Candoco Pro: Megan Armishaw

Candoco Dance Company, November 18th, 2018
Photography: Camilla Greenwell, 2018

I'm Meg, I'm 28, and originally from Worcestershire, in the West Midlands. I grew up in the countryside where there weren't any contemporary dance classes - so I went to ballet and gymnastics instead. I discovered contemporary dance when I was doing my A-levels and loved it for its freedom of expression and physicality. So I went on to train at Trinity Laban - a conservatoire in London. After that I worked as an independent artist with a few choreographers before joining Candoco in 2015. I love my job! I get to travel all over the world performing work that's really important to me.

What are the origins of contemporary dance? What does contemporary dance mean to you?

Contrary to what people often think, contemporary dance isn't always an emotional portrayal of a story - sometimes it can be completely abstract. Contemporary dance developed because dancers and choreographers wanted to ask questions about what dance could be outside the rules of classical techniques like ballet. Early examples include work by Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham in the US, collaborations between dance makers and other artists at Dartington Estate in the 1920s in the UK, works by London-based choreographers such as Richard Alston and Siobhan Davies, and many others. They took inspiration from dance styles from all over the world, broke some 'rules', and performed outside of theatres - on the street and in galleries.These days contemporary dance draws from so many external influences that it makes it hard to define - but I love that! It means it's current and always referring to what's going on in the world from different perspective.

Contemporary dance is also versatile. When I perform for Candoco I have to be physical, vibrant and expressive. I improvise and I perform set movement. I lift men, I lift women. I shout, I sing, I stay still. If you've never seen contemporary dance and you're intrigued, definitely watch some performances - there's a whole world to discover!