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Priestley College steps into Rambert’s history

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PRIESTLEY College, Warrington is to play a part in celebrating the 90th anniversary of Britain’s oldest dance company.

Priestley is one of nine establishments in the country to be selected by Rambert – formerly known as Ballet Rambert –  who are running a nationwide programme of activity celebrating their work called Rambert at 90.

To help mark this significant moment in its prestigious history, Rambert asked Priestley to create an infographic exploring and explaining the dance company through the 1990s. The other eight establishments are focussing on different decades in its history, as part of a project supported by Heritage Lottery Fund called Dancing Through Time.

Priestley dance tutor Rachel Leyland said the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would help students with their A-Levels as the company is part of the syllabus.

Rachel said: “The difference in our dancers after Rambert’s visit was they suddenly felt a real connection to the company. There is an engagement beyond simply the facts, figures and names from Rambert’s history to feeling a small part of it.”

Rambert animateur Effie McGuire Ward visited Priestley to help the students prepare their work, which will be displayed at the company’s home on London’s Southbank and available to download from Rambert’s and the AQA exam board’s websites.

Photographs of the students who took part will also be incorporated into the infographic, which is being created by a professional design company.

Former Bridgewater High pupil Laura Savage said: “It was an amazing experience working with Rambert who helped establish contemporary dance in Britain and revolutionised the art form making it into what it is today.”

Rambert’s history dates back to 1914 when Polish emigree and former Ballet Russes dancer Marie Rambert arrived in London fleeing the outbreak of the First World War.

She supported herself by giving tuition in dance and eurhythmics while continuing her own ballet studies. Two years later she opened a school of dancing in Bedford Gardens, Kensington.

In 1926 Marie and her students presented A Tragedy of Fashion, which marked the birth of British ballet and the formation of Rambert, as the company is known today.

Rachel said: “Rambert have visited us several times in recent years so to be associated with them in some way is great for the college, but even more important for our students.”

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