ザ・プレイス The Place
The Place is a comprehensive contemporary dance organization that operates with the key words “discover dance,” “watch dance,” “learn dance,” “create dance,” and “discuss dance.” Through its activities aimed at nurturing talent, encouraging creation, promoting performances and undertaking research and information services not only in connection with dancers, choreographers and other professionals in the field, but also with everyone involved in dance, including children and the general audience, The Place is making great contributions to the spread and development of contemporary dance in Britain.
The predecessor to The Place was The Artists’ Place established near King’s Cross Station in 1969, as an experimental workplace for artists. At the time, it was a space for avant-garde activities not only in dance but also music, theater and other genre. Later it came to focus exclusively on contemporary dance, however, and in 1982 it became the home for the London Contemporary Dance School and began attracting leading dancers and choreographers from around the world.
Today, the school offers a one-year Certificate course, a three-year BA Degree course and a one-year Postgraduate course. Participants in the Postgraduate course also form the dance company EDge, which gives regular performances and tours domestically and internationally. The schools graduates receive opportunities to audition for such outside companies as the Richard Alston Dance Company, Diversions Dance Company, Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company and others.
The organization also offers open classes to the general public in the form of evening courses and weekend courses. As “outreach” activities they are also active in sending artists to elementary schools and the like to offer experiential classes to supplement regular classroom studies with learning through physical movement. A CD-ROM titled “Physical ~ Science” has been developed as an educational tool for these classes.
In 2001, a major renovation was made in the organization’s facilities to give it the 300-seat Robin Howard Dance Theatre, where over 200 contemporary dance performances are held a year, nine dance studios, a body conditioning room, a library, research facilities, a dance video library, a digital filming and editing studio, a café and a theater bar.
Affiliated with The Place is the Richard Alston Dance Company headed by artistic director Richard Alston, and it also has Mayuri Boonham and Subathra Subramaniam as resident dancers and as associate dancers from 2004 to 2006, it has welcomed Frauke Requardt, Michael Hulls, Hofesh Shechter and Jean Abreu. In this way, The Place actively receives foreign artists.
From a management standpoint, the organization operates with funding and support from bodies including Contemporary Dance Trust, The Arts Council of England, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, London Arts and Camden and Association of London Government.
Presently, its staff includes artistic director Richard Alston, theater director John Ashford, executive director Nigel Hinds and Veronica Lewis as director of the London Contemporary Dance School. It also publishes the monthly information magazine Juice .