Candoco Dance Company Challenge The Boundaries Of Dance

For those not already aware, Candoco Dance Company is a vastly different dance company to the norm.

Why? Because it is made up of both disabled and non-disabled dancers. Their goal is to show ‘what dance can be and who dance can be’ blurring the conventional line of what a dancer ‘should’ be.

If anybody who went to see their performance at Sadler’s Wells last night had a pre-conceived idea of what a dancer ‘should’ look like, I would bet when they left the theatre their minds were changed.

The two pieces performed by the company, Beheld and Set and Reset/Reset showed off the incredible force of the dancers and how well their unique bodies come together on stage.

Beheld by choreographer Alexander Whitely was like a fierce human jigsaw puzzle – absolutely hypnotic.

beheld-c-hugo-glendinning-3
Photo: Hugo Glendinning

The dancers explored the stage, pushing the boundaries of their abilities to jaw dropping limits and fully investigating the space around them, forming and reforming.

The fabric of the dance was held together by the seamless movements of the dancers and their shifting bodies. All of the performers showed equal dexterity, despite differing abilities.

During on moment, a one lone dancer was left on the stage in front of an undulating wall of fabric (think Stranger Things) and the audience was totally mesmerised, watching her impressive frame move across the space.

Her crutches became part of her.

Beheld (c) Hugo Glendinning (2).jpg
Photo: Hugo Glendinning

You could have heard a pin drop as the audience were stunned to silence by her hypnotic movements and that of the metallic cloth back drop, expanding and contracting before it engulfed her, and the auditorium, completely into darkness.

Set and Reset/Reset, an adaptation of a Trisha Brown piece by Abigail Yager, followed a short interval and was like witnessing a live time lapse.

Futuristic clouds of grey shapes hung across the stage as the dancers moved continuously, never faltering or staying static for too long.

8-set-and-reset_reset-a-restaging-project-by-trisha-brown-company-and-candoco-dance-company-photography-by-hugo-glendinning-2011
Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Like automatons they cut through the space with their bodies, moving back and forth across in pathways underneath the always present ‘cloud’.

The most impressive moments came during points of unison, which one may think present a unique challenge to a company with supposed differing physical abilities, but the dancers abilities to adapt their bodies to the movements was full of incredible precision.

Candoco certainly showed that dance can be anyone and their performers are athletes and master technicians of their art form.

For more information about Candoco visit their website here.

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