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British Modern Dance Essay

1123 words - 5 pages

Norman Morrice
Norman Morrice trained at the Rambert School and in 1953 joined the company as a dance. He had always wanted to choreograph and in 1958 Rambert gave him his chance. He made Two Brothers, a modern dance-drama about jealousy between two brothers which results in one killing the other. The brothers were danced by Morrice and John Chesworth, both of whom later became artistic directors for the company. Morrice was always interested in making ballets on modern themes with members of the audiences. He was appointed associate choreographer and continued to produce one new ballet every year, which was all the time for creative work that could be spared. The continuation of his story ...view middle of the document...

Marie Rambert; by now seventy-eight years old; seized on this idea of making a revolutionary change in her company; with all her usual enthusiasm. She insisted on appointing Morrice to be her associate director and she gave him her wholehearted support. The change went ahead and on 2 July 1966 the old style Ballet Rambert gave its last performance. By 18th July it had been transformed and the new Ballet Rambert gave its first performance in November. As Marie Rambert, with increasing age; began to withdraw from the day-to-day running of her company, Norman Morrice took on more responsibilities and was made co-director. He continued to choreograph when his other duties allowed him the time and gave Ballet Rambert a dozen more new ballets including, Blind Sight, That is the Show and Smiling Immortal. In 1974 Morrice left to become a free-lance choreographer and he was later appointed artistic director of The Royal Ballet.
In the 1960s in this country classical ballet and Graham-based contemporary dance were still largely perceived as being completely separate and opposed. But Rambert and Morrice had the foresight to see that it would be possible to create a company which is founded on a fusion of the two techniques and which performs choreography combining the best elements of both. The policy was then, and remains today; to train the dancers in both classical ballet and contemporary dance, thus developing broadly based and versatile performers who are ready to work in a wide range of dance styles. Ballet Rambert now returned to the ideals of the Ballet Club days, of being a truly creative company, pioneering new styles in choreography, music and design and encouraging new choreographers to emerge from within the company. The feeling of excitement which had been lacking for far too many years was rekindled. One element in Morrice’s original policy proved to be unworkable in practice. At first the intention had been to revive the most interesting of the ballets from the company’s early years, especially works by Ashton, Tudor, Howard and Gore. For a couple of years this did begin to happen, but it was found that the old ballets looked very dated alongside the contemporary work and the two styles did not fit well together. So regretfully it was decided to drop most of the older...

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