On Student Placement With Gary Clarke Company - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Tuesday 25th June 2024, 2:37pm On Student Placement With Gary Clarke Company

Above: Jacob Phillips in Future Now.  Photo: Elly Welford


This year, several of our final year BA (Hons) students secured work placements with external companies.

We heard from Jemima Colin who joined Rendez-Vous Dance Company for their 2024 tour of The Monocle and also Giulia Carastro who joined Jack Philp Dance for their reworked production and tour of Into the Novacene.

Now it’s time to hear from Jacob Phillips who joined Gary Clarke Company for dance theatre show, DETENTION with time spent on placements in January and March.

Set to premiere and tour nationally from Spring 2025, DETENTION will explore real life stories of working-class LGBTQ+ communities nationwide and the direct impact and legacy of Section 28 of the 1988 UK Local Government Act. The work will feature extraordinary choreography, spoken word, archive film footage and an original sound score plus tracks by well-known artists.  In addition, five LGBTQ+ community participants and one professional drag artist will be cast locally and integrated into the work at each venue on tour.

Jacob said:

“This placement was an incredible learning experience for me, including how to explore subject history and context and to translate that into physical movement.  In addition, it has highlighted the importance of being open, collaborative and able to adapt to change.  I had the opportunity to dive deep into the creation process from many different perspectives and work with different professional artists.”

It was truly invigorating to develop my own creativity and physicality in the professional setting of an established dance company.  I absolutely loved it.”

Jacob explains:

“I first worked with Gary Clarke Company in my first year at NSCD when he was invited to create a new commission for a group of students.

When I started my placement in January, it was slightly daunting as it was new territory for me; it was the first time I’d been part of a ‘big deal’ creation working alongside established artists on this scale.  I was nervous but everyone made me feel so welcome and encouraged me to share my thoughts and perspectives which I really appreciated.  To be a trusted part of elements including R&D, choreography, costuming, production, lighting, music and see it all come together was so interesting and inspiring and it gave me so much confidence.”

Jacob continues:

“My work on DETENTION really opened up my attention to the subject matter and how it can serve as a powerful driving force to make impactful work.  It was our own choice as to how biographical we went during the R&D process and this was always undertaken with a high level of care for each other, both as people as well as being dancers.  I can't express how inspiring and cathartic my experience was.”

To sum up his placement, Jacob says:

“I am so thankful for my placement experience as it’s shown me what’s involved in the life of a professional dance company.  It has given me confidence in my practice and made me further realise the power of collaboration and the importance of being adaptable and open to learning.”

Whilst on his placement, Jacob worked alongside four NSCD alumni cast in DETENTIONGavin CowardImogen WrightAlex Gosmore and Mayowa Ogunnaike.

DETENTION will be the final part in a trilogy of theatrical dance works, following the award-winning production COAL (2016 – 2018 UK touring & Germany) and the critically-acclaimed production WASTELAND (2019/20 Covid halted & 2023 UK re-touring).

Since completing his placement and returning to the studios at NSCD, Jacob has secured a permanent job starting in August this year.  Huge congratulations to Jacob as he begins work as a company member with Tanz Bielefeld, Germany.

All BA final year students, including Jacob, will perform in Future Now - which marks the culmination of their three-year preparation for entering the profession as contemporary dance artists.  Book your tickets for Future Now at Riley Theatre taking place on 3 - 6 July here.