News: Candoco at 25 - anniversary year programme to include a new duet by Arlene Phillips

Friday 12 February 2016 by Carmel Smith

Candoco in Hetain Patel's 'Lets Talk About Dis'. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Candoco, the London based leading contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled performers, is celebrating its anniversary in 2016 with a programme of performances, special events, participation work and international touring.

Performances will include a new duet created with leading pop choreographer Arlene Phillips, exploring how we fall in and out of love over and over again, often with the same person. The duet, (as yet unnamed), will tour outdoor festivals around the country this summer including performances at the Greenwich and Docklands Festival on Saturday 2 July 2016, with support from the Without Walls consortium.

Arlene Phillips, whose work includes collaborations with iconic pop artists including Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Queen and Duran Duran, also made her debut with the Royal Ballet last year, choreographing Dance Me to the End of Love for Edward Watson as part of Whelan/Watson: Other Stories in the Linbury Studio Theatre. She said: “I’m so excited to be working with Candoco and the two chosen dancers to create a unique duet. Love is an emotion we can all identify with and in this duet we will be inviting the audience to explore this complex emotion, how we fall in and out of love over and over again often with the same person and how our daily routines can sometimes shape our relationships. We will be throwing out the rule book and inspiring audiences about what dance can be and who can dance.”

Other programme highlights throughout the year will include touring performances of Let’s Talk about Dis, created with visual artist Hetain Patel and Beheld, choreographed by Alexander Whitley. Other public events will include a Friday Late Spectacular at Wellcome Collection on the evening of Friday 6 May called Display, choreographed by Candoco Artist, Mirjam Gurtner, which will include short performances staged around the building.

One of the first projects of the year sees Candoco’s youth company, Cando2, collaborate with students from Caldicott School and ex-servicemen and women (including several from the cast of West End show The Two Worlds of Charlie F) to create Muster, a bold new piece of dance which will be performed at The Place in London this month (20 February). Diverse in age, gender, disability and dance experience, the collaborators will include Lance Corporal Cassidy Little, winner of The People’s Strictly, a spinoff of BBC1’s popular Strictly Come Dancing. The youth company will also design and produce its own performance at Greenwich Dances Festival 2016 on Saturday 18 June.

As well as performances in the UK, Candoco will also be visiting a number of countries during its anniversary year, including Switzerland for a three week tour of Set and Reset/Reset, the company’s restaging of Trisha Brown’s iconic piece Set and Reset; Poland with double bill CounterActs and India to perform Studies for C, a duet created with Javier de Frutos. As well as performances, the company are involved in supporting local dance artists in Lagos, Nigeria, and be returning in November this year, supported by the British Council to perform and host a series of workshops.

Last year the company also worked in Armenai and Mexico, as well as Nigeria – and their acclaimed production of Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On
won the UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance. for Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On, as well carrying out as groundbreaking international projects in Nigeria, Armenia and Mexico. They were also nominated in the Outstanding Company category of the National Dance Awards, alongside English National Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Northern Ballet.

Candoco’s Co-Artistic Director Stine Nilsen said: “It is a joy to look back at the development and achievements that have happened in the last 25 years; talented and ambitious disabled and non-disabled artists who have influenced us and been influenced by Candoco, and the ripple effect this has had around the UK and the world in making people think differently about dance. Diversity enriches our art form, and we can’t see dance developing without it over the next 25 years.”

More on Candoco
Founded in 1991 by Celeste Dandeker and Adam Benjamin, Candoco developed out of integrated workshops at London’s Aspire Centre for Spinal Injury and quickly grew into the first company of its kind in the UK – a professional dance company of disabled and non-disabled artists.

Candoco’s current Artistic Co-Directors Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado were appointed as Celeste’s successors in 2007. Having danced with the company for seven and nine years respectively, they brought a natural understanding of the company’s ethos to the role and continued to push the boundaries of the definition of dance with bold and diverse commissions including work from leading choreographers Emanuel Gat, Rachid Ouramdane, Wendy Houstoun and Javier de Frutos. They have taken Candoco from the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to the Olympic Stadium in London, performing at the handover ceremonies in 2008 and returning, alongside Coldplay, at the Paralympic Closing in 2012.

Photo: Candoco in Hetain Patel’s Lets Talk About Dis by Hugo Glendinning

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