In rehearsal with Cameron McMillan
19th May 2021
London based choreographer Cameron McMillan is currently working with our third year students as one of our commissioned choreographers for the 2021 Summer Season.
We sat down with him to find out more about his piece and how the rehearsal process is going with our students as we anticipate a return to the stage.
Cameron explained that he was keen to reflect the diversity of the Rambert School training in his approach and inhabit the physical languages that translate from their training. It’s been really exciting to see how all those facets and aspects from their training come together.
‘It was intriguing to come to the School as there’s an equal mix of ballet and contemporary dance and for me as a maker this is very much along the lines of who I am as a dancer and as a choreographer. It’s nice to be able to push and challenge all of the physical aspects that the young dancers can offer too. One of the things we’ve been trying to do in rehearsal is to look for ways forward within ballet in the 21st century. They’re a really young dynamic group of thinking dancers. In this piece and through out the process we’ve really pushed the ideas of uniformity and formalism and questioned how those things apply, not just to ballet, but in society as well. We’ve created space for questions around gender and hyper-physicality in addition to a space for every body within the work. I’ve really stripped away expectation of what ballet is and what it can be, to create a neutral space for the technique, the language and really celebrate their abilities as dancers. It aims to ask questions about what is the new generation of ballet dancers? and what is ballet in the 21st century?’
When asked about what it’s like to work with the students Cameron commented, ‘they’re a really creative bunch of students and I feel that they are ready to be in a rehearsal process. They are still young and I feel there’s an element of displacement, as within everyone, due to the current climate and COVID-19. I’ve thrown them into the deep end though and this should help them pull everything they’ve learnt from their training so far together, so that they can get out there once they graduate and once the world opens up again’.
‘Working during COVID-19 has not been without challenge. I think every work and every rehearsal process has it’s own set of parameters anyway. This is just another factor and consideration that we have to deal with. There has been limitations around who can dance with who and how we work with bubbles. This has of course impacted how close we can work together and it has meant we’ve had to make different decisions about our work for instance not having so much close contact within the group. In some ways this is a shame, but it changes the dynamic. Everyone is dancing a lot and is dancing independently and the third year students have coped really well’.
‘Graduating at this time is a big question mark in the industry for any young dancer. This year has taught us to appreciate the opportunity to work, not to take anything for granted and value our work. Young dancers must trust the tools they have within them and take ownership of their work. We are in a new world of new platforms with new opportunities to create work in different ways. Young dancers must stay passionate and give themselves permission to be true to themselves’.