Quick questions with Candoco Dance Company!

Ahead of tonight’s performance from Candoco Dance Campany, we caught up with some of the dancers and choreographer Claire Cunningham in between rehearsals!

Marc Brew's piece Parallel lines

What do you fear the most?
Choreographer Claire Cunningham: Regret
Dancer Mirjam Gurtner: Loneliness
Dancer Susanna Recchia: Death
Dancer Dan Daw: Heights
Dancer Kostas: Losing someone

What – or where – is perfection?
Artistic Director Stine: Snowcrystals

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera)?
Dancer Susanna: Iron Man
Dancer Dan: Popeye

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
Choreographer Claire: Nigel Charnock filling the Clore Ballroom and Royal Festival Hall Foyer with people dancing along to Jackson Five!
Dancer Mirjam: Candoco’s last Queen Elizabeth Hall show, Turning 20
Dancer Dan: Fabulous bouquets of flowers at Candoco’s last show
Dancer Susana: Improvised performance

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
Choreographer Claire : Jerome Bel and me(!)
Dancer Dan: Pina Bausch, Mat Fraser and Caroline Bowditch

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Dancer Mirjam: Viva la Vida by Coldplay
Dancer Dan: Shirley bassey
Dancer Susanna: Wildest Moment by Jessie Ware
Dancer Kostas: The speaking Hand by Wowed Hand

Aside from your own shows, what other Unlimited events are you most looking forward to?
Candoco: of course Claire Cunningham’s Ménage à Trois featuring ex-Candoco dancer Chris Owen and The Impending Storm featuring ex-Candoco dancer David Toole.

Catch Candoco Dance Company tonight at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of Unlimited festival. Get tickets here. 

Marc Brew’s Parallel Lines – Candoco Unlimited

It’s only one day until Candoco return to Southbank Centre! This time with a double bill from Claire Cunningham and Marc Brew. After Marc’s wildly successful Fusional Fragments last week, this is your chance to see more of his work at Southbank Centre. Here’s a sneak peak!

Catch Marc Brew’s Parallel Lines as part of Candoco Unlimited at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thursday 6 September. Get tickets here. 


Video: Candoco return with new work from Claire Cunningham and Marc Brew!


Catch Candoco Unlimited as part of Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Thursday 6 September. Get tickets here. 

Candoco Dance Company turn 20 – watch video

Candoco Dance Company are celebrating their 20th birthday this year. Here’s a look at what they’ve got in store for us over the next week as part of Dance Umbrella at Southbank Centre.

See Candoco Dance Company in their 20th birthday celebrations on 14 & 15 October at Southbank Centre. Get tickets here. 

Get to know Candoco dancer Dan Daw

Dan DawHow did you get into dancing initially?
Joining Restless Dance Company nearly 10 years ago was my first serious interaction with the dance world. I had been exposed to it earlier in my youth theatre days, at which time, opted to turn my attention to acting. From the first Restless workshop, I was in love. I knew it was a place I needed to be at that moment in time, but what I did not know is that it would still the perfect place nearly a decade later.

Why did you join Candoco?
As a disabled dancer, being with Candoco was something I aspired to early in my career. Although I was with Restless, I did not think that being a professional disabled dancer was viable until I discovered Candoco.

I had spent some years working as a project-based freelancer, but craved the rigor that comes through working for a professional repertory company. Spawned by my sneak peek into the repertory world during the six months with Scottish Dance Theatre, I felt I was fast approaching the right place artistically where Candoco seemed like, was, and is, the best fit.

How do people react to the idea of a disabled person dancing professionally?
I think it a shame that this is a question that still needs to be asked in light of Candoco’s twenty-year presence. This debate aside, I think audiences are intrigued, and this is why the company has such an extensive education program, and often hold post-show forums in the hope our audiences come away knowing that little bit more about what we do.

How does Candoco approach the idea of ‘normal’?
The beauty of dancing for Candoco is that it is a company, which functions on the idea of the individual, and what is inherent in every one of us as people, and as performers. From my seat within the company, it could be said Candoco are not looking to approach the bogus concept of ‘normality’; it exists only as a concept, and I’m sure as a company we can go to far more interesting places.

How does Candoco approach a work that has been created for non-disabled bodies? What are rehearsals like?
In the creation of Trisha Brown’s Set and Reset/Reset, we have had the privilege of building the work in the same way Trisha Brown Company did in 1983. Staying true to its title, we learned a series of set material. With the splicing of this material, adapted or not, we built and reset it into a new kaleidoscopic form. As the building of the work relied on improvising and making choices in relation to the whole, it very much became ours, and less an arm-by-arm, leg-by-leg regurgitation of the work.

Within its’ making, there has been the chance to create new solos based on the ideas of the originals. Still within the realm of Trisha Brown’s aesthetic and idiosyncrasies, these gave rise to explore our movement vocabulary and its’ idiosyncratic logic.

What are the advantages and challenges of disabled and non-disabled people dancing together?
There are no advantages or challenges specific to disabled and non-disabled dancers working together, but there are infinite advantages and challenges when people dance together, irrespective of ability.

Broadly, the fact that integrated dance is becoming as professionally recognised as our preconceived notion of dance is an advantage unto itself.

Do you have a career highlight so far?
I have two career highlights. During my Candoco career, working with Wendy Houstoun was something quite incredible. I came to appreciate Wendy’s way of deconstructing dance by placing it in relationship to what it was that interested her. The other highlight was performing with Kate Champion’s Force Majeure at the Sydney Opera House. I remember it being a very proud moment.

What inspires you?
The one thing that continues to inspire me throughout my career are those little moments when the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. We all live for these moments, and it is when they happen whilst working that I know I am on the right track.

If you could dance with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
If I could dance with anyone throughout the modern history of dance, it would be with, or even for, Pina Bausch. She was, and her work is, simply stunning.


See Candoco Dance Company in Turning 20: Anniversary Bill as part of Dance Umbrella at Southbank Centre on 14 & 15 October. Get tickets here.