Written by Kimberley Harvey - Candoco Artist and Cando2 co-leader
On 8 December, Cando2 performed at a palace...the newly opened East Court of Alexandra Palace, to be precise.
And, what a stunning setting it was for our pre-Christmas, work-in-progress, sharing of the youth company’s new piece, Face Off. High ceilings, grand doorways, giant pillars and a multi-coloured geometric pattern on the floor created a stunning performance space. Then, of course, being December, there was a festive sprinkling of fairy lights and a dusting of glitter and snow on a few Christmas trees dotted here and there.
During the autumn term at Cando2 at The Place, our young dancers were thrilled to be visited by Candoco dancers from the main company and they were given an insight into one of Candoco's current works, Face In by choreographer Yasmeen Godder. Not only did they experience some creative tasks directly from the piece, but they loved learning some repertory from the dancers too.
Seeing the youth company explore these new movement tasks with such enthusiasm, humour and rigour was very exciting for myself and Sarah Blanc as co-leading artists for Cando2 and so, we decided that the new creation for Cando2 would be inspired by themes from Face In.
As a Candoco Artist, I am lucky enough to experience many proud moments in relation to what we do as a company; and seeing Cando2 draw a buzzing crowd at Alexandra Palace and perform with such heart, professionalism and genuine joy at performing together was absolutely one of those moments.
This pre-Christmas extravaganza at Alexandra Palace was predominantly a day for families. It was wonderful to observe such a wide age range of people watching Cando2’s performance. What’s more, I overheard several conversations between curious children and the adults they were with about what they were seeing. This is something I love that results from a dance performance popping up amongst the public in non-theatrical spaces – it makes them pause, maybe even compels people to talk about what they are witnessing and perhaps, as was the case on this Saturday at Alexandra Palace, some will want to dance along too!
After Cando2’s performance, three of the Candoco company dancers (Megan, Nico and Toke) co-led an inclusive family dance workshop in the East Court, and I was there alongside Cando2 members and other members of the Candoco family to support and take part. During the workshop I got to dance with a wonderful little person who was about 3 years old, who was dressed as a fairy! She was absolutely fascinated by all that was going on, full of wonderings and boundless energy. As well as this, I had several duets with different participants, all of whom were of different ages and seemingly different backgrounds. This workshop enabled such richness within the encounters (however, fleetingly and/or with people coming in and out accordingly) as there were many Candoco Artists there who could be responsive to individual happenings and support what was going on. This workshop was a chance to ‘invite everyone in’ - to see what Candoco do; to meet some of Candoco and then, to have a dance with us in a very open, fluid setting. Towards the end of the session, during our closing ‘whole group dance score’ we were even serenaded by the jazz duo who were just starting their set!
We all left the session with weary, but invigorated bodies and warm smiles – what more could you ask for?
If you're interested in joining our youth company, Cando2, click here.