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Rambert Dance - reaching out

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Saw a Rambert Dance matinee performance at Saddler's Wells and was massively impressed by their attempts to reach out to new audiences and de-mystify ballet/dance. They began the performance with a little spiel from the artistic director about the various dances, followed by a short "behind the scenes" film involving some of the dancers, musicians, choreographers etc etc. All done in a relatively light, uncomplicated and unpretentious manner.

At the end of the first dance the ballet mistress comes on to put eight of the company through a class. Half the dancers do a ballet class, while at the same time the other half do a contemporary dance class. Fascinating to compare and contrast.

Then after the second dance the artistic director comes back on stage to read out some of the Twitter feedback from the audience on what peope have seen so far.And to talk a bit about the music.

Now I guess some people might find it all a bit laborious to have all these "interruptions" but my overall impression was that it added hugely to one's knowledge/understanding of the dances and the company.

I also think it made the whole afternoon very accessible for new audiences and particularly children. At times it almost felt like a pantomime. (He's behind you !!) However I wd be quite happy to have similar arrangements at some evening performances and think perhaps other companies cd be doing a lot more in this vein. I suspect even those who know their ballet inside out woudl have found the dance classes fascinating. Any thoughts ??

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That sounds really good. Does anyone remember the Royal Ballet's small group "Ballet for All" which used to tour to smaller theatres with a handful of dancers, to explain about classical ballet and show extracts? I've often wondered why this approach hasn't been revived in recent years when "outreach" is so popular (or even a condition of funding in some cases I believe).

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Thanks for this, Norman. I thought I'd been to Rambert's reduced matinees both on the Thursday and the Saturday in the past, and not seen anything as complex as what you describe, so I suppose this must be a new development.

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