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ACCA Conversations: Candoco Dance Company

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1 Candoco Dance Company Face In By Yasmeen Godder Photography By Hugo Glendinning 2017

Candoco Dance Company come to Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts this April to present a double bill - Face in/ Let’s Talk about Dis - as part of South East Dance’s city-wide undisciplined festival. 

Learn more about the company in our interview with their Communications Manager, Lucy Fox, and Co-Artistic Director Ben Wright. 

What is your starting point for developing a double bill like Face In and Let’s Talk About Dis. Do you begin with a particular theme or topic in mind? How do you choose what to put together?    

 We tend to have three or four full company pieces in our repertoire at any one time and usually present two of these as a double bill. How we select which pieces we will present together varies. We like to show work that demonstrates the many facets of the company and will stimulate our audience in different ways, this is something that is particularly evident in the Face In and Let’s Talk About Disdouble bill. Sometimes a venue will request two pieces specifically as they feel they will work better for their audience or technically those pieces are right for their space. We don’t tend to theme the double bills as the works are made independently by different choreographers with their own intentions. Unless there was a very obvious topic that both were exploring by chance, we wouldn’t want to force a theme upon the work, audiences may draw their own themes from the evening however. 

 In what way(s) do Face In and Let’s Talk About Dis differ visually and choreographically from other Candoco works? 

Face Inand Let’s Talk About Diswere created by radically different artists, inevitably this results in wildly opposing visions. The two complement one another beautifully and are a bit of a dream pairing from our perspective. We are interested in working with choreographers who are genuinely curious and influenced by the artists who they are working with. We consider our dancers to be artistic collaborators and both Yasmeen and Hetain were masterful in the ways they engaged with our ensemble, generously encouraging them to take and own space and drawing out the many nuances of their personalities. As a pair they make a welcome addition to Candoco’s repertoire – both shake up assumptions and expectations, one leaning towards the domain of language and the other to more unconscious physical utterances.  

 Your work is programmed across the world and in a variety of contexts and spaces, so what brings you to Brighton and, more specifically Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts? 

 Regional touring in the UK is very important to us and we relish the opportunity to present our work to audiences all over the country. We have strong links with Brighton, a number of Candoco Artists and Ben (Artistic co-Director) live in Brighton and are, of course, huge advocates of their hometown and we have performed in Brighton many times over the years. This summer in Brighton we will be presenting Dedicated to… our new duet performed by two of our Brighton based Artists, Welly O’Brien and Victoria Fox, as well as the full company double bill at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts in April. The double bill is part of South East Dance’s Undisciplined festival, a fantastic programme of works that will certainly stimulate and engage Brighton’s contingent of bright and committed dance enthusiasts.  

With the dance world constantly evolving, how do you plan to continue adapting and evolving as a company? In other words, what’s next for Candoco?

For now, our Artistic co-Directors are only 3 months into post and have inherited various commissions and conversations from their predecessors Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado, so presently there is a lot of midwifery at play. The company are finalising arrangements for the creation of a new work by Theo Clinkard which will premiere in 2019 and Charlotte and Ben are pursuing a range of elements that make up their vision for the future of the company.  These include securing more opportunities to commission work, with a particular interest in smaller scale practice to complement the company’s more mainstream, large scale repertoire; to look at succession planning to secure opportunities for the identification and support of disabled individuals who could be interested in taking a leadership roles at Candoco; planning for an ambitious 30th year anniversary celebration that draws together a range of artists and individuals committed to inclusive practice which would culminate with a extended cast production at Sadler’s Wells in autumn 2022, and entertaining some blue sky thinking about what a future home for the company might look like. 

 Continuing to celebrate and value the compelling and disruptive power of difference is at the heart of the company’s future, a future in which we continue to question what dance can be and who gets to do it.

See Candoco Dance Company here on Wednesday 18 April.  Tickets available here

Interview by Louise Kinsella-Brown, currently on placement at ACCA from the University of Sussex. 

Our picks for Brighton Festival 2018: Ed Hughes

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Ahead of Brighton Festival 2018, which is rapidly approaching in May, University of Sussex Professor of Composition in Music & Head of Music, Ed Hughes, gives us his top picks for experiencing this year’s city-wide event. Ed Hughes is also the composer for Cuckmere: A Portrait & Environmentalism 2.0 which takes place in our venue on May 5 as part of our own festival programme. 

There are some wonderful musical highlights including Britten’s War Requiem on 12 May at 7.30pm. The soloists are really special: Ian Bostridge - Tenor, Gerald Finley - Baritone, Claire Booth - Soprano. The piece is a strange but brilliant conception and on the centenary of the end of WW1 is ‘an eloquent tribute to the fallen of the Great War’ and a very moving experience. 

The chamber music lunchtime concerts are frequently wonderful gems. This year including Van Kuijk Quartet, Magnard Ensemble, Les Kapsbergirls, Alexander Panfilov, Jerwood Young Artists, Lucy Humphris and Harry Rylance, Alexander Ullman, Chineke! Junior Quartet and Argenta Trio.

May in Brighton is a chance to try new artforms, mixed media, live and experimental theatre - definitely worth exploring things you wouldn’t normally get to. There are participatory events led by director David Shrigley, a trance-noise odyssey of Attractor, the Dutch immersive happening Blaas and hundreds of other extraordinary events.

Both the Brighton Festival and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts websites carries full details, helpful videos, interviews and opportunities to get involved in opportunities across the month of May. 

The annual children’s parade opens the Festival on 5 May and is always spectacular - this year the theme is ‘Paintings’, inspired of course by Guest Director David Shrigley.” 

Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and The Orchestra of Sound and Light,  Cuckmere: A Portrait & Environmentalism 2.0 project is one that explores wildlife through evocative landscapes and aural moods. Tracing the Cuckmere River from its source in the High Weald to the sea at Cuckmere Have, the environment is made a focal point through music and film.For our full month long Brighton Festival programme see here

Stay posted to our blog for more insights into the May festivals that take place across Brighton from our friends and partners! 

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