News: Bonnie Bird awards for choreographers announced

Friday 25 November 2011

Lea Anderson with Ben Duke

Ben Duke, choreographer, performer and one half of Place Prize winning duo Lost Dog, is the recipient of the first Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund New Choreography Award for established choreographers.

The award (£10,000) was announced at the Riverside Studios on Wednesday (23 November) and presented to Ben by Lea Anderson, Artistic Director of The Cholmondeleys & The Featherstonehaughs – at the venue for the final London performances of her company and a former winner of the Bonnie Bird Award herself. Ben is delighted with the award: “It provides me with a unique opportunity to research and to experiment deeply and to fail. I think the best work is often found somewhere in the mistakes and it is hard to find the courage to head into something which might fail spectacularly when you only have five weeks to put on a show. I am grateful and excited by the time and space this award gives me away from that pressure and the chance it provides to improve my understanding of choreography.”

Ben was chosen by the Trustees and Advisers of the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund following an open application process, which attracted more than 40 experienced choreographers from across England. This Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award is being made from 2011 onwards to a single outstanding choreographer with at least five years’ professional experience. As well as the £10,000 bursary the winner receives regular support from Chris Fogg, an experienced Creative Producer, in shaping a programme of research and development during the period of the award, as well as access to the experience and expertise of the BBCF Board of Trustees and Advisors. Chris was until recently the Creative Producer of the Associate Artists Programme for South East Dance, who are also supporting this new initiative.

The recipients of the Marion North Mentoring Scheme for 2011 are Tony Adigun – founder and director of Avant Garde Dance Company and Eva Recacha – Place Prize 2011 Finalist, dancer (with Frauke Requardt and Lost Dog amongst others) and lecturer at London Contemporary Dance School . Both Tony and Eva are currently Work Place artists supported by The Place. From now on the BBCF will be working in partnership with The Place, who will support these two emerging choreographers and match the Marion North Mentoring Award. Each mentor receives £1,000, who will then work closely with the two award winners during the coming year to support them in the development of their choreographic practice. Keren Kossow of The Place says: “We believe that both artists have shown exceptional talent at crafting and creating choreography and firmly believe that with the right support and creative environment around them they will be leading voices for dance in the UK in the future.”

The Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund (BBCF) was established in 1985 to support emerging choreographers. Although an independent body, their history has been closely linked with that of Trinity Laban through Bonnie Bird’s deep commitment to her work there during the last 21 years of her life. The BBCF has given financial support to over 45 writers and choreographers, as well as providing commissions, research and other practical projects.

The Marion North Mentoring Scheme is named in recognition of the outstanding contribution made to dance by Dr Marion North, who enjoyed a long association with Bonnie Bird herself. Marion North held the position of Principal and Chief Executive of the Laban Centre from 1972 to 2003, during which time the Centre became one of Europe’s leading institutions for dance artist training.

What’s On