Candoco Dance Company’s double bill celebrates the power of diversity

Candoco Dance Company - Face In by Yasmeen Godder. Photography by Hugo Glendinning

It is far too restrictive to define Candoco only as a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers. What emerged from their last performance at Sadler’s Wells is an exuberant group of contemporary dancers, very much connected and close to each other, with a strong voice able to subtly provoke and celebrate the power of diversity.

As soon as they enter the stage, the first thing that strikes me is the stunning vitality and beautiful chemistry between all dancers, not to mention their incisive dancing skills and powerful expressivity that shine through both works.

Nicolas Vendange, Megan Armishaw, Mickaella Dantas - Candoco Dance Company - Face In by Yasmeen Godder. Photography by Hugo Glendinning
Nicolas Vendange, Megan Armishaw, Mickaella Dantas –
Candoco Dance Company – Face In by Yasmeen Godder. Photography by Hugo Glendinning

Face In, the opening piece by Yasmeen Godder, sees dancers unleashing their inner desires through playful sequences of short phrases, grouping in two or three, and engaging in complicated entanglements with their bodies. Things can get confusing when all dancers move independently on stage at the same time; it gives the feeling of a disorganised choreography. But the overall effect is an exhilarating and lively showcase of individuality, with lots of kisses and hugs, in a context of rainbow-coloured lights and urban indie music. Towards the end, the solo piece that opened the choreography, initially in silence and now with music, is resumed with all dancers joining one by one, contributing with their distinctive traits in charismatic unison.

Nicolas Vendange, Megan Armishaw, Mickaella Dantas (Candoco Dance Company - Face In by Yasmeen Godder) Photography by Hugo Glendinning
Nicolas Vendange, Megan Armishaw, Mickaella Dantas (Candoco Dance Company – Face In by Yasmeen Godder) Photography by Hugo Glendinning

If I had to describe Let’s Talk About Dis in a few words, I would certainly say ‘extremely hilarious and witty.’ In his first commission for a dance company, visual artist Hetain Patel perfectly managed to incorporate the spirit of Candoco in a powerful piece that is more comedy than dance. Tracing intimate experiences with clever self-irony and sharp humour, in a combination of words and dance gestures, we get to know a bit about every dancer’s personality. Different stories unfold, like when they had to talk about sex or when they were questioned about their physicality. Let’s Talk About Dis places the audience in front of topics that normally are avoided or considered awkward when talking about disability, pushing the boundaries of the politically correct and inviting the audience to look beyond appearances.

Reviewed at Sadlers’ Wells on 9 March

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