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New centre for choreography at DanceEast

Posted on June 24, 2011

DanceEast at the Jerwood DanceHouse has launched a new National Centre for Choreography, a research and development initiative that allows experienced choreographers to experiment freely with other artists, without the pressures of producing a final product.


The National Centre for Choreography (NCC) will offer choreographers specially tailored opportunities to explore their craft in a “LAB” environment, with mentors, dancers, choreographers and guests from a range of other art forms. Each LAB is an intensive two-week period (three over 18 months) to explore movement, with full production facilities in the Jerwood DanceHouse. Choreographers will take part by invitation.


The first three LABS are supported by Arts Council England and The Linbury Trust. English National Ballet has become a partner organisation for the centre, and will provide dancers for each LAB. Other partners and a full list of artistic advisors will be announced soon.


The programme is designed to support choreographers at different stages of their careers. The National Centre for Choreography will be international in its approach and range of participants and collaborators. It is designed for choreographers who have demonstrated an individual voice, with a proven track record.


Assis Carreiro, DanceEast’s artistic director, has spent more than two years developing the NCC concept: “The dance community still speaks with great fondness of the Gulbenkian Course for Choreographers, and there has remained a gap in provision since it wound down. The National Centre for Choreography is very much a new initiative, designed to meet the needs of today’s choreographers and to support choreographic research and push beyond its comfort zone. The onus is not on the creation of new work for production, though this may in some cases be a natural outcome, but rather on focused, in-depth research and experimentation that challenges preconceived notions, takes risks, and probes more deeply into choreographic invention and collaboration through practice and dialogue.”


Craig Hassall, managing director of English National Ballet, said: “English National Ballet is delighted to be a partner with DanceEast in the creation of the National Centre for Choreography at the Jerwood DanceHouse.” For a national touring company such as ENB, such initiatives are “not only a creative way in which we can fulfil our aspirations for a presence around England, but more importantly, this is a vehicle to inspire choreographers, dancers and – ultimately – audiences. Well done DanceEast!”

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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