As part of the centenary celebrations of Rambert School, where we trained and met, we were commissioned to create work for the 3rd year students, shortly before the Covid19 pandemic in 2020.
After reading Marie Rambert’s (1928-1987) autobiography 'Quicksilver' and studying her life's work through archive material, we decided to create a large scale comical modernist ballet starring Rambert herself – or 22 Marie Ramberts to be precise.
The ballet was one we imagined that Rambert might have performed in during her time with the Ballets Russes in the 1910s. We were greatly influenced by seminal works from this time by choreographers such as Michel Fokine, Bronislava Nijinska and her brother Vaslav Nijinsky. Because of Rambert’s role in the creation of The Rite of Spring (she notated Stravinsky's score to help Nijinsky understand the complicated rhythms of the music), we decided to work with a score full of complexity and unbounded energy. We chose the final part of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony to challenge ourselves and the students to all better understand and appreciate Rambert's talents.
We worked with the entire year in two casts, where everyone would star as Marie, all identically dressed in costumes designs by alumni designer Maxwell Nicholson-Lailey and all donning wigs by Darren Evans. 'Finale' would have gone on to be performed at the Linbury Studio (Royal Opera House) & the Lilian Baylis Theatre (Sadler's Wells). However, the Covid pandemic hit and the piece is now in-waiting, hoping to reappear one day in the future.
Design: Maxwell Nicholson-Lailey
Wigs: Darren Evans
Music: Oliver Messiaen