Charles Balfour

Next Chapter


A couple of weeks ago I received news that the injury I have been carrying for the past couple of years, and for which I had surgery for, has brought a premature end to my dancing career. In the new year I will officially be retiring from dance! As much as I have prepared for this eventuality, it has still been quite a shock. However, in the new year I will move into photography full-time and I can not wait to properly get started! 

Last week was very emotional for myself personally, Rambert was performing at Sadler’s Wells and unusually performing two separate programmes, Contemporaries and The Creation. These two programmes would mark the last time I would perform with my partner, Vanessa Kang, and also the last time my friends and family would see me perform on stage. For both reasons, these performances were very special and I am grateful to everyone involved for the incredible memories that I will hold dear.


The beautiful flowers gifted to me by my partner, Vanessa Kang at the end of my last performance on the Sadler's Wells stage.


The Contemporaries programme consisted of a triple bill of choreographers who were all ex-Rambert dancers turned choreographers; Malgorzata Dzierzon, Patricia Okenwa and Alexander Whitley. The three works were distinctive in their style and used the dancers in hugely different ways. As an evening’s work, the audiences were treated to the incredible versatility of the dancers. My personal favourite has to be that of Patricia Okenwa’s Hydrargyrum. I was a part of this work’s creation, I performed it at it’s premiere, watched the work as an audience member and have now performed it as part of my final London performance. I appreciate the work on so many levels, the vision and choreography of Patricia Okenwa, the Design (Jon Bausor) the Music (Aleksandra Vrebalov) and the Lighting (Charles Balfour) all come together to make a dance work unlike others. 
Beneath I have provided the link to my galleries I photographed for both Alexander Whitley's Frames and Patricia Okenwa's Hydrargyrum.


Edit Domoszlai and Miguel Altunaga in Malgorzata Dzierzon's work Flight performed by Rambert


Miguel Altunaga, Liam Francis, Vanessa Kang, Edit Domoszlai and Jacob O'Connell in Patricia Okenwa's work Hydrargyrum for Rambert.


Hannah Rudd and Miguel Altunaga in Alexander Whitley's work Frames for Rambert.


The latter half of the week was for the performances of Mark Baldwin’s, The Creation with music from Joseph Haydn’s epic score of the same name. This was Rambert’s largest production to date, featuring the full Rambert company, the 3rd year of Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, the Rambert Orchestra, the BBC Singers, the exquisite soloists Sarah Tynan (Soprano), James Gilchrist (Tenor) and Neal Davies (Bass), conducted by Paul Hoskins Design by Pablo Bronstein, Lighting by Mark Henderson. It is a long list of influential names and some seriously talented people. It was one of the performances that in years to come you can say, “I was there”!


Stephen Wright (me) and Vanessa Kang in Mark Baldwin's, The Creation for Rambert. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.


I will still be touring with Rambert for the upcoming month, and will be photographing a production gallery of Christopher Bruce’s 80’s classic and national favourite, Ghost Dances amongst other projects.

But until then,


Time Flies


I can’t believe it is already the end of February! Time has flown by, but fortunately I have been very busy, and have been able to photograph some cool things in interesting venues.

First off at the start of the month, I was invited back to The Print Room to photograph some rehearsal images for choreographer, Hubert Essakow whilst he was working on his new piece Terra. I have shot at The Print Room now on a few occasions, and I love going back. The venue itself has a great vibe, it full of energy and passion which leaks into all the creative spaces. You can feel that everyone is comfortable taking risks, to be bold and try something fresh. I spent my afternoon with the company, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, not just the photography element but also witnessing such a positive creative process. The full collection of rehearsal images can be found on The Print Room website via this link.


Estela Merlos and Rob Bridger rehearsing Terra, choreographed by Hubert Essakow for The Print Room.


Recently I was invited to shoot at Wilton’s Music Hall for the press call of Mark Bruce’s new work, The Odyssey. I am a big fan of Mark Bruce’s work, with his strong use of theatrical elements within his works. I knew I would come away with some really strong images. Wilton’s Music Hall is a fantastic venue, steeped in it’s own personal history, it serves as a great backdrop for this visual feast of a piece. I created a full gallery which is available to view on my Flickr page, and can be found via the button below.


Nicole Guarino and the Mark Bruce Company in The Odyssey, performing at Wilton’s Music Hall.


At Rambert we are on the eve of an exciting premiere, this week we premiere Hydrargyrum by choreographer, Patricia Okenwa. We are all very excited to see a gritty contemporary work being presented by Rambert, with design by Jon Bausor, music composition by Aleksandra Vrebalov and lighting by Charles Balfour this promises to be something fresh. I am in an intriguing situation, as I will be dancing in this piece along with a further 5 dancers, so I therefore have had no chance to photograph the work. Fortunately, last week presented a brief opportunity to get a couple of shots from rehearsals on stage. 


Rambert dancers on stage rehearsing for Hydrargyrum, choreographed by Patricia Okenwa.


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Thanks and I’ll update you again soon!