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The Place is a dance and performance centre in Duke's Road near Euston in the London Borough of Camden. Originally the home base of the London Contemporary Dance Theatre from the 1970s, it is now the location of the London Contemporary Dance School, the Richard Alston Dance Company and the Robin Howard Dance Theatre.
Converted from a Grade-II listed Victorian drill hall built in 1888/9 for the Artists Rifles, The Place became the permanent home of the Contemporary Dance Trust in 1969. Since then, under the auspices of its founder Robin Howard, its first artistic director Robert Cohan, and subsequent directors Richard Alston, John Ashford, and Robert North it has led the way in the development of contemporary dance in the UK. Virtually all of the major British contemporary dance artists to have emerged in the past 40 years have been associated with The Place at some stage in their careers, and its contribution to the popularity of contemporary dance in Britain today is hard to overstate.
Between 1999 and 2001, a major redevelopment programme principally funded by the National Lottery refurbished The Place's original building and replaced a decaying studio block added in 1978 with six new state-of-the-art dance studios designed by architects Allies and Morrison. Then in Spring/Summer 2008, two brand new dance studios were opened at the top of the building, called 'The Weston Studio' (studio 9) and 'The Monument Studio' (studio 10) providing the students, faculty and community with more space to rehearse and make work. The Place now has 11 fully functioning studios, ten in the Flaxmans Terrace side of the building and The Founders Studios on the Duke's Road side.
From 2004-2013 Bloomberg L.P. sponsored The Place Prize a large contemporary choreography competition. With a commission, free studio space, nightly prizes of £1,000, and first prize winning £25,000 the competition was extremely successful in launching choreographers into the mainstream of the dance world. In September 2007, Kenneth Tharp OBE took up the new position of Chief Executive of The Place. Tharp stepped down in 2016 and was replaced by an interim chief executive: Steven Browning.
The Place's work today continues to focus on developing dance artists at different stages of their careers. This work is most visible through the touring of the dance company of it Artistic Director, Richard Alston, founded in 1994, and whose company perform regularly at Sadler's Wells and in 2006 complete their first tour of the USA. The Place's 'Robin Howard Dance Theatre', so named in honour of their founder in 2001, premieres more dance than any other venue in the country. It is seen as a hotbed of experimentation, where emerging dancers and dance-makers from the UK and abroad first come to national attention, while more established artists use the space to develop and show experimental works. The theatre also hosts its annual 'Resolution' festival every spring showcasing around 80 new works from emerging artists.
Among work less visible to the general public, London Contemporary Dance School is recognised as one of the world's leading dance conservatoires, providing full-time vocational training to around 170 students to degree and postgraduate level. Through founding in 2001 with RADA the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, London Contemporary Dance School became the first dance school to provide funding for its students which compares to that for students of other disciplines in the UK. Founded to support the work of London Contemporary Dance Theatre the school now produces many of the leading dancers, choreographers, and educators in the UK and abroad. Notable alumni include Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Jonzi D, James Cousins.
The Place also organises community work to address the needs of local people, including those who are disadvantaged or may feel excluded, and runs a popular programme of evening and weekend classes where enthusiasts of all ages and abilities have the chance to learn from some of the artform's most accomplished practitioners.
- Good Stuff (1997-08-01). "The Place and Attached Railings - Camden - Greater London - England". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2016-12-14.