialist sprung and vinyl flooring to the performing arts industry. Firmly established worldwide, the Harlequin Group has offices in the UK, Europe, the USA, Asia and Australia.
Harlequin Floors will be providing Rambert Dance Company with their Harlequin Activity sprung floor system as well as two vinyl top surfaces – Harlequin Cascade and Harlequin Studio; both of which are hardwearing dance surfaces suitable for all types of dance. They will be permanently laid to give a seamless finish.
Harlequin Floors Sales Manager Rebecca Conway, said:
“Rambert Dance Company has been a customer of ours for many years now so when they told us they were moving to a new facility, a selection of Rambert dancers were invited to our premises to conduct a ‘blind test’ on a range of Harlequin sprung floor systems and dance surfaces in order to make an informed choice. The result of the blind test showed that they had chosen the exact same flooring system that they had previously used in their former studios.”
“At Harlequin we supply flooring to many of the world’s leading dance companies including the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet to name a few. Our experience and reputation are founded on many years spent working closely with the dance community.”