Current Dance Artist in Residence: Adèle Thompson
In 1996, Sara Matthews, a former dancer with the Rambert Dance Company, became the first Queens’ Dancer in Residence. Sara gave beginner and intermediate classes and also worked with the Queens’ rugby players, an initiative that became famous when pictures of Sara and the rugby team appeared in the national press. Sara initiated a valuable collaboration between the Dancer in Residence and the Queens’ College Musician, working with harpsichordist Giulia Nutti during her time at Queens’. Sara’s classes were supported by a grant from the Hamlyn Foundation.
Sara went on to become Assistant Director of Dance at Central School of Ballet. In the autumn of 1998, Kenneth Tharp became the second Dancer in Residence. Having trained at the Place’s London Contemporary Dance School Kenneth performed with London Contemporary Dance Theatre and Arc Dance Company. He has since worked as a dancer, choreographer, director and teacher. He serves on the Boards of the Royal Opera House and Phoenix Dance Theatre and is a Clore Fellow. In 2003 he received an OBE in recognition of his services to dance. In 2007 he was appointed as Chief Executive of the Place, the UK’s premier centre for contemporary dance.
The third and current Dancer in Residence is Adèle Thompson who studied at Cambridge University and London Contemporary Dance School and now works as an independent dancer, choreographer, abseil-dancer, stilt artist and teacher.
She was a founder member of STOMP’s European touring company performing in the OSCAR nominated film BROOMS and in their sell out season at London’s ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL andJACK DEE’S SATURDAY NIGHT for ITV, as well as touring extensively with the company. Adèle also works in contemporary circus incorporating dance, abseiling, aerial and stilt work.She was head of movement, music and equilibristics for the NEW MILLENNIUM EXPERIENCE COMPANY training all the performers of the CENTRAL SHOW in the MILLENNIUM DOME, and one of the team writing the first ever degree in Circus Arts for Circus Space. In the DOME she went on to become a member of the artistic team as assistant choreographer, resident director and stilt coach whilst also performing in the show itself. Fellow artistic team members included Peter Gabriel and Micha Bergese. As a result of which she was invited to devise, direct and perform in an aerial entertainment for MANUMISSION Ibiza, the biggest club in the world.
She worked for many years with LONDON CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATRE, danced in the arena operas CARMEN, TOSCA and AIDA in England, Europe and Japan and has appeared in numerous television programmes including BBC Television’s costume drama WITCHCRAFT. She choreographs for stage, television and community. Her most recent choreographies include commissions from WOKING DANCE FESTIVAL, NORFOLK AND NORWICH FESTIVAL, SUFFOLK SHOW, DANCE EAST, HED:STRONG, HAMPSHIRE YOUTH DANCE COMPANY, AMANI NGOMA National Dance Company of Zanzibar, National Trust’s BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR, Monteverdi’s CORONATION OF POPPEA Queens’ College Cambridge; RAW-KUS Kickstart Dance Company; ARTSWORK Tyne Tees TV; the British premier of Nicholai Erdman’s THE PARTY CARD, JOHN HEGLEY performance poet and two short films for the ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART.
In 2006 she choreographed and performed in the opening event for NORFOLK & NORWICH FESTIVAL with Spanish street company SARRUGA, being invited back last year to work and perform with Brazilian favela band MOLEQUE DE RUA and 300 local young people for the spectacular opening event of the Festival. She was part of the artistic team leading the NATIONAL YOUTH DANCE FESTIVAL 2006 and completed work on an 18 month educational project with BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET and CHANNEL 4, the resulting four part documentary “BALLET CHANGED MY LIFE: BALLET HOO!” being screened in autumn 2006. Adèle co-directed SADLER’S WELLS YOUTH DANCE COMPANY with previous dancer in residence Kenneth Tharp for six years and choreographed six works for them, she also runs her own project based company of dancers, circus artists, musicians and other artists, BARKING DOG DANCES. She was recipient of a YEAR OF THE ARTIST award in 2001 to research and develop break-dance and stilting with UK leading breaker BANKSY. In 2004 she abseiled CANARY WHARF TOWER to raise funds for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and taught the Lady Mayoress of the City of London to stilt. She is currently stilt coach on several WEST END productions as well as Dancer in Residence at QUEENS’ COLLEGE.
A experienced performer of international acclaim Adèle is also an excellent and inspiring teacher. She teaches contemporary dance technique, choreography, physical theatre, repertoire, pedagogy, stilting and STOMP-style physical rhythm regularly guest teaching at such institutions as LONDON CONTEMPORARY DANCE SCHOOL, SKOLEN FOR MODERNE DANS and SYDDANSK UNIVERSITAT DENMARK, CIRCUS SPACE, UK NATIONAL DANCE AGENCIES, schools and colleges throughout the UK and also in Europe. She leads dance practitioner and teacher inset training courses throughout the UK. Adèle has taught professional classes in Japan and Africa and she leads communication and team-building workshops for corporate businesses worldwide. The Independent said of her, “Brilliant, just brilliant, this teacher is the greatest, the best we need some more of this” and The Times Educational Supplement described her as having “infectious energy”.