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Press Release: Rambert to perform world premiere live from Southbank studios

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a world premiere from Belgian choreographer




streaming in real-time to online audiences live from Rambert’s studios


24 - 26 September 2020




Rambert announces the forthcoming real-time, live-stream world premiere performances of Wim Vandekeybus’s Draw From Within. The newly commissioned production is currently underway at Rambert’s Southbank studios and is being created whilst adhering to the latest health guidelines to ensure the company’s safety. Using all of the company’s spaces from the loading bay to the studios via the corridors and even the roof, Draw From Within will be performed live in the Rambert building and streamed in real time to ticketed audiences around the world. Draw From Within will be broadcast to UK and European audiences via Rambert’s new cross-platform web application Rambert Home Studio at 8pm GMT on 25 September 2020. A further two live performances will be streamed for audiences in Seoul (24 Sept) and New York (26 Sept). Tickets are on sale now for a fixed £10 per household. For details on how to book please visit: rambert.org.uk




Internationally renowned Belgian choreographer and filmmaker Wim Vandekeybus is taking full advantage of Rambert’s state-of-the art studios on London’s Southbank, transforming the building into a fantastical world, and bringing the company back to life after lockdown. Taking audiences on a surreal and exhilarating odyssey, the experience will be an assault on the senses akin to being within the piece itself. Set to a heady and eclectic soundtrack and featuring Rambert’s awe-inspiring company of dancers, Draw From Within promises to make an explosively impactful mark on the fast-developing digitally driven cultural landscape.


Vandekeybus says of his new production: “Draw From Within is surreal, unrealistic, nightmarish but there's light in the darkness. It's about threat but also about liberation, about death but also about birth. There's an elemental, primal vitality to my work;  I like to return to the ritualistic aspects of life, the ritualistic aspects of dance as a form of expression.  I like to go under the skin and draw upon our innate human qualities: the human heart beat that unites us, the arc of a human life, the blood which courses through our veins.” 


Capitalising on Vandekeybus’s extensive experience as a filmmaker, the new work has been specifically created from the outset to be viewed digitally, allowing an international audience a uniquely immersive perspective. Audiences will feel like invisible participants with cameras positioned inside the dancers’ performance space to capture a virtual reality-style viewpoint.


As a choreographer who has long been known for his fascination with how man responds to extreme situations, Vandekeybus has been amazed by the way in which the company have adapted to new ways of working during the pandemic. Originally commissioned by Rambert’s Artistic Director Benoit Swan Pouffer to create new work for the company’s 2020 touring season, Vandekeybus’s experience as a filmmaker and choreographer has been integral to the development of this new digital premiere for Rambert. He is also responsible for designing the environment for the production. Benoit Swan says of the new commission: “I’ve been an admirer of Wim’s for a long time. With the combination of physicality and theatricality in his work along with his skills as a cinematographer, I knew he would challenge my dancers and bring something new out of the company.”


Rambert’s dancers returned to their Southbank studios on 13 July with rehearsals for Vandekeybus’ commission commencing on 20 July. Before the creation process for Draw From Within began, the entire Rambert company, artists, production and technical teams were tested for COVID. Having been given the all-clear, dancers were allocated to bubbles (some already share a household) and all guidelines have been followed in order to make sure the team is kept safe and well. Keeping to an adapted schedule so as to avoid the rush hour, all staff and dancers enter the building via the loading bay and have their temperatures checked upon arrival. The dancers have been divided into six bubbles of four. Each bubble has their own area in the building to use and the dancers stay in their bubbles at all times. Two bubbles are positioned in the Rambert studio, one in the Linden studio and one in the Mercury studio. The dancers rehearse and train in their bubbles with the cameras live streaming everything to each studio so the dancers and creative team can see one another. The bubbles also allow for short duet sequences in the piece to be performed safely.


Benoit Swan comments on the creation of Vandekeybus’s new work:

“There are many risks that we have taken on in the making of this piece and to see the tenacity of the dancers and the way the whole company has risen to this challenge has been incredibly moving. One of the things I want most for the company is for it to be relevant - to be responsive to the world of which we are a part. And to be able to do that now - we had to change the way we work completely. With limitations comes the opportunity to innovate and these kind of challenges can trigger creativity. We’re tried to use the medium of film to our advantage and give the audience an experience that they cannot get in a theatre, they’ll be closer to the dancers than ever. The challenges are big but I think more than ever the arts are essential, we need to keep entertaining, keep sharing our work and keep giving people a dream.”


Since taking on his role as Rambert’s new Artistic Director in December 2018, Benoit Swan Pouffer has been energised by a dynamic vision to turbo-charge Rambert’s presence on the world stage. He is committed to safeguarding the company’s impressive legacy of masterpieces as well as guiding it into the future with commissions that embrace established names such as Vandekeybus, Wayne McGregor and Hofesh Shechter as well as introducing exciting new choreographic and artistic talent from all over the globe.


Benoit Swan is ambitious for Rambert’s Allies and Morrison-designed headquarters on London’s Southbank to develop into a recognisable dance destination. The company are due to launch their new web platform Rambert Home Studio on 27 August. Rambert Home Studio will host an impressive array of live content including a range of online dance classes taught by Rambert’s dancers and teachers and catering for all standards and interest levels, from recreational dance fan to dance professionals and dance newcomers. The new platform will also offer plenty of opportunities to engage with the company’s dancers including live streamed performances, dancer interviews, behind the scenes and creation videos, podcasts and dancer-curated playlists. rambert.org.uk/homestudio


In a move to support the performing arts economy at large, Rambert is partnering with venues around the world, encouraging audiences to support regional theatres across the UK and beyond through their ticket purchase for Draw From Within. Tickets are on sale now for a fixed £10 per household. For details on how to book please visit: rambert.org.uk






Editors’ Notes


Benoit Swan Pouffer is an internationally-renowned dance artist and company leader. Born and trained in Paris, he moved to New York where he spent seven years as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He is probably best known for his time as Artistic Director of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, a post he held from 2004. His 10 years at the helm of the company were described by the New York Times as “a New York success story”, gaining wide acclaim for introducing a new generation of international choreographers to US audiences and commissioning work from artists including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Alexander Ekman, Crystal Pite and Hofesh Shechter. As a choreographer Benoit Swan has made dance for feature films and Broadway, as well as creating for companies around the world including Alvin Ailey’s Ailey II.




We believe that to give brilliant and daring people the chance to inspire others is to give them the power to change the world for the better. As one of the world’s most diverse company of dancers we transform everyday spaces by making dance that is awe-inspiring, adventurous, dynamic and relevant, and taking it to our neighbourhood, the nation and the world. We want to hear the most exciting and radical ideas wherever they may come from and connect with brilliant and daring audiences and participants from all backgrounds. Through performances; dance and wellness classes and courses for people of all ages and abilities we want to ensure we are inspiring, engaging and relevant to everyone.


Wim Vandekeybus (1963) is a choreographer, dancer, filmmaker and photographer. He founded his dance company Ultima Vez in the mid-eighties. He made a remarkable artistic debut with his first performance What the body does not remember (1986). The performance won a Bessie, an award granted for groundbreaking work. His second performance Les porteuses de mauvaises nouvelles (1989) was also honoured with this award. In his unique style, Vandekeybus has created milestones in the development of modern dance with his performances over the last few decades, at home and abroad.


Vandekeybus has created a language of movement wherein he juxtaposes intuition, impulse and instinct with energy, risk and danger, which exemplifies a dramatic Weltanschauung, full of dynamics and conflict. A central focus in his work is the irreconcilable conflict between body and mind, feeling and intellect, illusion and reality. Vandekeybus’ work is characterised by almost obsessive reiterations of one single concern: how man responds to extreme situations. In this context, he attaches special importance to what he refers to as ‘the moment of catastrophe’ - which ironically does not preclude his inclusion of humour, playfulness and even a certain jocular lightheartedness in his work.


Vandekeybus’ performances take the form of associative montages with a penchant for crisscrossing borderlines between disciplines. Live music, video/film are not only integral to his mode of theatrical expression, but more often than not, are actually the prime movers underlying the performances.


Website rambert.org.uk

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Facebook @Rambertdance

Rambert Home Studio rambert.org.uk/homestudio

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