Marie Rambert collection

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 2228 MR
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English Russian Polish
  • Physical Description
      18 boxes, costumes, videos

Scope and Content

Collection of films, costumes, photographs, correspondence, diaries, programmes, press cuttings, personal papers, autobiographical notes, awards and medals owned and collected by Marie Rambert throughout her life as well as papers relating to her death and memorials.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dame Marie Rambert was born Cyvia Rambam (later Miriam Ramberg) in Warsaw, Poland 20 February 1888. After being inspired by a performance of Isadora Duncan she began working with Raymond Duncan in Paris and taking basic level ballet classes. In 1910 she studied with Émile Jacques-Dalcroze in Geneva and worked as his assistant until 1912 when Diaghilev engaged her to assist Nijinsky and his dancers with the complex rhythms of Stravinsky's score for 'Rite of Spring'. She stayed with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes for a season as a dancer in the corps and studying with Cechetti, before moving to London in 1914 where she studied further with Astafieva, and gave dance recitals. In 1918 she married the dramatist Ashley Dukes and in 1920 opened her own ballet school. From this emerged the small performing group Marie Rambert Dancers in 1926, which became the Ballet Club in 1931 and Ballet Rambert in 1935. An inspired talent spotter and legendary taskmaster, Rambert nurtured some of Britain's most important choreographers including Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, Frank Staff, Walter Gore, Norman Morrice and Christopher Bruce. Her school also produced many renowned dancers such as Pearl Argyle, Diana Gould, Maude Lloyd, Celia Franca, Sally Gilmour, Lucette Aldous and Frank Turner.

In 1966 she chose Norman Morrice as Associate Director and under their leadership the company was transformed from a large classical company to a small ensemble, concentrating on the creation of contemporary works. In 1926 Marie Rambert had formed Britain's first ballet company and forty years later was instrumental in the birth of Britain's first modern dance company.

Rambert was awarded a CBE in the Coronation Honours 1953, a Dame Commander of the British Empire 1962, Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature from the University of Sussex 1964, Legion d'Honneur from the French Government 1957.

Marie Rambert retained an active interest in the company, attending rehearsals and performances and giving advice, criticisms and encouragement up until her death in June 1982.

Sources: Oxford Dictionary of Dance (2004), Rambert.


Material had been previously partially arranged in to labelled files. Files have largely been left as previously arranged, where file arrangement has been changed it is noted in the description field.

Access Information

This collection can be viewed at the Rambert Archive, by appointment with the archivist. Please visit for details.



Other Finding Aids

A printed version of this catalogue is available to view in person at the Rambert Archive.

Archivist's Note

This version of the Marie Rambert Collection catalogue is the beta version December 2013. Please contact the archivist for errors and clarifications

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright owned by creators including choreographer(s), designer(s) and composer(s). Performers rights apply. Can not be copied without rights owners' permission(s).

Custodial History

Collection deposited in stages between 1980s - 2000s.


Personal Names