Last time Candoco were in Manchester was in November, 2016, with a double bill that included a piece co-created with artist Hetain Patel. I was in attendance that evening, and what really impressed me was the company’s ability to mix serious art with self-deprecation – a combination you don’t often find in the world of dance.
For those that were not in attendance, or haven’t heard of Candoco before, here’s a bit of background: founded in 1991, Candoco is a dance troupe made up of both disabled and non-disabled dancers. This gives them an unusual visual aesthetic – they don’t look like any other troupe you’ll see – and it also allows them to challenge societal norms around access and ability. But, primarily, they are just a really powerful group of performers.
In this new double bill, on at The Lowry, Candoco are again mixing humour and art to great effect. Beheld by Alexander Whitley features a score from electronic music pioneer Nils Frahm and sees the dancers investigate the constraints of space, asking us to reconsider how we perceive` the world around us. Meanwhile Face In from Yasmeen Godder sets the performers in a fictional world, allowing them to play with ideas of absurdity and the ridiculous.
This is a double bill that I am sure will get the best from Candoco’s considerable strengths, and one that any dance fan – or arts fan, for that matter – will get a lot from.