VERVE Research Commissions 2021/22 artists announced | NSCD


Thursday 2nd December 2021, 3:58pm Announcing the recipients of VERVE Research Commissions 2022

(L-R: Anna Alvarez, Bobak Champion and Ruby Portus)

We are pleased to announce the recipients of VERVE Research Commissions 2022: Anna Alvarez and Bobak Champion.  Ruby Portus also impressed the panel and has been awarded a Research Workshop with the company.

VERVE Research Commissions are a paid opportunity for artists from any movement background to research their practice,  without prescribed outcome. Each artist will have bespoke research time this coming Spring with VERVE’s highly skilled dancers, plus feedback and mentoring from NSCD staff.

Read on to learn more about each of them and their plans.

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Anna Alvarez

Anna is a UK Latinx dance artist working as a Performer, Choreographer and Movement Director. Her movement practice includes Contemporary Dance, Tango and Capoeira. She trained in contemporary dance at the Facultade de Dança Angel Vianna in Rio de Janeiro and later in Movement Direction at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

She has previously worked with Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, Gustavo Cirico, Frederico Paredes, Leandro Palou, Noa Zuk, Yasmeen Godder, Vertigo Dance Company, Ella Mesma Company, Vincent Dance Theatre, Artolution, Extraordinary Bodies and Denada Dance Theatre. She founded her own company in 2019 with the objective of respecting and challenging Latin American movement heritage. She enjoys taking risks, thinking big and daring to explore the unfamiliar, telling stories through the body.

“I am excited to take the choreography of a previous project using Tango and Contemporary Dance to a larger cast  and exploring the intersectional relationship created by this hybrid of forms.”

Find out more about Anna’s work:

Bobak Champion

Bodak is a multidisciplinary artist making work that tackles Islamophobia and breaks down stereotypes of the middle east, often using humour. His recent work centres around his own experiences growing up as a British Iranian.

“My solo work is very autobiographical so I’m excited to find out who VERVE are and where the parallels lie in our stories. As well as exploring movement I often use narrative. I will be exploring conversations around identity, looking for where the connections are and what resonates. 

My instinct, with the often-heavy themes I use, is to connect through laughter. This and recent work with a leading clown coach has had an influential role in my practice. 

I am also looking forward to exploring the unwritten rules of breakin’ culture and where they can be applied to contemporary dance”

More about Bobak:

Ruby Portus

Combining movement, text, voice and her continuous drive to save the world, Ruby creates playful dance theatre work that tackles important socio-political issues in light-hearted and humorous ways. Interests that often fuel her work include gender politics and the climate crisis.

Ruby was a Young Associate at Sadler’s Wells 2018-19 and is a graduate of London Contemporary Dance School and VERVE at Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

“This time with VERVE will be a great way to explore how my choreographic practice translates onto bigger groups of performers. I’m excited to dig into my “For Later” pile: an accumulation of ideas for which I’ve not had large enough groups of performers to make a reality.

It will also be a welcome time to just play. We always have to define shows before starting to make them, which can have its pros but can also stifle an intuitive creative process. These research days will allow us to genuinely play, dig deep, go off on beautiful creative tangents and let the magic find us without worrying about providing a specific product at the end of it.”

See more of Ruby’s work: