Dancers and staff at the Rambert Dance Company were thrilled to welcome Her Majesty The Queen today, as she officially opened the Company’s brand new, state-of-the-art, building on London’s South Bank.
Accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen toured the facility, and was given the opportunity to view Rambert’s extensive Archives, which are of great significance on a national scale.
The Company’s dance troupe gave Her Majesty a special performance as they rehearsed Artistic Director Mark Baldwin’s latest work set to premiere at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet in November.
Dancers and staff met The Queen, including Rambert dancer Dane Hurst, 29, who presented her with flowers.
“I’m just a guy from a small neighbourhood in Port Elizabeth that had nothing as a kid and now I’m presenting flowers to the Queen,” said the prolific dancer and choreographer, who recently won Best Male Dancer at the Critics Circle National Dance Awards 2014.
Under-privileged himself when he began his career, Mr Hurst has now opened a free school of dance for impoverished kids in his home country of South Africa.
Her Majesty also met with the new building’s award-winning team of architects and contractors, who’s £19.6 million endeavour boasts spacious dance studios, treatment and body conditioning rooms, production workshops, offices and Rambert’s extensive archive.
After watching a second performance, this time by the Mercury Movers – one of the Company’s community groups – Her Majesty unveiled a plaque, and signed the Company guestbook to commemorate the occasion.
“It’s a huge honour and greatly appreciated by everyone at Rambert and by all those who have worked so hard to support the building of its new world class home, to have Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to officially open it,” said Rambert’s Chair, Sir Howard Panter said.
This is Her Majesty’s second visit to Rambert’s. The first was to commemorate the Company’s 75th anniversary at its old location in Chiswick in 2001.
According to Rambert’s website, the opening of the Company’s new home is the fruition of twelve years of planning.
The site, owned by social enterprise Coin Street Community Builders, has been leased to Britain’s national dance company for the small fee of one pair of ballet shoes a year, in exchange for providing a substantial community dance programme to the local area.
photo credit: courtesy of Benedict Johnson, Rambert Dance Company