News

Dancing for Life – The Place is 50!

11 Jul 2019


Image: Camilla Greenwell

Ambitious and future facing since 1969, London’s hub for contemporary dance enters a new decade of powering imagination through dance.

In Autumn 2019, The Place enters its sixth decade as a driving force for dance development pushing the art form forward. Looking to the future with a global vision of a world with more dance, The Place will invest in independent artists, expand impact locally and internationally and continue its pioneering dance education and research.

“The Place is a landmark institution that has led innovation in contemporary dance in the UK and internationally for five decades. Its illustrious alumni and staff team have irrefutably shaped the world of contemporary dance as we know it today. The Place sees no barriers to dance and its ultra-special, incubatory environment is designed to power imagination through dance like no other in the world. The love for dance and artistic expression so dutifully gifted by our founders Robin Howard and Sir Robert Cohan has endured over this time and we are truly energised in the pursuit of our global vision to engage more people with dance over the next 50 years.” – Clare Connor, Chief Executive

Investing in Independent Artists

“Over The Place’s 50 year history we have supported the journey of many of the UK’s greatest contemporary choreographers. The next decade will see us make a new, era-defining commitment to connect the breadth of creativity in today’s independent dance makers to more people and places than ever before.” – Eddie Nixon, Artistic Director

Over the next two years, The Place is investing £700,000 to expand its producing and touring within the UK and internationally to become a producing house for a large and diverse pool of independent artists. This year, The Place will work on ambitious new productions from artists including Requardt and Rosenberg, Avant Garde Dance, Lost Dog and Sivan Rubenstein and commission the development of 36 other new performances.

In September 2019, The Place will launch a new Commissioning Studio. This pioneering fundraising programme supports The Place’s commitment to create high profile professional opportunities, empowering independent artists to create ground-breaking work.

Expanding Impact Locally and Internationally

“This is a momentous time for The Place as we look to the next 50 years through a global lens, strengthening existing relationships and fostering new ones. Our ambition to lead the dance sector forward on local, national and International scales is a strategic priority for all activity planned in our 10-year vision.” – Martin Hargreaves, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Spring 2020 will see the second of a three-year partnership with the Korean Cultural Centre and Korean Arts Management Service to showcase Korea’s eclectic and dynamic dance scene through the Festival of Korean Dance in London. Building on international dance networks, The Place and LCDS will further develop their partnerships with the Merce Cunningham Trust, USA, Beijing Dance Academy, China, and School of the Arts, Singapore to create new opportunities for research, knowledge exchange, student progression and international artist networks.

The Richard Alston Dance Company (RADC) will embark on its Final Edition tour across the UK and overseas, including an At Home season at The Place with special guest Siobhan Davies, founding member of the London Contemporary Dance Theatre. The final RADC performances will be celebrated at Sadler’s Wells on 7 & 8 March 2020.

The Place’s investment in touring will then focus on supporting independent artists to bring their work to national and international audiences in small, mid-scale and outdoor venues. The Place continues to be a partner in the Rural Touring Dance Initiative bringing outstanding performance to over 70 venues in all corners of the country connecting more people to dance.

Education and Innovation

“Dance brings out the very best in people, it allows people to explore their inner passion and The Place is very much the environment for that exploration.” – Vicky Evans, Programme Manager, Centre for Advanced Training (CAT)

The pioneering MA Screendance offers the only Masters Programme in the world specialising in dance filmmaking and exploring the intersections between choreography and moving image. Through research and opportunities such as the student led and curated Screendance Festival: Framerush (Spring 2020), trailblazing students lead and shape this flourishing art form.

This anniversary year will further build on the artistically rich Collaborations (5 and 6, 10-12 Dec); a programme of student work devised together with design and film students from longstanding partners University of the Arts London and composers from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The shared sense of invention in these inspiring opportunities supports the next generation of artist-collaborators.

Over the summer, The Place will offer 18 independent artists a research residency through the Choreodrome programme, a development opportunity to explore new artistic territory, allowing for experimentation and innovation. Choreodrome now includes a Startin’ Point Research Residency Commission for artists whose work is rooted in dances of the African diaspora, conceived by changemaker Hakeem Onibudo in 2018.

Other highlights this year include:

• Touch Wood, a series of bite-size extracts of new work being developed over the summer (3 – 6 Sep 2019)
• Students from LCDS present work created in response to the Leonardo Da Vinci drawings exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace (10 Oct 2019)
• Richard Alston at Home, featuring legendary dancer/choreographer Siobhan Davies and a brand-new commission for LCDS students (27–30 Nov 2019)
• RADC’s final performance at Sadler’s Wells (7 and 8 Mar 2020)
• The Little Prince, a magical dance adaptation of the classic children’s tale (17 – 24 Dec 2019)
• Place’s Youth Dance Platform: around 150 young people from London take to the stage at The Place over two days (Feb 2020)
• Splayed Festival, exploring disruptive femininities (27 Apr – 2 May 2020)
• Camden Primary Schools Festival featuring work by 12 local primary schools and over 600 local children (Summer 2020)
• Changing the Face of British Dance. 50 years of London Contemporary Dance School a book by Henrietta Bannerman tracing the history of LCDS from its trailblazing role in establishing a British Contemporary Dance scene, to the globally renowned dance training institution it is today (launching spring 2020)

Championing the value of dance in all its forms, this anniversary year will run under the tagline ‘Dancing for Life’. Inviting the dance community to join the celebration of The Place’s history and what dance means to them, a year-long social media campaign will collect #BestPlaceMoments. The memories will be used to populate a commissioned visual artwork to be displayed in the building from 2020. Here’s to the next 50 years!