You might not have noticed a string of sweaty, tracksuited dancers that slip down a side path off Euston Road each day. Earphones in and heads down, they’re heading for The Place. It sounds painfullly cryptic, but this seemingly modest building, tucked away behind the Premier Inn, is a real magnet for contemporary dance artists in London.
A creative powerhouse, the site is home to London Contemporary Dance School, the Richard Alston Dance Company and has its own 280 seat theatre that showcases experimental performances by students and professionals.
The studios are a sanctuary of space away from the hedonistic happenings elsewhere in King’s Cross. Each floor of the building seems to emanate a different personality: an African drumbeat seeps from Studio One where baggy-clothed students hurl themselves onto the floor, roll and gallop through the space, whilst twinkling classical piano lulls the ears on the fourth floor. The dancers there lengthen their spines, stand tall, and turn their legs and feet outwards.Throughout the corridors, there’s laughter, stretching, and sit-ups. It’s a welcoming, unpretentious community of teachers, students, choreographers, and musicians. The Place oozes creativity, energy, and damn hard work.
You don’t need to be Darcey Bussell or Isabella Duncan to take to the floor here, either. While the venue specialises in contemporary dance, there’s a plethora of dance styles to choose from. And if you’re on a ‘new year new you’ tip (as some of you must still be), there are classes for all levels: from beginner to professional, with specific drop-ins for teens or the over-60s.
New to dance and fancy improving your posture and co-ordination? Try Denzil Bailey’s ‘Ballet Level 1’; it’s lively and lighthearted, and he has an excellent talent for making everyone feel at ease whilst simultaneously throwing complicated, challenging exercises at them (Thursdays, 6.30pm).This month saw the return of the annual Resolution Dance Festival: in its 29th year, it’s the UK’s largest event for emerging choreographers and dancers. 81 artists are involved in this year’s bash, now running till the end of February.
Highlights include dance theatre duet Dystopia (2nd Feb), which looks at our human need for belonging, and B-Hybrid Dance (23rd Feb), who bring an exploration of gay culture and gender prejudice with their choreography Masc 4 Marginalisation. Athletic and vibrant, expect impressive floor work and explosive movements.
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