Interview: Eddie Nixon, The Place [BDE 2012]

Monday 30 January 2012

Eddie Nixon. Photo: Benedict Johnson

Eddie Nixon is Theatre Director of The Place, a pioneering centre for contemporary dance for over 40 years and home to London Contemporary Dance School, Richard Alston Dance Company and the Robin Howard Dance Theatre. A former dancer with companies including New Adventures and The Featherstonehaughs, Eddie took over as Theatre Director in 2009.

The Place and Southbank Centre started the British Dance platform 20 years ago and so it feels really important to bring it back as British Dance Edition to London this year – we’re one of the organisations who pitched the idea to the National Dance Network. Geographically it made a lot of sense that The Place would become a hub for the delegates – they’ll all be staying around here, meeting here most mornings, and lots of the performances are happening here.

“As The Place is in Central London, it’s a focus for people from all over London to come to dance. There are lots of local people who live and work locally coming here to watch or join in, but people come from every postcode, every corner of the city. I think we’d also consider The Place as a home for a lot of dance artists and even audiences. People feel a real attachment to what we’re doing and the help that they can get here, and that’s how we like it to be.

The Place Prize is one of our big projects. Quite a few of the people performing in British Dance Edition are former finalists [ Hofesh Shechter, Frauke Requardt, Tom Roden & Pete Shenton ] and there’s a winner as part of the programme as well [ Lost Dog’s It Needs Horses ]. And so I think it contributes quite a lot to the dance scene and to BDE over the past few years in terms of programming artists – and we feel proud of it.

“Because dance is relatively well-supported here with training and infrastructure, a lot of dancers and choreographers gravitate towards London from all over the world. That means it’s a really rich and diverse community of artists. Because London is also a very diverse city the breadth of the kind of work that’s happening here is really wide and rich, and there’s always someone new turning up to come and say hello or to join in. So in that sense it’s one of the dance capitals of the world and especially of Europe, along with Paris and Brussels.

“For me what I love about London particularly is that it’s such a mishmash of history and modernity. Whilst it’s a really contemporary city and there’s loads of invention and originality, I also love the fact that you’re almost constantly surrounded by history and it surprises you at every turn as you’re moving around the city. I’m always stumbling across a pub, or a building, or a church, or a person that has this incredible history that you didn’t quite know about before. I love that about it as a city, it’s full of surprises. And everyone should take a boat down the river, it’s the view of London that lots of people miss out on!”

Interview: Lise Smith

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