News: And the winner is..

Monday 29 September 2008

Adam Linder, a 25 year old former Royal Ballet dancer won the £25,000 Place Prize on Saturday night. John Ashford, Theatre Director of The Place, Chair of the panel of judges and creator of the biennial prize, said: “If this year we have a ‘shock’ winner, it is thanks to The Place Prize creating a level playing field for new choreographic voices to compete with their more established counterparts. The judges have chosen Adam’s work as the best from a rich and diverse field of 20 commissioned pieces, and just may have discovered a new dance star.”

The judges decision was at odds with those of the audiences for the ten nights performances of the final bill. Dam Van Huynh won the audience vote every night, consequently bagging £10,000. This is the first time that that audiences have been so unanimous in the three years that the competition has run. In 2004 the audience vote over ten performances was split evenly between Rafael Bonachela and Hofesh Shechter – with Bonachela winning the Final Prize. In 2006 Nina Rajarani, the outright winner won the audience vote four times, with three other competitors winning on other evenings. This year Aletta Collins, Simon Ellis and Anna Williams were left out of the prize money loop.

Introducing the final announcement on Saturday the originator of the Place Prize, John Ashford, made the surprising comment that he found the whole notion of the competition ‘ridiculous’, before handing over to another of the judges, Jenny Waldman, to reveal the winner.

She suggested that there had been lively debate amongst the judges, who were drawn from across art forms and professions. Apart from John Ashford, who chaired the panel, only one other member, choreographer Kenneth Kvarnström, came from a dance background. Other members were Lemn Sissay, Poet in Residence at Southbank Centre; architect John Pawson, who designed the set for The Royal Ballet’s Chroma, choreographed by Wayne McGregor; Kathleen Soriano, curator and gallery director, who has been Head of Exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery and is about to become Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts and Jenny Waldman, events producer and consultant, who programmes public events at Somerset House, ranging from films to rock concerts to ice-skating.

Foie Gras is only the third professional work Australian-born Linder has created for the stage. The duet, which he performed with dancer Lorena Randi, “parodies an evolution from galumphing sub-human animals, to mincing catwalk models, to self-obsessed pole dancers.”

Linder began his career as a dancer with The Royal Ballet, before he says, he “just got bored with it” and began working with contemporary dance choreographers including Michael Clark and former Place Prize winner Rafael Bonachela.

The next chance to Adam Linder is at Siobhan Davies Studios on Saturday 4 October, when he’ll be performing _The Perfect Sco_re as part of an Open Space evening, organised by by International Workshop Festival. More details

www.placeprize.com

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