The four finalists for the 4th Place Prize were selected from 16 works commissioned for the competition and premiered at The Place in September 2010. After ten nights of the finals in April 2011, Ben Duke & Raquel Meseguer (Lost Dog) won the competition and were awarded 25,000ï¿¡.

Launched in 2004, the Place Prize is the biennale choreography competition which any UK-based choreographers can get into, regardless dance genres and styles or professional backgrounds. It was established to discover and support talented choreographers who develop their own idiosyncratic movement language and expression imbued with creative ideas. The object of the prize has been already achieved despite its short history. The former winners (Rafael Bonachela in 2004, Nina Rajarani in 2006, and Adam Linder in 2008) have been critically acclaimed and called for creating works for international dance companies. Also, one of the finalists in 2004, Hofesh Shechter, who was a relatively newcomer when he competed for the prize, has became one of the outstanding contemporary choreographers in Britain.

In terms of judging original artworks by the creativity, the Place Prize is paralleled with The Turner Prize in visual art and the Man Booker in literature. However, what distinguishes the Place Prize from the other arts prizes is to give audiences opportunities to choose their favourite work as like X-factor. The winner’s work It Needs Horses is about a dark side of circus performance featuring two contrasting characters, a male ringmaster and a female performer. Even though I voted Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Frauke Requardt’s work, Fidelity Project (It was really hard for me to choose between this and Duke and Mesequer’s work), I could expect that audiences voted winner would be Duke and Meseguer’s work. It is because the work It Needs Horses comprises a variety of theatrical elements  such as a narrative structure, humour, grotesque body images, and mimetic movements, which are enough to make strong impressions on the audiences. Indeed, Duke and Meseguer were chosen as audience voted winner nine times during ten nights of the final performances.

If you want to quickly grasp the trend and prospect of British contemporary dance, it would be a shortcut to check out the list of the finals(and semi-finals) for the Place Prize (the Place Prize Website: http://www.theplace.org.uk/placeprize).

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