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Announcing the 2021 Autumn Season at The Place - Live performance returns to The Place

11 Aug 2021

This autumn, after a long and challenging hiatus for dance and the arts, The Place is excited to bring back the joy of live dance performance and welcome back audiences to its theatre. Opening the season with the return of A Festival of Korean Dance, we are excited to welcome back international artists to London, introduce audiences to three of our new Work Place Artists presenting new creations, and reclaim our ambition to surprise and inspire with innovation, experiments in new technology such as VR and digital dance, as well as the pure visceral collective experience of being together in a theatre once again.

In an attempt to make our audiences feel as safe as possible about returning to live performance, The Place is  taking a cautious approach to reopening, with health and safety measures such as masks, hand sanitiser and socially distanced seating still in place until we feel confident enough to increase capacity. While audience sizes may be smaller for now, the experience of live dance will be no less exciting, intimate or intense.

This autumn, we can finally open our Theatre auditorium once more, celebrating with audiences and artists the joy of live performance as a shared experience. Alongside, we’ll continue to connect with those who can’t make it into our theatre, or are not yet ready to join us again, by offering an array of digital experiences in the form of discussions, films, and innovative technologies that continue to foreground dance, movement, and ways of being together. Across the season, many of the artists are using dance to offer powerful provocations about our impact on the world we live in, how we chose to connect with the people and the environment around us, and how we aspire to take care of it for future generations. We hope you’ll find something here that sparks those questions for you, wherever you join us from. – The Place Programming Team

Highlights of the season include:

  • A Festival of Korean Dance returns for its 4th edition with exciting UK premieres welcoming international artists back to London (17 – 24 SEP)
  • New works from 3 choreographers from our new Work Place Artist cohort, Elinor Lewis, Jamaal Burkmar and Sivan Rubinstein
  • Fevered Sleep return with their first new theatre work since Men and Girls dance in 2015
  • A parallel digital programme of dance film, online discussions and more

The season will open with A Festival of Korean Dance, presented in partnership with the Korean Cultural Centre. This year's programme features the world premiere of London-based choreographer and performer Sung Im Her's show W.A.Y (17&18 SEP), an uncompromisingly intense performance of four dancers using repetitive movement alongside an entrancing composition by Belgian musician Husk Husk, to explore the human need for individuality and the longing to be part of something bigger than oneself.

The festival is completed by an exhilarating double bill from Company SIGA (23&24 SEP), one of the hottest up-and-coming dance groups in Korea, bringing two UK premieres which showcase their spectacular, physically intense choreography. In ZEROthe Company uses high energy rhythmic movement to draw the audience into a captivating performance that examines the potential of what the body can do when pushed, and what it can create through dance. Drawing of hip hop influence, Equilibrium, plays with the idea of balance through a cycle of erratic physicality and intense moments of stillness. The work is inspired by the chaos and restored order that humans experience throughout their lifetime.

Work Place Artist Elinor Lewis makes work that straddles dance, live art and installation. TIMBER is a delicate exercise in radical risk management, embracing uncertainty, and finding space to flourish within precarious situations. Six wooden, door-sized frames, balanced upright in a row - waiting to fall like dominoes. Two people defiantly occupy this precarious space, performing a suspenseful balancing act, whilst playfully testing people’s attitudes toward risk and precariousness.(28 SEP)

With To Varnam With Love, Divya Kasturi dives into the Varnam, a story of timely relevance about being separated from those we love which forms a centrepiece of Bharatanatyam repertoire performance. Using humour, dolls, singing, music and beautiful dance from both South Asian and western traditions, she tells a story of love, devotion and commitment - to a god, to a myth, to a way of moving and being. (30 SEP)

In her signature style of Afro-European dance theatre, Alesandra Seutin’s Boy Breaking Glass is a powerful, inspiring and thought-provoking dance theatre ensemble piece inspired by the poem of the same name written by Gwendolyn Brooks - the first Black female poet in the United States to receive a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Boy Breaking Glass re-imagines a society that supports fairness and equality, allowing for the actuality of breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling. (5 OCT)

“...a study of frustration and marginalisation for seven dancers that culminates in a full-bodied articulation of communal joy, a burst of bright light and locomotion.” The Stage

Club Origami by Takeshi Matsumoto, a Japanese inclusive artist, choreographer and dance movement psychotherapist, is an immersive and interactive dance show inviting family audiences to create, imagine and explore whole new ways of thinking, playing and moving. Dance, fashion and live music meet the magic of origami to sweep families up on a spirited and inspiring adventure in a land made purely of paper and play. Club Origami is presented by Dance Umbrella and is part of Little Big Dance – a pioneering national initiative creating new dance work for under-fives and their families, led by South East Dance in partnership with DanceEast, Take Art and Yorkshire Dance. (10 OCT)

Louder Is Not Always Clearer by Mr & Mrs Clark  tells the story of Jonny’s - teacher, father and football fan. He’s an artist, a campaigner, and he’s deaf. Jonny grew up in a hearing family, surrounded by fear of the stigma of disability. This one-man show is a starkly honest portrayal of a man seemingly confident, outgoing and popular, who is inwardly vulnerable and, at times, isolated. (12OCT)

"A brilliant exercise in empathy as it allows a hearing audience to briefly experience the world as Jonny sees and hears it” Lyn Gardner, Stage Door

Cupid’s Revenge, the latest dance theatre comedy show by ground-breaking performance company New Art Club, is a joyful, physical and verbal outburst against the forces that masquerade as love. Mythical love, romantic love, love between friends. With New Art Club’s dexterous physicality this impossibly big topic is broken open and brought vividly to life, in an attempt to bring audiences together in a defiant act of unity and love. (14-16 OCT)

From 21-24 OCT Artists4Artists, an artist-led initiative championing Hip Hop dance theatre in the UK, take over The Place for a festival of performances, open rehearsals and panel discussions. Unscripted with Kate Prince MBE (21 OCT) is and evening of open unscripted rehearsal with unique commentary from Kate Prince herself, carving out movement language and stories live on stage, shining a light on the choreographer’s creative processes at work and how she communicates ideas to her dancers and the audience.

On 22 Oct, Artists 4 Artists presents a compelling double bill from Emma Houston and Si Rawlinson, focusing on shared, exclusionary experiences. Emma Houston collaborates with musician Bellatrix to present Like Mercury. Through a queer lens, a dynamic trio of movement artists from Houston Dance Collective and world champion beatboxer and musician Bellatrix share stories, dismantle internalised beliefs, challenge binaries and collectively re-imagine a future-present celebrating our identities and centring community. Si Rawlinson’s Hand Me Down uses hip hop dance, audio narrative and spoken word to connect stories of identity. A personal recollection of family, history, and intimate teachings by three friends finding a way forward by tracing their steps back.

On 24 OCT, the festival  concludes online with two panel discussions which see Artists 4 Artists, Hakeem Onibudo, Peggy Olislaegers and critical friends discuss artistic barriers, sector problems, and responses to open provocations. (Other events and performances will also take place at Kenneth Moore Theatre as part of the festival)

A very exciting glimpse into the future is promised by Springback Ringside, a new Virtual Reality project by the European dance network Aerowaves. Gathering a group of spectators together to watch a performances through VR goggles, giving them a “Ringside seat”, is an experience that immerses audiences in the dance performance unlike a flat 2D screen ever could. Far from trying to replace physical and live performance, the project is driven by the question ‘can we feel kinetic empathy through VR?’ and demonstrates innovation unseen anywhere in the performing arts so far. (25-27 OCT)

Drawing upon his unique palette of Flamenco and contemporary dance Jose Agudo creates a dramatic adaptation of Prosper Merimée’s classic novella Carmen, performed by an incredible cast of seven dancers. Set to an original Flamenco infused score by Bernhard Schimpelsberger and additional tracks by Kefaya, Carmen is a story about individuality, freedom, love and pleasure, a rich tapestry of human motives and emotions, unravelling the complex exchange between conformity and freedom. (29&30 OCT)

Dance No 2°, a new work by Work Place Artist Sivan Rubinstein is a response to the climate emergency. Audiences are taken on a timeless journey to redefine our connection to our home and our place within Earth’s fragile ecosystem. Exploring how human existence is influenced by the water, land, and elements we live with, Dance No 2° is set in an infinite landscape of waves and rolling hills, hypnotic oceans and vivid deserts, transporting audiences with a cinematic soundtrack, earth-toned costumes and a minimalist set, inviting us to see how the land we live on and the planet we inhabit shapes us. (2&3 NOV)

DONUTS, a new work by Work Place Artist Jamaal Burkmar (Extended Play) follows one night, separated over several years in the life of a group of friends, exploring how music connects them and feeds their friendship and their need to dance. It’s a celebration of friendship evolving over time and the way music and dance brings people together. Bursting with precision and soul, DONUTS is a hypnotic and playful groove along to jazz and funk. (5&6 NOV, split run with The Albany, press night 1 Nov at The Albany)

Fevered Sleep are a company with an international reputation for making exquisitely crafted and surprising performances that invite people to view the world in different ways. Their first new theatre work since Men and Girls Dance in 2015 is We Are Not Finished, an outpouring of fury and hope intercut with movement, images, sound, music and light. Performed by a company of young people, it lays bare their fears and dreams as they face a future on the brink of chaos and collapse. At a time when the world needs radical solutions and new ways to live, We Are Not Finished explores what we might learn from a group of ordinary young people who are invited to speak about our present and their future. (10-13 NOV, press night 11 NOV)

Award-winning choreographer Seeta Patel returns with her powerful reimagination of the iconic ballet The Rite of Spring in the classical Indian dance style Bharatanatyam, bringing together the two technical, powerful, and evocative art forms of Western classical music and Indian classical dance. Re-telling the pagan folk story through intricate rhythmic footwork, expressive prowess, geometric and dynamic movements, it’s one of the most exciting flirtations between East and West in current times. (16 NOV)

"...in her commanding and utterly convincing interpretation, Patel has created a must-see epic." Culture Whisper 

VOXED is a dance theatre company with a passion for stories founded by choreographer Wayne Parsons to specifically to explore the relationship between text and movement in narrative dance theatre works. Out Late is a gritty murder mystery crime drama of jealousy, shame and manipulation. Set in the round with the audience on all four sides of the action, the story follows Vinnie who awakes in the afterlife with one question: ‘Who killed me?’ (19&20 NOV)

Scottish Dance Theatre (24&25 NOV) returns with an exhilarating double bill featuring a brand new creation by Glasgow-based choreographer Mele Broomes and Botis Seva’s TuTuMucky. Blending the languages of hip-hop, ballet and contemporary dance into an explosive cocktail, TuTuMucky explores how we are shaped by the world around us and celebrates revolt against every system trying to oppress us. The company is also delighted to introduce Mele Broomes’ first commission for a repertory company, embodying stories from the collective voice, creating visceral and sensory collaborations through her ancestral heritage.

For those audiences who do not yet feel ready or able to see live work in a theatre, the autumn season provides a parallel digital programme of dance films from Fevered Sleep and Sivan Rubinstein, online panel discussions on critical themes and further events to be announced soon.

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