Five Finalists for The Place Prize for Dance 2006 Unveiled
· Stunning choreographic talent, with a range of traditions including integrated, classical Asian and conceptual dance forms
· Choreographers from a diverse range of backgrounds, from Italy, to India and to Ghana
· Contributors include Anthony Minghella and leading Indian musician Y Yadavan
· Covers contemporary subjects as diverse as flat pack furniture, the pace of today's business world and the quest for the body beautiful
The five choreographers selected to go through to the final stages of Europe's largest and most prestigious choreography prize, The Place Prize for Dance, sponsored by Bloomberg, are revealed today. Jonathan Lunn, Freddie Opoku Addaie, Nina Rajarani, Luca Silvestrini and Lucy Suggate will each go forward to compete for the £25,000 prize.
The biennial Place Prize was created by The Place in 2004, and takes place for the second time in 2006. The Place is the UK's premier centre for contemporary dance, uniting training, creation and performance in one unique building. Over 500 dance works are made in Britain every year, which are not always particularly visible to the general public. By creating 20 new works, all with a life-span beyond the prize itself, The Place Prize aims to bring new choreographic talent in the UK the recognition it deserves.
The judging panel for The Place Prize is chaired by John Ashford, Theatre Director of The Place, and comprises Robyn Archer, performance artist and festival director; Guy Cools, dance dramaturg and producer; Brian Eno, musician, producer, artist and author; Rose Fenton, independent arts producer and co-founder of LIFT; and Chris Ofili, artist.
In May 2006, twenty of the hottest contemporary choreographers working in dance today were selected to compete for The Place Prize. Their works have been performed to packed audiences and the judging panel throughout September at The Place in London.
The Place Prize finalists were selected by an unusual combination of audience participation and judging panel expertise. The semi-finals took place between Wednesday 13 and Saturday 16 September. Over these four days, each of the 20 pieces were performed only once ? just one chance to impress the audience and the panel. The judges selected four works to go through to the finals and the best piece as voted for by the audience brought the total number of finalists to five.
The competition's five outstanding pieces will be performed together in a mixed bill of the finest new British choreography. These final performances take place between Wednesday 20 September and Saturday 30 September. Each night, the audience will choose its favourite piece, with the winner that night winning a £1000 prize. After the final performance on the Saturday night, the judges will announce the winner of the £25,000 Place Prize, sponsored by Bloomberg.
"The judges were unanimous in their decisions. We were all impressed with the high standard of dancing and production throughout." Comments John Ashford, Chair of the Judges and Theatre Director of The Place.
About the five semi-finalists:
Jonathan Lunn Self Assembly
Danced to a script by Anthony Minghella, a witty duet about how to make a relationship work, following flat pack instructions.
Judges comment: "A jewelled mechanism, its perfection relying on the pieces never quite fitting together."
Lunn, 51, has been nominated for the Olivier Awards twice. He was a dancer and choreographer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and has had a successful career working in dance and opera.
Freddie Opoku Addaie Silence Speaks Volumes
Five dancers using movement to convey what words cannot. An incredibly eclectic cast, including dancers from Italy, Ghana and Korea, bring a mix of styles and influences to the piece.
Judges comment: "An awkward originality and determined ambiguity surprised us into wanting to see the piece again."
Freddie, 26, is formerly a member of The Place's youth dance company Shift and a graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School. He is an emerging choreographic talent, whose work was last seen at The Place?s White Christmas season. Born in London, he spent many of his formative years in Ghana.
Nina Rajarani, QUICK!
Dancers and musicians in business dress convey the hurly burly of modern commerce using the classical Indian form Bharatanatyam.
Judges comment: "A work of unstoppable energy that places Bharatanatyam firmly in the world of London business."
Thirty-six-year-old Nina Rajarani is one of the UK's most accomplished Bharatanatyam artists, who combines touring with her company Shristi with teaching classical Indian dance in Southern England.
Luca Silvestrini B for Body
This finalist was selected by the audience, with an average "star" rating of 3.98 (out of five), the highest of the 20 pieces presented
A satire of gym culture, in which a woman struggles to live up to the ideal of perfection embodied by two physically perfect men, who dance the piece with her.
Judges comment: "We fully endorse the audience's choice. Very good choreography disguised by humour."
Luca (39) is Artistic Director of Protein Dance. He is holder of the World Record for the largest dance class ever, with 8,000 people having taken part in his class for Big Dance in July 2006.
Lucy Suggate Postcard
Explores the differences of the experience of going on a day trip to the seaside for an able-bodied couple and a man without legs.
Judges comment: "Carefully layered material, donkeys, pink Lycra and white fun-fur offer some answers to the questions that are usually silent."
Twenty-eight-year-old Lucy Suggate is based in Leeds and is building a body of political and humourous work around issues of disability.
The Place: Robin Howard Dance Theatre,
17 Duke's Road, London WC1H 9PY
Finals 20-30 September 2006 (not Sunday 24)
All performances are at 8pm
Box office: 020 7121 1100
Book online: www.theplaceprize.com
Tickets: £5 - £15 (no booking fee)
Nearest tube: Euston