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The Place Prize celebrates the best new contemporary dance

  • Date: 23 September 2010
  • Area: London


The Place Prize, the contemporary choreography competition with a top prize of £25,000, is back. Our Relationship Manager for Dance, Jan De Schynkel talks us through this year's award.


What is The Place Prize?

The Place Prize, first launched in 2004, is a prestigious prize for contemporary dance choreographers that aims to create an award comparable to the Turner Prize for visual artists and the Man Booker Prize for novelists.

From the 9 to 25 September, following the open application process with 200 entries submitted from all over the country, 16 shortlisted entrants will show their new dance works for the first time in preview and semi-final performances. This year's line up is an interesting mix of emerging choreographers paired with some new and lesser-known faces.

These semi-finals are bound to challenge and entertain the diehard contemporary dance fans, as well as those who are keen to be introduced but are still trying to follow up on a long standing resolution to demystify contemporary dance. The performances are a suitable and accessible introduction to the artform and are a unique chance to get your finger on the pulse. You may even get hooked!

How does it work?

The 16 semi-finalists have received studio time, technical support and a commission fee. An interactive element, fitting in our age of personalisation of experiences and democratisation of art consumption, is built in to the selection process: semi-final audiences select one finalist to join three that are chosen by a panel of dance experts.

At the finals performances at The Place in April 2011, the choreographers will compete for £10,000 of audience-voted prizes and a panel of judges will also select The Place Prize winner who will receive £25,000.

By the conclusion of this edition, the prize will have enabled the creation of 76 works and invested over £1 million in new dance, making it the biggest single source of commissions for new short works in UK dance.

As well as our funding, The Place Prize receives sponsorship from Bloomberg. We encourage all our funded organisations to have a mixed economy purse, but given the economic situation, it is no mean feat that The Place has secured the continued sponsorship of Bloomberg for a fourth edition.

The impact of the competition on the world of contemporary dance is clear with previous prize winners including Rafael Bonachela, Nina Rajarani and Adam Linder. Finalists have included Freddie Opoku Addaie, Tom Roden & Pete Shenton, as well as Bawren Tavaziva and Hofesh Shechter whose companies have since become two of our regularly funded organisations.

What is The Place?

The Place, under the umbrella of Contemporary Dance Trust, is a London-based Arts Council regularly funded organisation.

Located in the Kings Cross regeneration area, The Place is one of the UK's premier centres for contemporary dance. What makes it distinctive is the unparalleled range of activity and opportunities under one roof: dance training, creation and performance in a purpose-built centre, which houses some of the best studios in the city.

The organisation facilitates a school for full-time vocational dance training, a busy dance theatre, the Richard Alston Dance Company, an extensive range of participatory programmes for adults and young people and gives ongoing support and professional development to artists.

What performances are you looking forward to at this year's prize?

I look forward to catching up with the work of some previous Grants for the arts recipients such as Eva Recacha, Freddie Opoku-Addaie or Ben Duke of Lost Dog.

Eva's fragmented work is imbued with subtle humour. The work of Lost Dog is occupying an unusual space somewhere between dance and theatre, but without being the usual dance theatre - if that makes sense! Freddie brings refreshing new approaches to his work by infusing elements of chance, games and improvisation within a rigorous choreographic structure. This new piece will see him collaborating with Frauke Requardt.

I'm also intrigued and interested to see the work of newer choreographers on the scene: Vera Tussing, for example, brings interesting explorations of rhythm and movement in space, whilst the work of duo Ricardo Buscarini & Antonio De La Fe Guedes incorporates framing used in suspense films.

However, these 16 pieces also provide a fantastic performance opportunity for some wonderful performers and for us to enjoy the many things that dance, with its rich diversity of aesthetics, can give us.

Every audience member will have their own favourite and we all look forward to April 2011 to hear who the judges thought deserved to be a Place Prize winner.

Please visit The Place Prize website for more information, to watch trailers or to book tickets for any of the performances.