News: The Place celebrates Robert Cohan at 80

Friday 11 March 2005

The Place is planning two special events in May to mark the eightieth birthday of its founding Artistic Director. Robert Cohan CBE is a key figure in the development of British dance. American by birth, he was a celebrated dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York when he was invited by Robin Howard to become the Founder Artistic Director of The Place in 1967.

Over the next twenty years he pioneered the teaching and performance of contemporary dance in this country, establishing London Contemporary Dance School and London Contemporary Dance Theatre. He still remains closely associated with The Place, serving on its board of governors.

A generation of British dance artists has grown up under his tutelage, including Richard Alston, Cohan’s successor as The Place’s Artistic Director and Darshan Singh Bhuller, Artistic Director of Phoenis Dance Theatre.

The centrepiece of the celebrations will be a one-off performance at Sadler’s Wells on Monday 9 May at 7.30pm. More details/online booking*.* The programme includes three pieces of Cohan’s choreography originally created during his time at The Place: Forest (1977) performed by Phoenix Dance Theatre, Stabat Mater (1975) performed by Ballet Theatre Munich and, especially revived for this performance, Eclipse (1967) performed by Richard Alston Dance Company. Cohan will also be appearing onstage, discussing his life and work with Richard Alston.

On Sunday 8 May, The Place is hosting a study day for those keen to learn more about Cohan’s style and influence. Aimed at today’s generation of dancers and dance students who have not had the opportunity to experience Cohan’s legendary dance teaching first-hand, the day will feature film screenings, a panel discussion and the opportunity to watch a masterclass with Phoenix Dance Theatre, taught by its Artistic Director, Darshan Singh Bhuller. More details at: www.theplace.org.uk

Interview with Robert Cohan & Darshan Singh Bhuller

Photo: ‘Forest’ in rehearsal with Robert Cohan, Darshan Singh Buller and Phoenix dancers

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