Candoco makes Strictly debut

Candoco, the dance company of disabled and non-disabled performers, is to make its debut on BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing this weekend.

Partnering the programme’s professional dancers, and pictured here in rehearsal for their performance on Sunday night, the company will be the first contemporary troupe to appear on the show.

Their piece has been choreographed by former Strictly judge Arlene Philips and will be a mixture of contemporary and ballroom styles performed to the David Bowie’s Life on Mars.

Philips has worked with the company before, and when she was asked to work with the dancers and the series professionals she was 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?

“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.”

Candoco was founded in 1991 by Celeste Dandeker-Arnold OBE and Adam Benjamin and stands at the forefront of current thinking around contemporary dance and disability-inclusion, and it is moving into a new phase with the appointment as artistic co-directors of Ben Wright and Charlotte Darbyshire, who took over earlier this year from Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado who stepped down after a decade.

Darbyshire, herself a founder member of Candoco, 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.”

Tune into Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One from 7.20pm this Sunday, November 25th.

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