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    Art director at The Place, the UK, on his favourite performances this season .

    When I first meet Eddie Nixon, even a casual hand gesture is a giveawaya��his 12-year career as a freelance dancer is evident. The current director of theatre and artist development at The Place, in the UKa��one of the most well-known contemporary dance venuesa��was in the city for a talk at The British Council and to be a part of the jury for the third edition of the Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards. Nixon, who is responsible for the performance programme at Britaina��s busiest dance venue, Robin Howard Dance Theatre, in addition to his other duties, says that he chose to become a contemporary dance performer because a�?I dona�?t think I was very good at ballet. So it probably just worked in that waya�? (smiles). The 45-year-old gives us three contemporary dance performances and companies that get his vote. Catch them when you can, he says.

    There is a superb show that wea��ve worked on a bit, Paradise Lost (Lies Unopened Beside Me), by a company called Lost Dog. It has been very popular and has won some awards in the UK. This is a dance theatre piece. Ita��s one of the most articulate kinds of expression ofA� this language that hovers between dance and movement that I have come across in a long time. And it speaks about so many things that are universala��about creating, about parenthood, about ageing. Ita��s a very special performance.

    If I think about more physically charged performances and if I think about companies, then I think quite a bit about Avant Garde, a company that has been to Chennai before, because of this language of really strongly hip-hop influenced contemporary movement that they are working with. And they are a very special company in the way that they do this. Very particular performances, which are carefully crafted and articulated. Design plays a very important role in what they do and the look of what they do.

    Two weeks ago, I saw a performance by a fantastic choreographer from Tel Aviv, called Yasmeen Godder. It was really special for me because it, in a way, deals with participation by the audience in a very clever way, but it challenges the notion of how we as public might be a little manipulated without knowing it. Through performance, it uses a metaphor that, in a way, refers to something much broader. This is howa��whatever it might be, media or politiciansa��we are tricked into behaviour, tricked into following a certain code of behaviour without knowing it. It does this in the most sophisticated, clever way. Ita��s an intelligent piece of work with fantastic dancers and superbly interesting movement language but on its other level what it speaks about is very interesting. I love these kinds of pieces.

    a��Simar Bhasin


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