I have always had a passion for photography, but with the inevitability of a short career, my attention turned to photographing my partner whilst she performed. Initially it was just so we could ensure we had memorabilia at the end of it all, but over time my intentions changed, and rather than just ‘documenting’ our performance days, I wanted to recreate how we felt during performance.
Performance throws up a lot of different emotions, but most lead to a sense of abandonment, immersion and freedom. In positive psychology this state is know as ‘Flow’:
“being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Witnessing this is what captivates audiences and interests me as both a dancer and photographer. My intention became trying to ensure my photography captured this incredibly photogenic state. Obviously I don’t just photograph my partner any more, as my pursuit has broadened my horizons.
This search has led to the creation of this album, capturing various moments both of rehearsals and performances during Rambert’s touring season. It aims to give the viewer the opportunity to be present in the moment alongside the performer, to share their own sense of Flow.
Rambert has a special relationship with the Cunningham Trust. Dating back from 1987, Rambert have performed 10 pieces of Cunningham repertoire. Most recently Rambert performed its own ‘Rambert Event’ which included sections of material from all of those 10 pieces. This was a special performance collaborating with incredible artists and one that I will hold dearly.
Christopher Bruce’s Rooster is a Rambert favourite. Who wouldn’t love watching dance with The Rolling Stones as a soundtrack! This section is Ruby Tuesday, danced to the track of the same name, and features the iconic long red dress. This section is all about a free spirit with no sense of reality. The four men perform a complex series of lifts with her, entertaining her ‘freedom’.
The day of opening night at every venue there are technical rehearsals for the pieces to be performed that evening/week. These rehearsals are mainly to ensure all of the elements such as music, set, lights etc. come together. It also gives the dancers a chance to figure out any spacing issues due to a change of stage, and rehearsal directors a final opportunity to give notes.
Whilst out on tour, the Rambert dancers are rehearsed on stage, whether it is to rehearse a cast change or to prepare repertoire for the coming venues. Rambert has two rehearsal directors, Mikaela Polley and Angela Towler. Both of them oversee the large number of pieces, ensuring all the details and choreography remain correct and consistent and teaching roles where necessary.
The responsibility of the stage manager is huge. They are the unsung heros of any performing company. They have to know everything about every piece in the repertoire including but not limited to the choreography, music, set, props, lighting cues, sound cues… the list doesn’t end! They sit at the prompt corner with a radio microphone and conduct the show with precision. Shame you never get to applaud their efforts!
Rambert is very lucky to tour and perform with a live orchestra. They are an incredibly talented group, playing both established classics such as JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and new commissions from talented composers. Almost all of Rambert’s repertoire is accompanied by live orchestra, with very few exceptions.