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Candoco Dance Company to be first contemporary dance company to appear on Strictly Come Dancing

You and I Know. Photo credit: Camilla Greenwell.

FOLLOWING Strictly Come Dancing’s introduction of Contemporary to the 2018 series (within the new dance category “Couple’s Choice”), Candoco will be performing with thirteen of the programme’s professional dancers to open Sunday, November 25’s results show.

With choreography from former judge Arlene Phillips, who has previously collaborated with Candoco on outdoor dance performance You and I Know, the performance marks the first time a contemporary dance company has appeared as a guest company.

Blending Candoco’s contemporary dance style with the vast array of ballroom and Latin styles, the piece will be performed to David Bowie’s classic, Life on Mars.

Candoco members are Megan Armishaw, Joel Brown, Mickaella Dantas, Olivia Edginton, Fabian Jackson, Welly O’Brien, Laura Patay, Kuldip Singh-Barmi, Toke Broni Strandby and Nicholas Vendage.

Arlene Phillips said: “When I was asked by Candoco if I would be interested in working with the company on a project linking them together with some of the series-regular professionals in a unique piece, I was instantly intrigued. Admiring the Candoco artists and BBC Pros as I do, I quickly said yes, but soon realised it was going to be quite a complex undertaking.

“The first question I asked myself was how would I unite two groups of dancers that come from very different dance disciplines? Candoco dancers are trained in a contemporary style, whereas the Pros are trained in Latin and Ballroom.

“David Bowie’s Life on Mars became the chosen track because of its mystery, both musically and lyrically. My vision is that the dancers are drawn together by a strange force from across the universe; fighting, playing, loving. Working closely with the programme’s Creative Director of Choreography Jason Gilkison and Trent Whiddon through a workshop process of improvisation and sharing of genres, we could all move forward together as one.”

Established in 1991 by Celeste Dandeker-Arnold OBE and Adam Benjamin, Candoco Dance Company is a leading repertory dance company of disabled and non-disabled artists. Candoco positions itself at the forefront of current and future thinking around contemporary dance and disability-inclusion and holds an internationally recognised reputation as a world leader in inclusive practice as best practice.

The company’s Artistic Co-Directors, Ben Wright and Charlotte Darbyshire, joined the company earlier this year, taking over from Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado who stepped down after a decade. Charlotte Darbyshire was herself a founder member of Candoco and, together, the new artistic co-directors remain curious about what dance can be, who gets to do it, where it takes place and why it matters.

Charlotte Darbyshire said: “We are motivated by a shared belief that artists with different abilities, perspectives and experiences enrich our art form. Through our bold and distinctive productions and rigorous learning programme, we offer our audiences, participants and collaborating artists, a diverse range of dance experiences, of the highest quality.”

Image: You and I Know. Photo credit: Camilla Greenwell.