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Profile: Nikki Milican

Artistic Director at New Moves International

Nikki Milican Nikki Milican is Artistic Director at New Moves International in Glasgow. Since the 1970s, Nikki has been a major initiating force within the challenging sphere of 'Live Art' and contemporary dance. Her influence has reached well beyond the UK scene, fuelled by her passion for discovering new work and new artists.

In the 1980s, Nikki travelled to Eastern Europe as well as making connections in Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States and in the 1990s set her sights on India and the Pacific Rim. Since then, she has created opportunities for radical artists from Asia, Thailand, Singapore and Australia to bring work to Britain for the first time.

Nikki's commitment to Live Art can be traced to her own beginnings as a performer. In the 1970s, she staged various open-air, site-specific events, which allowed her to gain a personal insight into the support structures that should be available to artists.

She set up and ran an arts centre in Bath before joining the Midland Group in the 1970s and 1980s, during which time she commissioned work from established and unknown artists as well as running the National Review of Live Art, a task which involved not only programming but also finding year-to-year funding and performance spaces.

Nikki's ongoing connection with Glasgow began in the 1980s when she was programming performance for what was then known as the Third Eye Centre - now the Centre for Contemporary Arts. She set up a dance festival which was initially called New Moves and was centred on experimental directions within contemporary movement. Famous names who made their UK debut as unknown artists in one of Nikki's programmes include Wim Vandekeybus and Alain Platel.

Her time spent at Third Eye helped to revitalise Glasgow's cultural image within the city and beyond, and her bold, risk-taking programmes helped to build an audience that now supports performances in other city venues such as Tramway and The Arches. Both of these venues have hosted sell-out seasons of Nikki's National Review of Live Art.

During her New Territories programme, Nikki runs an annual Winter School, intensive courses which enable professional practitioners, graduates and teachers to develop skills and engage with genres outwith their own. Workshops have been run by Raimond Hoghe, Franko B, Goat Island, Anne Seagrave, Ron Athley and Didier Theron, to name but a few.  Places on the Winter Schools are claimed by participants from all over the world.

In July 1998, Nikki was awarded an Honorary MA from Nottingham Trent University and in 2002 received the Award for Excellence in International Dance, given by the International Theatre Institute. From 2002-2003 she was the Chief External Examiner for the Contemporary Theatre Practice degree course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and since April 2006, she has been Visiting Industrial Professor at the University of Bristol.

In her rare moments of spare time, Nikki enjoys gardening, walking and sharing good food and good music with friends.

New Territories 2008 is underway and will run until Saturday 8 March - for further information please visit the New Moves International website.

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* Dance homepage
* Profiles archive
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