30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 2

30 years in pictures | 20 September 2023

Compass Commissions Part 2

Compass Commissions was the Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership’s flagship commissioning programme which supported a number of UK-based artists throughout the process of creation. The artists each received a bespoke package of support, including a commission fee, rehearsal facilities at Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban and the Partnership’s Performance Lab at Laurie Grove, technical and production support and sharing and performance opportunities. 

30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 2. Two dancers move in front of a white background. One is turned away, their leg flicking out behind them. The other bends to the left, their right arm covering their face

Jules Cunningham. Photo by Chris Nash

Jules Cunningham, Crave

I remember watching the dancers running through some of the material and loving the underlying precision of the choreography, and also liking the restricted palette of the costumes, so I then chose to keep the lighting and setting quite crisp and minimal and let those qualities influence my framing and composition.”

Chris Nash

Crave, a work based on Sarah Kane’s one act play, investigates dark and potent themes including rape, addiction and instability. Jules Cunningham reimagined the work as in an enigmatic production combining dance and spoken word. Featuring four actors and four dancers, it connected meticulous movement to the poetic style of the writing.  

30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 2. A group of dancers look up from the floor which is covered in black scrawled shapes

Stephanie Schober's Tracing Gestures. Photo by Chris Nash

Stephanie Schober – Tracing Gestures

Shot on the floor of the main hall looking down from the balcony, I loved this combination of drawing and movement, with the dancers covered in chalks and pastels, literally becoming part of the artwork.” 

Chris Nash

In February 2017, Stephanie Schober premiered a site-sensitive version of Tracing Gestures, reimagined for The Borough Hall. 

Using a range of visual media, the choreography was documented across a range of different surfaces throughout the space, with audiences moving to follow these intense interactions between performers and their visual tracing of movement. 

Stephanie Schober collaborated with a group of artists including performers Richard Court, Owen Ridley Demonick, Jack Sergison and Stephen Moynihan, lighting designer Jackie Shemesh and visual artist Juan Guerra to create this site-sensitive piece. 

“Creating the site-specific cross-art performance piece ‘Tracing Gestures’ at Greenwich Dance Agency during 2017 as part of the ‘Compass Commission’ was one of the most memorable and nurturing experiences for us. We had the rare opportunity to rehearse on site, exploring Greenwich Dance Agency’s iconic Borough Hall during our residency over several weeks. Through leading open creative workshops for professional dancers as well as community groups alongside our process, we already felt connected to the people who were using the space. The team at Greenwich Dance Agency was so welcoming and encouraging in turning our ideas into reality, from initial discussions to involving us with its community to the documenting of the final outcome. This kind of support is so rare to find – enabling us make a messy work feel at home in a place that already had so much history and unique presence. We still receive positive comments today from audience members who saw the work back then, which also is a testimony to Greenwich Dance Agency and the care that the team had for bringing together its community of independent artists, creative groups and audiences.”

Stephanie Schober 

Credits: Tracing Gestures, choreography by Stephanie Schober, created with and performed by visual artist Juan Guerra and dancers Richard Court, Stephen Moynihan, Owen Ridley-Demonick and Jack Sergison with lighting by Jackie Shemesh. 

30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 2. A dancer leaps up from a smoke filled stage. He is in silhouette and the air around him is red. He is carrying a flag.

Botis Seva's Woman of Sun. Photo by Chris Nash

Botis Seva – Woman of Sun

Shot on stage in the Laban Theatre with flash, red gels and a smoke machine, I took my cue from the title of the piece to try and create something hot and dusty for Botis.”

Chris Nash 

Woman of Sun blended oriental traditions, 21st century questions and culture clash into a high energy, exhilarating performance. Using experimental hip hop language and martial arts concepts, Woman of Sun integrated Botis Seva’s distinct visual language with raw commentary on 21st century life.  


30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 2. A dancer jumps on stage. A jacket and a pair of trousers float above him.

Robin Dingmans - The Point at Which is Last Made Sense. Photo by Chris Nash

Robin Dingemans – The Point at Which it Last Made Sense

“Working with paralympian James O’Shea and dancer Rosa Vreeling for this shoot was a really productive experience, with everyone open to trying out different ideas and improvising in front of the camera, building upon the choreography that existed at that point.”

Chris Nash

This multi-iteration work hinged on extremes of advertising, intertwined with an exploration of beauty, from the profound to the superficial. The mechanism of evolution articulated as marketing tools, simultaneously mystical and baldly selfish. The live work was originally devised and performed by Paralympian James O’Shea (UK) & Rosa Vreeling (NL) and presented at: Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth, Laban Theatre, London and Tramway, Glasgow.

Other artists supported through the scheme included 

Tara D’Arquian, Dan Daw, Sarah Dowling and Kath Duggan, Mimbre, Wendy Houstoun, Tom Roden and Anna Williams, Botis Seva, Stephanie Schober, Rahel Vonmoos, Laura Dannequin, Stephanie McMann, Charlotte Spencer and Julie Cunningham, Robert Mass, Rachael Young. 

The Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership together generated innovative projects designed to support dance artists, inspire new audiences and create outstanding dance opportunities for young people. The Partnership attracted National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England, 2015-2018. 

More Digital Stage articles

30 years in pictures: Creating through a Crisis

30 years in pictures | 20 September 2023

30 years in pictures: Ragtime to Grime. Dancer Adrian is wearing a black long sleeved tshirt with a red spider on it

30 years in pictures: Ragtime to Grime

30 years in pictures | 20 September 2023

30 years in pictures: Grace

30 years in pictures: Grace

30 years in pictures | 20 September 2023