Dance Dialogue: Focus on Eddie Nixon

The Place is London’s pioneering creative powerhouse for dance development, leading the way in dance training, creation and performance. As an international centre of excellence in the development of contemporary dancers and dance-makers, The Place is one of Europe’s most exciting, innovative dance spaces, where artists from all over the world come to push creative boundaries, to experiment and to perform outstanding new work for audiences who expect to be surprised, inspired and delighted. The Place is home to London Contemporary Dance School, Richard Alston Dance Company, a 280-seat theatre, an extensive range of classes, courses and participatory opportunities for adults and young people and professional development programmes for artists.

Eddie Nixon is Director of Artist and Theatre Development, leading a team of colleagues to shape the public programmes, theatre performances, classes, youth group and outreach programmes. In particular, The Place supports and commissions emerging artists to research, develop and create new work.

Fagin’s Twist. Photo by Rachel Cherry.

 

The team isn’t looking for one specific aesthetic quality but supports and programmes people with interesting, original ideas that connect with audiences. The Place is a dance venue, so the ideas have to be on some level embedded in physicality or in the body. “Even if the work uses words and design and all kinds of physicality that might not look very much like dance to many people, it is important that the ideas find a metaphor you can express with the body.” Furthermore, Eddie emphasises the importance of rigour and virtuosity. “That doesn’t mean tricks or traditional showy dance technique – it’s about precision and knowing how magnetic details can be for an audience.”

Igor and Moreno. Photo by Alicia Clark.

The Place programmes dance that is contemporary in the truest sense of the word. It’s about the world now and the latest developments and directions dance is taking. There is no repertoire, and the programming avoids work that only draws on traditional dance techniques and forms, favouring work which is transforming ideas, aggravating them and fusing them together. Programming is as international as resources allow. Based in Europe, The Place is more likely to present work that is created and touring around Europe but this is more a question of logistics. Explicitly, The Place is looking for diversity and different voices in the programme. “We are looking for creativity and inspiration everywhere and we want our stage to be filled with artists that represent the diversity of London and the world.”

While artists seeking to be programmed are welcome to send in video tapes, it is more likely that new artists are discovered at showcases and platforms, through artist development projects and key partner organisations such as Aerowaves and European Dance House. From there, The Place is committed to building relationships and starting a dialogue with exciting emerging artists. A vivid exchange of artistic visions and networking is also flowing through the summer school, post graduate programmes and initiatives such as Resolutions and Choreodrome, facilitating a buzzing community of creation and experiment.

Most importantly, The Place aims for a balance between artist development and audiences. Both are of equal importance to the venue. “We are as much about supporting artists and developing new ideas as we are committed to those who come to experience and enjoy the work.”

Find out more here: www.theplace.org.uk.

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