Press Story

15 Jun 2023

London’s leading centre for dance performance and creation The Place is delighted to launch an electrifying autumn season, with must-see highlights including the otherworldly athleticism of the award-winning James Wilton Company, the first solo work by audience favourite Solène Weihnachter,and this year’s festive family show Pirates! By Scottish Dance Theatre

The Place is also excited to recommence Touch Wood again, a micro-season of new ideas developed during the summer by our Choreodrome artists and presented in our Studios. This former autumn season staple, which returns for the first time since the pandemic, is an opportunity to experience the newest ideas and research in dance and includes facilitated audience feedback sessions.

“Our Autumn season is jam-packed with brilliant choreographic and performance work: Emilyn Claid andSeke Chimutengwende, two of the best-selling artists of last year, bring back their critically celebrated and popular shows for audiences to experience again; we present a mini season of queer choreographic practices featuring Emilyn’s work alongside Gareth Chambers and a mixed-bill curated by FRINGE! Queer Film & Art Fest; we explore contemporary expressions of Classical Indian dance through presentations of Akademi, Sonia Sabri Company and Pagrav, and the choreographic practices of artists working in Africa and of the African Diaspora through our new collaboration with Afro Dance Xplosion; we bring unmissable international work from SU Pin-Wen and Alexandre Fandard as part of Dance Umbrella, from leading European performance artists VestAndPage, and from Aerowaves artists POCKETART collective; and there’s richhome-grown work, including from Bobak Champion, James Wilton Company, and Van Huynh Companyand from Choreodrome artists Susanna Dye and Louise Orwin and Work Place artist Chisato Minamimura. We’re delighted to be collaborating with all these artists and companies. It’s going to be a phenomenal season and we can’t wait for audiences to meet their work. See you here.” The Place Programming Team

Later in the season, students of London Contemporary Dance School will showcase their cross-disciplinary Collaborations, and the much-loved annual youth dance showcase Fresh returns. Children and family audiences can explore environmental consequences in Plastic Drastic Fantastic by acclaimed South Asian dance company Akademi, soar through the air in Xenia Aidonopoulou’s magical multi-sensory experience Skydiver, part of Dance Umbrella, and go treasure hunting with a rowdy crew of Pirates!, in the latest creation of Scottish Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Joan Clevillé.

Highlights of the autumn season include:

  • The London premiere of 1 9 Monologue by internationally renowned performance artists VestAndPage (30 SEP)
  • The London premiere of LORE, a new work by James Wilton Company, inspired by Viking, Celtic and Slavic folklore (10&11 OCT)
  • A focus on contemporary expressions of South Asian dance with works by Pagrav Dance Company, Akademi and Sonia Sabri Company.
  • Queer works by Gareth Chambers (9 SEP), Emilyn Claid (23 SEP) and a mixed-bill curated by Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest (21 SEP)
  • The premiere of Mark of a Woman by Workplace artist Chisato Minamimura, exploring the under-told stories of women and tattooing (7 NOV)
  • Afro Dance Xplosion Festival (ADX), ‘Best Dance Production’ at the Black British Theatre Awards, celebrates movement traditions from the continent of Africa and its Diaspora (10 NOV)
  • Pirates! - A swashbuckling adventure for all ages with Captain Sandy Rogers and her rowdy crew (16 – 24 DEC), with further family shows as part of Dance Umbrella (24 OCT) and Akademi (26 OCT)

Programme of work this autumn at The Place

Touchwood: An evening of early ideas and experiments, on pandemic-related hiatus since 2019, has traditionally been the opener of the Autumn season at The Place and we are pleased to bring this staple back to the programme. Touchwood marks the end of Choreodrome, The Place’s annual programme of residencies and commissions, and offers audiences the chance to see what new ideas dance artists have been developing at The Place’s studios over the Summer. Across two evenings, eight dance makers will share their research in a series of short performances presented in our intimate studio theatre. Each evening ends with an invitation to share responses to the performances in facilitated feedback sessions. (5&6 SEP)

Touchwood is followed by a micro-season of exciting new works on our studio stage. The Revenge of Popperface by Gareth Chambers imagines the shadow-self or alter ego of the artist return from the dead, the puffed-up, blue-lipped embodiment of excessive amyl nitrate (poppers) consumption. The occult and the operatic throb together in this experimental exploration of masculinity and the crafting of personal mythologies through dance, mixed martial arts and boxing, working towards a subterranean crescendo, while bathed in the stretched song of French disco pioneer (and muse of Salvador Dali), Amanda Lear. (9 SEP)

Stimming by Susanne Dye is a collective encounter that explores how repetitive, sensory guided movement can offer comfort, oblivion, release and flow. Stimming, the scientific term for self-stimulatory behaviour, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, words or other repetitive behaviours, interpreted as a protective response to overstimulation and a way to relieve anxiety and other negative or heightened emotions.Stimmingasks how dance can create space for us all to connect with our need and desire for movement and extends an invitation to audiences to experience, on their own terms, an immersive world of rhythmic movement and sound. The performance is relaxed, and audiences are invited to spread out on the floor, nestle into bean bags or chair or even have a wiggle and shake alongside the artists. (12 SEP)

‘Stimming is in the form of a stellar system, at the core of neurodivergence and dancing.’(Dance Art Journal, 2022)

I’m Muslamic Don’t Panik by Bobak Champion is a joyful evening of dance theatre and an intimate spectacle of identity, where being British, Iranian, and a Hip-Hop head collide with spoken word dance, live music and clowning. From Bristol to the Tehran marathon and back again, Bobak invites audiences to join him on a journey to accept his own heritage, against a media culture which holds fast to the idea that the Middle East is a frightening and dangerous place. It’s through meeting a series of weird and wonderful characters from across the world that Bobak is finally able to truly know himself. (14 SEP)

Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest is a volunteer-run LGBTIQA+ film and arts festival rooted in London's queer creative scene, hosting a multitude of diverse events to tickle every one of the senses. censored pleasures + closeted desires promises an evening of sexy, sweaty live performance at The Place, bringing together four dancers and performance artists ready to delve into and feel their way through the expanses of queer desire in a choreographic orgy exploring the gritty exertion and full flamboyance . (21 SEP)

Emilyn Claid, queer dance artist in her 8th decade, returns to present emilyn claid, UNTITLED, her critically celebrated solo performance on the theme of transformation. Movement slides between erotic and monstrous, cruising and crumbling, pastiche and pathos, as Emilyn playfully embodies queering and ageing. Personal stories and self-directed choreography interweave with collaboratively devised material created with Heidi Rustgaard, Florence Peake and Joseph Mercer, exploring the intersection of movement and theatre, queer power and fragility and authenticity and fantasy. (23 SEP)

‘an eclectic piece that complements cool posturing with honest personality’ (Guardian)

Souls and Cells is a duet and collaboration between dance artists Akeim Toussaint Buck and Crystal Zillwood, who met while training in Leeds and whose passion for dance and connection has brought them together. Souls and Cells invites us to explore their respective heritages and to look for the unexpected interconnections. An invocation of maternal ancestors and land, this hypnotic duet weaves together stories, song and ritual, tapping into the body to find answers about what is universal and timeless. The crossing of heritages and stories in relation to human biology creates a dialogue between their differences and commonalities, inviting audiences to see their bodies and stories in a different way. (26 SEP)

LCDS alumna Solène Weinachter, well-known and loved by audiences for her work with Scottish Dance Theatre and Lost Dog, presents her first ever solo choreographic work After All, a celebration of our vulnerable and courageous existence – and how it inevitably ends. Although death comes to all of us, talking about it is often a taboo that can leave people holding their grief in isolation. Melding dance, comedy, storytelling, and theatre in a series of impassioned re-enactments of the funerals of those she’s loved - as well as imagining her own - Solène attempts to conjure a better sort of space, for all of us, to be with death, dying and loss. After All is a heartfelt exploration of the different death rituals we have; the ones we’ve lost and those that need invented, joyously bringing us together to explore the role that dancing might play in healing. (28 SEP)

4* ‘an eloquent storyteller with magnetic presence’ (North West End, Antigone Interrupted by Scottish Dance Theatre)

1 9 Monologue by cross-European performance art duo VestAndPage (Verena Stenke & Andrea Pagnes) is a work about tuberculosis and social contagion. While many in Europe consider it long eradicated, it remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide. Its social perception has changed fundamentally throughout the epochs: from the glorified malaise of the romantic Bohemian poets through the painful proletarian death during the industrial revolution to the antisocial illness of the lepers during National Socialism. Today it is considered the disease of the marginalized, the dependent and the destitute, hardly noticed by the common public. The personal experience of being a body home to pathogens flows into this autobiographical performance, while building a bridge between precise self-observation and a global, historical and literary outside. (30 SEP)

Can This Place be a Temple? is a multidisciplinary solo work by Akshay Sharma that explores the question of refuge and safety, touching on themes of race, gender, migration and nature by weaving together dance, text and music. Drawing upon personal experience and myth, the piece questions what the role of history and place is in shaping our deepest desires and fears. Born and brought up in India and based in London, Akshay Sharma’s relationship to the Indian form is through music which is integrated not just through voice but through the dramaturgy of the work, musical structures, scores, rhythms, textures and tempos. (3 OCT)

Change Tempo, Dance Umbrella’s international double-bill, returns for 2023 to introduce London to two artists whose transformational works blur the line between dance and visual art, challenging cultural biases. SU PinWen’s performance art piece Girl’s Notes interrogates notions of gender, drawing inspiration from the traditional views set out in a Taiwanese text which directs girls in the ‘correct’ way to be a woman. Featuring a live on-stage pianist, this captivating work explores the intentions behind our everyday actions. In Comme un symbole, French visual artist and choreographer Alexandre Fandard embodies the image of the marginalised youth, bursting onto the stage to portray a figure as despised as it is eroticised. The work subverts this stereotype in a way that is both deeply compelling and ultimately surprising. (6&7 OCT)

Lore is the newest production from award-winning dance company James Wilton Dance, a folklore inspired journey into a pagan world of gods, demons and humans, all embodied through the company’s trademark otherworldly athleticism. The original soundtrack by Michal Wojtas draws influence from Viking, Celtic and Slavic folk music, embodying the tales our ancestors told while sat in a clearing in the woods, hearing the ancient stories that bind humanity together. This duet about connection to nature will see its London premiere on 10&11 OCT.

It begins in darkness by another audience favourite, Seke Chimutengwende, returns to The Place after sell out performances last year. A dance full of ghosts, this stark, stripped back performance for five dancers creates an environment for processing the fear, anger and confusion which arise from the histories of slavery and colonialism that haunt the present.

Moving through mysterious and experimental rites of passage, as if to exorcise the haunted house of history, the dancers whisper, jump, wrestle, shiver, wail and laugh, filling the space with horrors, both real and imagined. (13&14 OCT)

Presented as a thought-provoking double-bill, The Place presents Aerowaves artists Pocketart (Sabina Bočková and Johana Pocková) paired with award winning performance artist Louise Orwin.

The Lion’s Den started as a performative research on media, political populism and their manipulative powers and resulted in an electrifying performance, combined with vivid live music, creating an atmosphere used (or sometimes abused) for powerful emotional pressure. With unique wit and humour, the two performers take on the of physical and visual language of people in the media, from politicians to news anchors. Balancing between entertainment and perversity, they shift between manipulating the audience to self-manipulation, oscillating between the roles of leaders and victims. The lion’s den, a symbolic abyss of uncertainty opens - who will fall prey?

FAMEHUNGRY by Louise Orwin is a nose-dive into the helter-skelter world of TikTok, The Algorithm and what it’s like to live your life online. Fusing dance, performance art, and real life TikTok stars, Louise Orwin explores fame, the future and the sneaking suspicion that social media is distracting us from the apocalypse.Made in collaboration with a famous TikToker,, Louise Orwin, asks what a future might look like if all roads lead to TikTok. (17 OCT)

Roshni (from the Persian word meaning light or brilliance) is a beautifully intimate crafting of dance and live music, transporting and uplifting the audience on a journey of joy. When everything around us can feel full of pessimism and doubt, Roshni provides us with a ray of light, to put a spring in our step and a warmth in our hearts. World-class artists Sonia Sabri and Sarvar Sabri, alongside an ensemble of skilled musicians, take us on a path to repair and heal, with a captivating combination of Kathak dance, driven by the bold rhythms of Tabla percussion. (19 OCT)

Home from Home brings together 50 dancers over 50 to present a showcase that celebrates the talent and creativity of older dancers. Dancers from EncoreEast, Cadenza, The Place and Damn Fine Dance have devised new work in collaboration with leading choreographers Alethia Antonia, Laura Anderson, Alleyne Dance, Molly Wright and Luke Birch. Under the creative direction of renowned choreographer Luca Silvestrini (Protein Dance), Home from Home explores what dance means to each of the participants. In creating Home from Home, EncoreEast has fostered and developed partnerships between four companies of older dancers and three venues, generating new creative collaborations and exchanges and increasing the visibility of older people dancing. (21 OCT)

This year’s Dance Umbrella family show Skydiver explores the dream-like world that waits above us in this multi-sensory dance experience for under 5’s that soars through the fluffy clouds where flocks of birds and butterflies flutter. Greek dance artist and dramaturg Xenia Aidonopoulou makes visually compelling dance-theatre works filled with wonder and imagination that will captivate even the youngest audience members, and Skydiver is no exception bringing together movement, sound and stunning visuals for an enchanting encounter in the skies. (24 OCT)

Akademi, the beating heart of South Asian dance in the UK, are inviting children from 7+ to explore humanity's complex relationship with plastics, the possibilities they offer, as well as the consequences to the environment in their family show Plastic Drastic Fantastic. What is Plastic... is it friend or foe? Remarkable or rubbish? Helpful or harmful? Drawing from the Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam and South Asian dance techniques, the artists investigate plastics and the dangers of their misuse through intricate movement, gestures and play, infused with interaction with the audience. Created in consultation with material scientists at UCL and steered by children and young people, who are at the heart of the research for this work, this is a vibrant, fun and thought-provoking show for our time. (26 OCT)

Northern Rascals’ brand-new dance-theatre show SHED uses visual art, spoken word and dance to raise awareness of the mental health issues many young people face. Performed by a cast of four skilled dancers in a pop-up structure, SHED invites its audience to stand outside and look in. Real-life experiences are told in a series of three shorts, each giving a different insight into the stories that make us. in an engaging, ultimately uplifting, beautifully written and choreographed portrait of confused emotions, love and loss and the essential humanity that resides in us all. (28 OCT)

Aunusthan by Pagrav Dance Company creates a world of abstracted relationships, interweaved complex patterns, rigorous choreography, virtuosic performance and riotous rhythms in a celebration of neo-classical Indian dance and music. Portraying the multi-faceted nature of the north-Indian classical dance style Kathak, Aunusthan takes the audience on a vibrant journey through infectious rhythm and dance. Featuring a cast of talented British Asian dance artists who have trained with Pagrav Dance Company, Aunusthan also showcases the bright future of Kathak in the UK, as these talented performers bring their passion and creativity to every moment of the show, creating an unforgettable experience for all. (4 NOV)

Mark of a Woman is a new live performance project by Work Place Artist Chisato Minamimura, celebrating and exploring personal histories and authentic accounts of the undertold relationships between women and tattooing cultures. This is an exciting, accessible new exploration into women's social, cultural and historical relationships to body marking using Visual Vernacular, digital animation, kinetic projection and Woojer™ technology, a wearable tech that translates sound into haptic bodily sensation, lately used in gaming and VR. (7 NOV)

Named ‘Best Dance Production’ by the Black British Theatre Awards and ‘Best Dance Programming’ by One Dance UK, Afro Dance Xplosion celebrates movement traditions from the continent of Africa and its Diaspora. Ancestral Rhythms opens with a performance showcase of invocative choreographies from some of London’s local talent and an illustrious cadre of international artists including Iris Debrito (Portugal), C. Kemal Nance (USA), Irineu Nogeria (Brazil), and Merlin Nyakam (Cameroon). (10 NOV)

Winner of the Asian Arts Award 2018, cutting edge choreographer Dam Van Huynh draws upon the words of writers, poets, and activists as an awakening to his displaced experience as a child refugee from the Vietnam war. Moving from a state of disorientation into a state of consciousness, Re:birth retraces a personal experience of rediscovery. The performance unravels a recollection of visual impressions and sensations, a memory book whose pictures and stories long forgotten begin to resurface, a distortion between memories and dreams. Movement responds to a field of light, sound and voice to illude the senses. (14 NOV)

This December, it’s all on board for Scottish Dance Theatre’s new family show: Pirates!

Featuring a playful mix of dance, theatre and storytelling, best friends Tom and Daisy are swept away into the world of Captain Sandy Rogers and her rowdy crew! Together, they will go on a swashbuckling adventure featuring a bunch of slippery zombies, strange underwater creatures and a final, all-out duel with the wicked Captain O’Greed! In this story about identity and friendship not everything is what it seems, and the biggest treasure in the world could be right under your nose... Pirates! is the latest creation of Scottish Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Joan Clevillé. (16-24 DEC)

Elsewhere in the season, the much-loved annual youth dance showcase Fresh returns, postgraduate and undergraduate students from London Contemporary Dance School will present their Collaborations, andThe Dance Studies Association (DSA) an international organization of dance scholars, educators, and artists will hold their annual symposium at The Place. Under the title New mobilities "on the turn"? members will explore the concept of mobility during lockdowns and Brexit, and its impact on travel, disability and social mobility.