Spring Loaded at The Place

The Place Vera Tussing (photo by Chris Nash)

Spring Loaded is a season of work specially curated by The Place which is jam-packed with ideas about contemporary dance and movement based performance that challenge boundaries and preconceptions about what dance is.

With 3 premieres,  17 nights and 24 choreographers the programme showcases a diverse mix of UK and international dance makers.

Each choreographer has been chosen because they are established in their practice, they are at the point in their career where they are making vital, exciting and valuable work. They are making work that demands to be seen.

Some of the shows are funny, some use words, there is loud music and film incorporated in others. Some of the shows have lots of dancing and some have a lot less, the ideas explored range from the everyday to the esoteric.  From dealing with everyday superstitions, mass group behaviour, or the desire to survive despite the fragility of life, to how we interact with technology and express our cultural inheritance these shows all have one thing in common, and that is; they are where dance is going next.

“We watch a lot of performance and we are convinced that these people and these projects are the most exciting, new things out there. They might be people you’ve not have heard of yet. This is about the future of dance, to help both the artists and audiences make that journey away from things they are familiar with. Spring Loaded is the arena where brilliant artists of the next decade can showcase their work.” Eddie Nixon, Theatre and Artist Development Director, The Place.


The season opens with a world premiere of Easy Rider by Work Place artist Eva Recacha (Fri 25 Apr).This brand new piece looks at the human compulsion to engage with superstitious beliefs and practices in the pursuit of happiness. Recacha draws on first-hand observations of ritualistic behaviour in her native Spain such as reading horoscopes and self-help manuals, to old wives tales and religion. Much like her Place Prize Finals 2013 piece, Easy Rider is stripped down of all superfluous elements to unravel the pure essence of our need to belong. It reflects our own beliefs in a raw, haunting and nonjudgmental way.

Southpaw Dance Company (Tue 29 Apr) present a double-bill of work. Based in the North East of England choreographer and dance artist Robby Graham combines Bboying, contemporary technique and contact practices in a brand new movement style. Riots is inspired by protests against rising social unrest around the world and is a short and high energy piece. Men on a Mission is an insight to the cliques and artificial glamour associated with recreational drugs. Graham’s choreography touches on the false confidence, frenzied highs and paranoiac tendencies. He describes the piece as “Trainspotting… if Quentin Tarantino directed it”.


The season continues with a subtle and entrancing new piece by Vera Tussing (Wed 7 May) who is also a Work Place artist. In T-Dance four dancers, connected by wooden poles held in place only by physical tension, form a ‘moving sculpture’. The ever present threat of collapse should one person lose focus, has the effect of drawing in the audience and invites empathy with the experience on stage. T-Dance explores our need to touch, be touched and the cause and effect of physical connections.

British choreographer and rising star James Wilton (Sat 10 May), who created a piece for the Rugby League World Cup 2013, presents his brand new Last Man Standing. The piece focuses on human behaviour when facing danger; how we cope with life’s fragility and the desire to survive. Wilton explores the emotions of fear, anger and determination as ways to respond to these universal elements of the human existence.  Driven by unparalleled energy and athleticism, Wilton’s blends martial arts, break dancing and capoeira to create raw and ground-breaking choreography for his cast of six world class dancers.

Joe Moran | Dance Art Foundation (Tue 13 May) present Assembly, a triple bill of distinct and contrasting works by choreographed by Moran. Decommission, a compelling new solo performed by Moran, is a lively experiment in intimacy and risk. Commissioned for The Place Prize for dance sponsored by Bloomberg 2012, Obverse pursues formalism in choreography. For Moran’s third work, masculinity comes under inspection to complete the Assembly line up. Each work tackles full bodied dancing and critical thinking. Together they make an arresting evening of dance and discourse driven by movement and flickering with ideas.

Sometimes intense, sometimes delightfully funny, Work Place artists Igor and Moreno (Thu 15 & Fri 16 May) present their new work Idiot-Syncrasy. Igor and Moreno call on their folk Sardinian and Basque tradition to create a contemporary take on what most of ancient dances share: jumping for empowerment and happiness. On stage the two performers use repetitive movement to highlight a sense of unity but also to reveal subtle differences. Idiot-Syncrasy is a quirky piece exploring the importance of commitment to a cause and perseverance in trying to change the world despite sometimes feeling like idiots for attempting it.

In a triple-bill which includes premiere, Mamoru Iriguchi (Wed 28 May) introduces his visually quirky and surrealistically humorous work that playfully references choreography, imagery of the body and our interaction with technology. Projector/Conjector is a Swan-Lake-inspired love duet between performers with a TV and a projector attached to their heads. One Man Show (a Place Prize commission), features a solo performer and his digital doppelgängers. GRAFT is a brand new piece that has been specially commissioned by The Place for Spring Loaded 2014 and is shown for the first time tonight. GRAFT explores the shifting landscape of body and space through displacement of body parts Mamoru Iriguchi is an Artsadmin Associate Artist 2012-14 and winner of Best Design, Evening standard Theatre Awards.

Nestled within Spring Loaded is the Trailblazers Showcase – Exposure (Sat 31 May). This mixed bill presents a range of performances incorporating film, installation, abstract choreography, dancehall, reggae and Guinean dance theatre with live music by ADAD’s 2013-14 Trailblazing artists Idrissa Camara, Cindy Claes, Cleo Lake, Kenzi Ireland and Denise Rowe.  Co-curated by Trailblazer Champions Denise Rowe and Vicki Igbokwe the evening offers a tour through the far reaches of African diaspora dance as it is being explored and expressed today. ADAD is a national organisation that supports the practice and appreciation of dance of the African Diaspora.


The final month of Spring Loaded gets off to a flying start with a night by Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere (Wed 4 Jun). Born in France and now based in the Midlands in the UK, choreographer and bboy Marso joins forces with two exceptional talents; acclaimed choreographer, actor and dancer Guy Nader, and extraordinary performer and choreographer Salah El Brogy (who has been at The Place as part of Protein’s Border Tales). Together they have co-created two brand new duets; In Match Guy Nader and Marso construct a visually breathtaking place where destruction and renewal, devastation and beauty are never far apart.  Salah El Brogy and Marso present Halfway to The Other Side; part spiritual journey, part absurd reflection on our human tendency to repeat, replicate, endlessly circle through life and turn time on its head.

Six extraordinary dancers from the Hofesh Shechter Company become choreographers in this third incarnation of In Good Company (Fri 6 Jun). Brimming with maverick spirit and irrepressible talent they have created five new and very different dance pieces and one extraordinary film, especially for this Spring Loaded project. The dancers, hailing from the UK, France, Holland, Egypt and Germany are currently touring in Shechter’s work worldwide, and have been given carte blanche to find their own unique choreographic voices. This year In Good Company choreographers are: Maëva Berthelot, Sam Coren, Frédéric Despierre, Bruno Guillore, Kim Kohlman, Sita Ostheimer

French born choreographer Philippe Blanchard (Tue 10 Jun) together with Italian filmmaker twins Luca and Gabriele Stifani have created a thought provoking installation piece This is that. Together they question discrepancies between what we see and how we interpret images and appearances.  This is a stripped-down, highly entertaining and witty performance that is as much spoken dance as danced dance.

HIDE delves under the skin of its creators and audiences. Deborah Light (Fri 13 Jun) layers movement, image, sound and text to put the multiplicity of human nature into question. It does this by blurring the boundaries between autobiography and fiction, between the performance on stage and reality. A cast of three outstanding female dancers Jo Fong (Rosas, DV8), Eddie Ladd (Volcano, Brith Gof) and Rosalind Hâf Brooks (Earthfall) are brought together in a stark environment to create a visceral performance that is bold and intimate.

The final show of the season is a dramatic three-screen cinematic dance event called Witness which has been created by Jo Fong (Sat 14Jun). The piece crosses art forms and explores the themes of portraiture and the representation of women in art, dance, and the line between performance and reality. Witness’ driving force is movement, as the audience follow the three dancers in the making of their personal choreographic portraits.


Fri 25   Eva Recacha (premiere)

Sat 26   Eva Recacha

Tue 29 Southpaw Dance Company


Wed 7 Vera Tussing

Thu 8   Vera Tussing

Sat 10 James Wilton Dance

Tue 13 Joe Moran

Thu 15 Igor and Moreno

Fri 16  Igor and Moreno

Wed 28 Mamoru Iriguchi (includes a premiere)

Sat 31  Association of Dance of the African Diaspora


Wed 4 Mickael Marso Riviere

Fri 6  Hofesh Shechter Company presents In Good Company (premiere)

Sat 7  Hofesh Shechter Company presents In Good Company

Tue 10 Philippe Blanchard

Fri 13  Deborah Light

Sat 14 Jo Fong

How to book:

The Place

17 Duke’s Road, London WC1H 9PY

Booking: www.theplace.org.uk/ 020 7121 1100

(Mon-Sat, 10.30am-7pm, 10.30am-6pm on evenings with no performances)

Prices: £15 (conc. £12), except Jo Fong £9 (conc. £6)

Ticket offer:  By booking for two shows in the Spring Loaded season you get one of your tickets half-price.