Press Story

15 Feb 2023

The Place, London’s leading centre for dance performance and creation, is delighted to launch its summer 2023 season, with highlights including the return of A Festival of Korean dance in its 6th edition, a first-time collaboration with Queer East film festival, and family shows to delight our youngest audiences.

"As we look towards the summer, we're excited to present a vibrant, outwards looking season replete with festivals, collaborations and international presentations. We are working with Queer East film festival on their first ever live performances and look forward to celebrating 20 years of Breakin’ Convention, as well as our annual festival of Korean Dance. It's a great opportunity for London audiences to see these brilliant international artists in action, alongside new works by UK based artists Si Rawlinson and Temitope Ajose-Cutting. For a glimpse into where dance in the UK is going next, Resolution, our annual festival of new choreography returns showcasing 57 new ideas, and the season is bookended by work for families, with a new day of dance at The Place on Good Friday, and the return of Family Dance Day in July.

The Place Programming Team

Highlights of the spring 2023 season include:

  • Soweto Skeleton Movers as part of Breakin’ Convention (12-13 APR)
  • The 6th edition of A Festival of Korean Dance (28 APR – 9 MAY)
  • Two live performances as part of Queer East film festival (19 – 22 APR)
  • Family shows over Easter and the return of Family Dance Day (7 APR & 15 JUL)
  • Resolution, the annual festival for new choreography (18 MAY – 16 JUN)

Programme of work this spring at The Place

The season kicks off with a Family Friday over the Easter break, dedicated to family fun, with two family shows set to light up the imagination of the youngest audience members. Inspired by the joy of travelling through India by train, Choogh Choogh is an interactive adventure for ages 0-7, exploring the sights and sounds of a journey through South Asia via dance, music and theatre.

The Bull and the Moon is an endearing family friendly production that tells the story of Lolo, a little bull that doesn't feel like he fits in with the other bulls in the farm. A fun, fiery, magical dance performance that blends contemporary dance, flamenco and theatre, this is a heart-warming story about being oneself and LGBTQ+ inclusivity. (7 APR)

Breakin’ Convention has been revolutionising the hip hop scene in London and across the world for 20 years, and to celebrate this big birthday, Breakin’ Convention favourites Soweto Skeleton Movers return to The Place with a brand-new show. From busking on Soweto’s Vilakazi Street to touring the world, this crew have astounded and amazed audiences with their comedic contortionism, frenetic footwork and magical hat tricks. Now this new work, produced and co-choreographed by Lloyds Company and directed by Jonzi D, sees each dancer share personal stories that put their Unbreakable spirit to the test. (12-13 APR)

Following the world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Glasgow-based queer disabled artist Sarah Hopfinger brings her critically acclaimed work Pain and I to The Place. A bold and poetic exploration into chronic pain experience, this powerful, honest and compelling work puts the disabled experience centre stage, featuring playful choreography, experimental dance and intimate autobiographical text, accompanied by original classical music composition by Alicia Jane Turner.

'Simultaneously abstract and solid... this beautiful show explores living with pain and caring for ourselves and others.' (Lyn Gardner). '

Pain and I is a diversely accessible body of work, including live performance, audio piece and graphic score. The performance has integrated BSL by interpreter and performer Rachel Amey and the graphic score is freely accessible. (15 APR)

For the first time ever, The Place is proud to collaborate with Queer East, an LGBTQ+ film and arts festival that showcases queer cinema from East and Southeast Asia to audiences in the UK. Now in its 4th year, the film festival is for the first time embracing the addition of live performance, with two performances hosted at the Place.

Yishun is Burning is a multicultural voguing dance party that traverses the boundaries of gender, race, and religion. Choreographer Choy Ka Fai, a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. working at the intersection of dance, media art and performance, adapts Singaporean ritual dances for a transcendent, queer solo on a multimedia stage. Yishun is Singapore’s dystopian suburbia – an antithesis to the clean image Singapore cultivates, where society is ruled by control and freedom of speech is non-essential. On a quest for religious ecstasy, the dancer Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang (aka Aurora Sun), a rising star of the Southeast Asian voguing scene, enters states of trance and drag, transcending attributions of gender, cultural identity and religion. Thirty years after the iconic New York documentary "Paris is Burning", this evening combines themes of a globalized world with old and new movement traditions and celebrates the search for (one's own) spirituality in dance. (21-22 APR)

‘A supernatural explorer of dance.’ The New York Times | 4* ‘

Cyborg DNA by Robin Nimanong is a futuristic performance installation merging digital art, modular music and contemporary dance into a hypnotic experience that discusses the complexity of the body and technology. Taking inspiration from the text ‘Cyborg Manifesto’ by Donna Haraway, a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology studies, Cyborg DNA imagines humanities evolution into transhumanism, enhanced by sophisticated technologies, and how today’s focus on race, gender and ethnicity may shift towards different and new parameters. Robin Nimanong’s (He/She/They) work is strongly driven by his queer identity and Thai background, combining his interest in dance, the body and media with questions about identity, self-care and the future. (19 APR)

The annual Festival of Korean Dance will be returning to The Place for its sixth year in April, and for the first time will also tour shows nationally to venues in Manchester, Coventry and Brighton. Five companies will be performing at the festival in a series of three programmes of work, with returning favourites including Korea National Contemporary Dance Company – who headlined the very first festival – choreographer Sung Im Her, Art Project BORA and Company SIGA.

The Festival opens on 28-29 APR with a Double Bill by Jaeyoung Lee, a founder member of Company SIGA and Sung Im Her, presenting two dramatic, punchy works from new-generation Korean talent, performed by Korea National Contemporary Dance Company.

With intense patterns of intricate synchronised movement, Mechanism plays with our understanding of what ‘human interaction’ means. The pulsating rhythmic score by MC Bluechan builds up the tension, growing in intensity to propel towards a club-like joyous finale.

Everything Falls Dramatic by Sung Im Her offers a powerful and emotional meditation on our sense of fragility, resilience, loneliness and solidarity, featuring a dramatic set design and a richly layered soundscore by electro-acoustic duo HuskHusk.

For the next double bill, Choi x Kang Project present A Complementary Set_Disappearing with an Impact, the last instalment in a trilogy of works which were presented as part of A Festival of Korean Dance in 2019. Live performance is combined with footage recorded on stage to create an optical illusion in the space between what is seen and unseen. A Complementary Set_Disappearing with an Impact is a captivating, and often funny, game, in which perceptions of past and present are distorted, sound turns into noise and the performers original movements are transformed in witty and unexpected ways. (3 MAY)

Byeol Yang by Art Project BORA is a striking and minimalist duet, showcasing how Korean artists are using dance to make sense of how the pandemic has impacted our bodies in ways we might not realise. Two organisms, not quite at home in their bodies, try to make sense of the world around them. Seemingly identical, they explore how their environment impacts changes in their bodies in distinct and separate ways. In strange and unavoidable times, Byeol Yang offers a starting point for understanding the world around us and its impact on ourselves and our bodies. (3 MAY)

The festival culminates with a Triple-Bill of K:Dance, which will present Foreign Body and Did U Hear by Howool Baek and Rush by Company SIGA. (9 MAY)

Foreign Body by Howool Baek is a short film about how bodies that do not fit within the framework of society are treated as foreign bodies and ultimately rejected.

Did U Hear is a bodily interpretation of the poem "The rose that grew from concrete", written by rapper 2PAC. It exposes a process of deconstruction of the body into individual life and discovers various shapes of body images through harmonious connection and extension.

Rush by Company SIGA is about pausing to listen to the needs of the inner self to gain peace in existing as we are. Slow as it may be, this is a rush at its own speed. Many people in present day society only look ahead, believing going one or two steps ahead of everyone else is the only way to be on the fast track to success. Rush is a plea to listen attentively to our inner self, to not go against the stream of one’s own world because of other people, to genuinely go one’s own way - like a ripple spreading out serenely.

A madwoman, a witch, a seductress? Attempting to Inhabit the archetype of Lady Macbeth, Temitope Ajose-Cutting uses the words, the implications, the narrative and most importantly the psychological states of Lady Macbeth to tell her own story. Intimately staged in the round, and with strictly limited capacity, Lady M (at Home with Lady Macbeth) invites you to her home - her inner landscape, to observe, to witness and to play along with her. (11-13 MAY)

Body of People Jazz Theatre Company, aka BOP, present a two-day jazz arts convention re-wiring the vitality and vision of UK Jazz Dance Theatre Arts. This inaugural convention celebrates the diversity and creativity within the jazz dance art form and champions all who practice and participate within it. In addition to an evening of live performances, Jazz Arts – ReWIRED will see a full day of masterclasses, workshops, discussions and CPD seminars: Jazz Dance Explosion: A day of Practice and Participation on Sat 27 May.

Program two, UP CLOSE & PERSONAL promises unique evening of exciting, original and innovative jazz dance theatre and music, that showcases the diversity and creativity of jazz theatre in the UK. The programme features a kaleidoscope of jazz dance performances from acclaimed choreographers Dollie Henry MBE (BOP Jazz Theatre), David Blake (Blake Arts), Benjamin Cutting (The Locksmiths), Ffion Campbell-Davis (House of Absolute) and June Campbell Davies, Bafana Matea and Ofelia Balogun (Matea Dance Collective), Nathan ‘Neo’ Gordon (‘FLO’ featuring Urdang Dancers) and more to be announced. (3 JUN)

From British Chinese choreographer and theatre maker Si Rawlinson comes Saving Face, a theatre, word, and dance show that seeks to normalise invisible illness, finding humour and comfort in the fragility that makes us human. Four office colleagues hide from each other in plain sight and discover what happens when buried things come up for air. Featuring award-winning dancers, the show uses interdisciplinary theatre to push the boundaries of storytelling, mixing hip hop and contemporary dance, dialogue and physical theatre. (23-24 JUN)

From 18 MAY – 16 JUN, The Place’s annual staple festival of new choreography Resolution returns offering the stage to 57 artists and companies presenting new ideas.

The seasons closes with London’s most exciting family dance event of the year, the annual Family Dance Day, a FREE day of theatre shows, dance workshops, interactive storytelling and games for all the family. (15 JUL)