Sat 27 May

VERVE 2017

London Contemporary Dance School International Exchange

£10 (£7 concessions)

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London Contemporary Dance School supports established and emerging artists by commissioning new dance works. Watch the freshest choreography around as these performances also help develop the extraordinary artists involved.


VERVE presents an exhilarating programme of four distinct contemporary dance works choreographed by international artists James Cousins, Carlos Pons Guerra, Leila McMillan and Matthias Sperling.

Performed by a company of eleven dancers trained at some of the world’s leading conservatoires, the work is physically daring and thought-provoking.

Carlos Pons Guerra’s Rita is a raucous, full company work inspired by the vestal world of nunneries. What happens when our innate desires are denied expression?

Leila McMillan tackles the continuous cycle of destruction and repair that characterises our lives, tapping into the visceral physicality of the dancers with her work Continuum.

Hypnotic and ambiguous, Matthias Sperling’s Soft Power Generator asks: What if movement can generate our future? What future do we need?

Finally James CousinsA Fable of Our Time explores the physical and metaphorical borders societies continue to build. With full bodied physicality and intimate duets, VERVE’s eleven dancers question our precarious dualistic existence.

About the choreographers

Carlos Pons Guerra (Gran Canaria, Spain) is an independent choreographer who has created work for Rambert, Northern Ballet, Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (India), ENDanza (Dominican Republic), Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Elmhurst School of Dance, amongst others. He directs his own company, DeNada Dance Theatre, an internationally-touring company that creates darkly humorous narrative work, since 2012, and is currently on a second national tour of his triple bill of dance, Ham and Passion. Carlos was nominated for a UK’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Award in 2015 (Best Emerging Artist) and 2016 (Best Independent Company), and in summer 2016 was one of the guest choreographers during Northern Ballet’s Choreographic Lab. Pons Guerra began his ballet training at the Choreographic Centre of Las Palmas and the Royal Conservatoire for Dance of Madrid, completing his studies at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

James Cousins
Since winning the inaugural New Adventures Choreographer Award in 2012, selected by Matthew Bourne for his ‘refreshing desire to entertain’, Cousins has gone on to form James Cousins Company, which has toured continually to popular and critical acclaim both nationally and internationally.

As a freelance choreographer James has been commissioned to create work for companies around the world including National Ballet of Chile, Royal Ballet of Flanders and Scottish Ballet and worked commercially with the likes of rising pop sensation Anne-Marie.

James is a Work Place artist at The Place and in summer 2015 he was selected to be a part of Sadler’s Wells’ four year Summer University programme.

Matthias Sperling is an artist, choreographer and performer whose work manifests in an increasing range of forms, including performances in theatre, gallery and museum contexts and public spaces. His choreographic practice extends to making video works, online projects, writing, curating and scientific research collaborations.

His work has been presented at Sadler’s Wells, Tate Modern, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, Dance Umbrella, Nottdance and Springdance (NL), among others. He is a frequent collaborator with Siobhan Davies, together with whom he has created and presented works at the ICA, Whitechapel, Hayward, Tramway and Turner Contemporary galleries among others. He has created an adaptation of a solo choreographic score by Deborah Hay, which he co-commissioned through Hay’s Solo Performance Commissioning Project 2012.

Born in Toronto in 1974, he studied with the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (1984-1993) and went on to study philosophy at university in Canada before coming to the UK to complete his dance studies with Transitions Dance Company at Laban (1997-1998). He danced with UK companies including Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance (2001-2006) and Matthew Bourne’s Adventures In Motion Pictures (1999-2000), before pursuing his own choreographic work.

He was an Associate Artist with Dance4 (2007-2015), participated in the first Sadler’s Wells Summer University (2011-2014), and is the winner of a Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award (2008).

Times: 7.30pm
Venue: at The Place

This event is part of Summer 2017