Clare Connor, CEO of The Place
"One of my favourite moments in community dance was when I was a teacher and artist and I worked with Chris Thomson at The Place on a boys and youth dance project with Wayne McGregor. We worked with an intergenerational group of boys and young men from the East End, some of who have never ventured outside of their local community. By the end of the project they were travelling across cities and continents, not just spatially but in terms of life experience and transformation. Later, I used this project with Wayne to share that experience with a wider group of peers. For me it was really a coming together of all the things I believe in - community dance, working with great artists, amazing experiences for young people and then an opportunity to share it as a teaching pedagogy. It really deepened my learning. The whole experience was transformative for those young boys and then it became transformative for me."
Veronica Lewis, former principal of LCDS and joint principal of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama CDD
"This moment will stick with me for ever: When I first took up the role of LCDS Director I was horrified that students had no access to student support and no help with fees. With the help of HEFCE, it took about three years to sort this out and give birth the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama as an institution that could be funded in the same way as the music conservatoirs. My most favourite moment was sitting at Flaxman Terrace reception desk with Richard Attenborough (then Chair of RADA) and the forms to sign to enable us to set up a bank account so HEFCE could pay an initial £37,000 into it. Outside the Flaxman Terrace door was his huge green Rolls and a traffic warden talking to Dicky’s Driver... Inside, there was huge relief and the growing understanding that LCDS could support the students it believed could really benefit from our education, without worrying about where the funds would come from."
Luca Silvestrini, Founder & Artistic Director of Protein
"It’s rather difficult to choose my best The Place Moment as I’ve been taking class, researching, making, performing and much more there since 1994. The Place has always been a big part of my professional life and of my life in general.
Out of all my great moments at The Place, there’s one that has a special place in my heart: this was when Protein and The Place joined forces to run and host a performance project with learners of the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. For 3 weeks, they were part of The Place’s life and they ended the project with a touching and inspiring studio performance for an invited audience. The wonderful thing is that The Place, and all of us involved, offered them a home, a community and a purpose, confirming that dance is for everyone and that it can transform lives. More of these moments please."
Andy Gardiner, Dancer with Luca Silvestrini's Protein
"My Best Place Moment was when we took Protein's Border Tales to Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 with The Place team and then ended the tour on The Place stage. Such a beautiful team of performers to end an amazing year of touring."
Carol Loudy, Creative Producer at Protein
"I attended The Place youth Easter workshops aged 14 in 1987 (yes I really am that old!). It was my first contemporary dance experience and it felt fresh and right. I was hooked, so left school at 16 to attend London Contemporary Dance School for three years. Since I have returned to The Place as a dancer in Resolutions, audience member and collaborator, mostly with the Learning and Participation Dept. I’m delighted to be back as Producer with Luca Silvestrini’s Protein and our much loved show The Little Prince, introducing more children to the wonderful world of dance."
Vicki Balaam, Founder and Chairperson of Stopgap Dance Company
"I vividly remember entering The Place as a performer ... not as I had done before as an audience member, workshop participant, or even when I was a young dancer auditioning. But this time as a member of a company performing on THAT stage. Walking into the theatre, everything was painted white as part of the "White Christmas" programme. As I bent to touch the floor, this moment in time felt like one of those significant moments in Stopgap's history. As well as the opportunity to be part of that fantastic showcase alongside amazing artists, being chosen to perform felt like a validation of what we had achieved. After years of striving to be accepted as equals within the mainstream dance world this was the gig that made us feel that we had "made it". Around this time we discovered that we were being considered for core funding from Arts Council England, so that performance was a very magical moment in time that I will never forget. I am eternally grateful for the support The Place gave us around that time, the international touring that unlocked for us, the opportunities they give emerging artists including members of our team, and their continued support for Stopgap ever since. Thank you!"
Francesco Ferrari, currently performing for Scottish Dance Theatre Double Bill: Process Day & The Circle and alumni of LCDS
"My three years at The Place shaped me both as an artist and as a person, opening my mind to a whole new way of seeing, moving and thinking. There was something very special about the diversity within my year group and I was grateful to be surrounded by such talent and friendship. One of my best Place moment was when my name got picked out of a hat to be part of 'Compass', a production in collaboration with Sadler's Wells for which I was part of a creation by Felix Buerkle and Pascal Merighi from Tanztheater Wuppertal with a big group of vocational students. I felt so lucky to be performing on that big stage and I definitely remember that as a highlight. Since graduating in 2013, passing through The Place has always felt like coming back home. I feel like that now as I am back with Scottish Dance Theatre as rehearsal director cover."
Hannah Kidd, Former dancer with Richard Alston Dance Company, currently performing in Jonathan Goddard's While You Are Here
"It feels very exciting to bring ‘While you are Here’ to the Robin Howard Theatre this week. Jonathan Goddard and I met at The Place whilst dancing for Richard Alston Dance Company back in 2007 and since that time have continued to work together on many projects. It is wonderful that we now get to share While You Are Here with The Place audiences."
Tiffany Evans, Dance Theatre Marketing Consultant
"My first visit to The Place was in 1996 to see V-TOL Dance Company's By Force of Fantasy. I had never experienced dance theatre before. The physicality and visceral impact of this show and company blew me away. After seeing it I quit my job and got the job of Marketing Manager for V-TOL. I'm not joking when I say it changed my life."
Gary Clarke, Artistic Director of Gary Clarke Company
"The first time I showed work at The Place as part of Spring Loaded 2006 was a huge stepping stone for me. Coming from a small mining village in rural Yorkshire the opportunity to showcase my work in one of London’s most prestigious dance houses was a very proud moment"
Josh Ben-Tovim, Co-director of Impermanence
"I remember coming back to The Place after I'd been living away from London for a few years... and saying hello to a few people I'd not seen in a long time and smiling at half recognised faces filled me with a sense of being part of a community and made me feel that Contemporary Dance was somehow alive and well!"
Richard Alston, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Richard Alston Dance Company
“I can still vividly remember when Robin Howard first brought me here to see this shell of an old building. The theatre as it now is was a drill hall, complete with rain leaking into buckets and the forlorn remnants of a party (wilting balloons caught in the rafters). What is now the café was evidently the rifle range with shooting targets and bullet holes (!) in the far wall. Since that day I have held on to countless other fond memories of The Place, my artistic home for 50 years.”
Siobhan Davies, dancer and choreographer, founder of Siobhan Davies Dance
“I will be standing at the side of the stage during Richard’s closing performances at The Place. I will be waiting to do the Merce Cunningham solos but before I enter, I will watch Monique Jonas and Nahum McLean do the duet from ‘Nowhere Slowly’ which Richard made for both of us in 1972. I will love watching this contemporary version as well as sensing memory stir up in my own body. Another memory will be of Sally Potter filming us in 1972 running up the back stage steps, again and again. We ran hard and fast and the film was going to be projected on the back of the stage at the outset of the work and as the film came to an end, we dancers would spill live out in front of the audience and begin Richard’s work ‘Combines’. I thoroughly enjoyed making this mixed format entrance and the conversation between film and live performance continued throughout the work. ‘Combines’ was a collection of earlier and new works by Richard which included the solo from ‘Nowhere Slowly’ and also the beginnings of ‘Blue Schubert Fragments’. The range of works let us explore and combine being our ordinary selves alongside our dancing selves. It was fun and serious and beautiful. It will mean a great deal to me to be part of an extraordinarily creative recycle as I stand waiting to enter on to the stage in 2019, when the present and so many pasts will arrive in one moment.”
Kai and Taylor, students on The Place CAT scheme
"Presenting at FRESH and The Place Youth Dance Platform." and "spending 5 years dancing and learning at The Place, Centre for Advanced Training".
Amy Bell, Dance Artist and Artist Development Manager at The Place
"I was a student at London Contemporary Dance School when the 7/7 bombings happened in 2005. They happened the day before our end of term sharing. It was shaking, smothering, saddening, discriminating. London felt surreal. On the day it happened it was phenomenal that within a couple of hours, The Place staff created a network of checks and managed to account for every student and member of staff. The day after we weren’t sure whether dancing so close to where people had lost their lives would feel appropriate. But after talking about it we decided to go ahead with our end of term sharing as a statement of community, togetherness, love, compassion, to move together to be together. It was incredibly potent and was the first time I really understood what it meant to be part of a community."
Maria Ryan, Creative Learning Producer at The Place
"In 1994 on April Fools Day I created an audition notice for EDGE - The Place's postgraduate dance company, saying Christopher Bruce was coming to watch class to choose dancers for his new work Lirp Aloof (anagram of AprilFool). It was hilarious..."
Dom, Scatter dance company member (The Place's non-professional adult dance company)
"Auditioning for Scatter dance company 6 years ago was one of the best decisions I have ever made. As a company member I have been able to train with many amazing choreographers over the years. Performing a piece created by Alleyne Dance is just one of the many unforgettable moments."
Solène Weinachter, London Contemporary Dance School alumna, National Dance Award Winner 2020 and performer in Scottish Dance Theatre/Joan Clevillé
"Talking to Sonia Noona (former Lecturer in physical support) in the body conditioning studio and getting her words of wisdom on all kind of topics. Real life lessons happened in that space and it gave me fuel anytime I needed it."
Carmine & Harriet, EDIFICE Dance Theatre
"The first time we performed EDIFICE Dance Theatre work live, bringing ballroom and Latin dance together on a contemporary dance stage. We look forward to performing our new work at The Place and creating another Best Place memory."
Marega Palser, LCDS Alumna 1982-1985 & Co-founder of Mr and Mrs Clark
"My overwhelming memory is the image of seeing our teachers Jane Dudley and Nina Fonaroff sitting on chairs in the stairwell on the way up to Studio 3. They would just seem to appear as if by magic! I could still feel their presence when I returned to The Place after 20 years.....So many ghosts!"