Feature: Recommended by... Mark Baldwin

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Mark Baldwin Photo: Paul Gregory-Hunt **
Mark Baldwin has been Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company since 2002.

*He trained in fine art and is always looking to collaborate with artists working
in different art forms – so no surprise to find he’s recommending an art exhibition
alongside a range of dance performances coming up in the next few weeks…*

“It will be interesting to see how this year’s Dance Umbrella will be received under the new directorship of Betsy Gregory. I am, of course, reserving judgement. It’s unlikely that we will find choreographers
through the festival because it’s pitching to big audiences on big stages. However,
I will make a point of seeing Brief Encounters, featuring new works as it’s important to gauge talent and see what’s out there.
I’m looking to work with people who understand what movement is about and the
images and metaphors it gives off. At the moment, at least 11 out of Rambert’s
22 dancers are working on choreography.

Shen Wei

Shen Wei Dance Arts at this year’s Dance Umbrella will be one to look out for. Perhaps it’s because I came from an art school
background, but this is where it’s at. Here you have whole arty package, marrying
visual arts with movement and music to explore three art forms all on one stage.
When I first saw his Stravinsky piece, *The Rite of Spring*, I was mesmerised, I wanted him to come and choreograph for us, but it hasn’t
happened yet. In this latest piece, the dancers work as fine artists as well as
movement makers and paint the stage that they are dancing on, which makes for
visually exciting stuff.

I will also be making a point of seeing Michael Clark at the Barbican. He joined the Rambert when he was just 17 years old and is an absolutely wonderful
talent, both as a dancer and choreographer. I’ve tracked his career and watched
him develop from technically superb dancer to creator of works, and I always make
it my business to follow the progress of our dancers. I anticipate the third and
final performance of his ambitious Stravinsky Project choreographed to the composer’s wonderful scores, to be a great success. Here’s
someone who understands how to give contemporary dance and art the same presence
onstage.

Two QuartetsSiobhan Davies Dance CompanyPhoto: Pari Naderi Siobhan Davies, especially the Two Quartets will be another performance not to miss. If you want to see someone who really
digs deep into the movement and understands how to maximise her dancers’ bodies,
then Davies choreography is important to see.

Of course the Paul Andre Fortier outdoor stunts will be interesting, but something like this could only happen
at a Festival with a bigger budget. We are looking for invention, but within the
tight financial constraints from which we work.

If you are interested in dance, then you need to keep up with contemporary art
too and the wonderful Frieze Art Fair (11 – 14 Oct, Regent’s Park) is a must go and see. I will personally be looking out for artists to work
with on our productions here. I have lined up Kader Attica, who is currently showing at the Baltic, Gateshead, to talk to about sets and choreographic collaborations. We are also talking
to Martin Creed, the Turner Prize winning ‘lights on lights off’ man.

We will be introducing these artists to what is known as the ‘Diagaliev Triangle’,
where designers, composers and choreographers all come together to create. In
terms of dance, visual arts is so sexy at the moment, there’s a great opportunity
for an explosive relationship. We are lucky in the dance world that we can allow
our imagination to roam across all art forms, language barriers and cultural barriers.
The stage is an incredible seductive gallery space for young artists. Where else
can they have the opportunity to create on such a large scale?

Carlos AcostaPhoto: Bill Cooper Other performances to look out for in the next few months must include Carlos Acosta at Sadler’s Wells (23 – 28 Oct). It goes without saying that he is one of the most breathtaking
dancers of his generation.

I also hold out high hopes for Isaac Julien & Russell Maliphant’s*,* Cast No Shadow,(4 & 5 Oct, Sadler’s Wells). Yet another example of the way dance is constantly
crossing over into different art forms; in this case, film.

Links

*Brief Encounters at Dance Umbrella with Rosie Kay 4 & 5 Oct & Ben Wright
6 Oct, Southbank Centre* More details/online booking www.danceumbrella.co.uk

Shen Wei Dance Arts, Connect Transfer, 17 – 20 Oct, Barbican. www.barbican.org.uk

Michael Clark Company, Stravinsky Project, 31 Oct – 3 Nov, 6 – 10 Nov. Barbican www.barbican.org.uk

Siobhan Davies Dance, Two Quartets, 4 – 6 Oct, Queen Elizabeth Hall More details/online booking

Frieze Art Fair, 11 – 14 Oct, Regent’s Park, www.friezeartfair.com/

Carlos Acosta, 23 – 27 Oct, Sadler’s Wells www.sadlerswells.com

Rambert Dance Company are at Sadler’s Wells 13 – 17 Nov www.sadlerswells.com

www.rambert.org.uk

Interview by Rachel Nouchi.

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