Previews: The Place Prize For Dance 2006, Robin Howard Theatre, London

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Twenty dance pieces have been commissioned to compete for this year's The Place Prize for Dance, judged by a panel that includes Brian Eno and Chris Ofili. The £25,000 award - the largest of its kind in Europe and regarded as the British choreography Oscars - was created by the contemporary dance centre in 2004. Each choreographer received a commission award of £5,000 and was given studio time to create the works.

Jonathan Lunn's Self Assembly is performed to a text by Anthony Minghella; Disgo by Fleur Darkin has been created by interviewing people in nightclubs; and Nina Rajarani's Quick uses four male bharatanatyam dancers (a very fast dance form from southern India). Mark Bruce's duet Bad History is performed to the music of The Doors, while Alex Broadie has created All End in Tears, about two bored boys in a room; it features much tumbling about.

Louise Katerega's A State of Becoming, inspired by Theodore Gericault's painting The Raft of Medusa and featuring able-bodied and disabled dancers, stars a former builder. Tom Clark turned to dancing after becoming a wheelchair user at 47, when he fell through a floor and injured his spinal cord. He uses his upper body to dance from his chair, and does some floor work. "I watch a lower-body dance movement and I translate it to a different part of my body, using the same core principles," Clark says.

He was one of the first disabled students to achieve an HND in dance from the groundbreaking course at New Vic Sixth Form College in conjunction with University of East London. Now Clark teaches dance to children with disabilities at the Laban Centre. He recently choreographed Coupledom, which was selected for Resolution! at The Place, a showcase for new choreographers, in January.

"I am a role model for young people who are disabled who want to dance," he says. "If I can do it at my age, anyone can."

13-16 September; semi-final performances: 20-30 September; final performances (020-7121 1100; www.theplace.org.uk)

Comments