Let's Talk About Dis

Let's Talk About Dis by Hetain Patel, Photography by Amanda Thomas 2016

In his first commission for a dance company, visual artist Hetain Patel has created a humorous and intimate piece for Candoco Dance Company that builds on an exploration of the dancers’ personalities and distinctive physicalities. The work is a playful interrogation of identity that probes the audience to think beyond surface appearances.

One of the UK’s most exciting visual artists, Hetain’s solo-show American Boy, a personal and humorous take on identity shape-shifting, received popular and critical acclaim, playing to sold-out audiences at Sadler’s Wells. In 2013 he was invited to do a TED talk entitled Who Am I? Think Again which has been viewed online over two million times.

Hetain approaches dance from a cross-arts background, he works with performance, installation, video, photography and sculpture, blurring the lines between theatre, gallery and film. His work is often humorous and deeply personal, allowing the audience to form an intimate connection with the performers.

Candoco Artistic-Co Director Stine Nilsen says:

Hetain’s witty and poignant work on identity and ‘otherness’ resonates with Candoco’s interest in presenting work that pushes the notion of what dance looks like and what dance can do. Hetain uses the perspective of the personal story to inspire universal empathy, and it is clear that Candoco’s diverse group of dancers strikes a resonating chord with his interest in the people in front of him. Engaging and endearing, questioning and reflective, we are certain that Hetain’s commission will bring out the individual dancers in a way our audiences have not seen before.

Watch the promo

Watch the insight film

Hetain Patel in the rehearsal room with Sarah Blanc

Production Details

  • Year: 2014
  • Concept, Choreography & Direction: Hetain Patel
  • Associate Choreographer: Lorena Randi
  • Writing: Hetain Patel with the Company
  • Lighting Design: Jackie Shemesh
  • Costume Design: Valentina Golfieri
  • Dramaturgy: Eva Martinez
  • This piece is funded by: Cockayne Foundation - Grants for the Arts and the London Community Foundation and co-commissioned by ArtsDepot
  • Choir Consultant: Dom Stichbury
  • BSL Interpretation: fingersmiths:Jean St Clair and Jeni Draper
  • Access consultant: Deepa Shastri
  • World premiere: 9 December 2014, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
  • Original cast: Tanja Erhart, Adam Gain, Andrew Graham, Mirjam Gurtner, Laura Patay, Rick Rodgers and Toke Broni Strandby
  • Running Time: 30 minutes
  • Suitability: Explores some adult themes. Contact info@candoco.co.uk for more information.


Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel is a visual artist. Since 2004, his video, photography and live works have been shown internationally to critical and popular acclaim within institutions from Tate Britain, London to the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing. Within the last two years, Hetain has done Bruce Lee impersonations on stage at the Royal Opera House, completed commissions for Tate Modern and Southbank Centre, made a Transformer robot from an old Ford Fiesta (with his dad), toured his live performance of Ten internationally (in English and French), and was invited to do a TED talk which has since been viewed globally over two million times. Hetain’s practice, exploring the subtle and often humorous complexities of identity formation, takes multiple forms, from work in galleries and theatre to the screen, the web and the page. Over the course of 2014, in addition to Hetain’s full company piece for Candoco, Hetain premiered three new commissions in London: his first animation work for his solo exhibition, At Home (Pump House Gallery); American Boy, his first ever solo performance (Sadler’s Wells); and a multiscreen video installation for Indian Classical Music festival Darbar (Southbank Centre). Hetain Patel is a Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate, and is represented by Chatterjee & Lal gallery.

Read more about Hetain’s work at his website: www.hetainpatel.com

Lorena Randi, Associate Choreographer

Lorena has been dancing most of her life. After surviving classical ballet training, she went on to get a BA (hons.) in Contemporary Dance and Choreography, at London Contemporary Dance School. She has worked extensively as a dancer. Her formative years spent with the Michael Clark Company from 1998-2006. Also dancing for Mark Morris, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Aletta Collins, Arthur Pita and Charles Linehan. She has danced in many productions for Theatre, Opera, Performance Art, Fashion and Film. Lorena initially began choreographing for music videos and film for Fashion and the Visual Arts. Including a collaboration with photographer Nick Knight and Maison Margiela on a film for Knight’s ‘showstudio’. London Contemporary Dance School have commissioned her twice for graduation pieces in 2007&9. In 2009 she began researching and developing a show with artist Martin Creed. Work1020 was performed at Edinburgh Festival in 2010 and Sadler’s Wells, London 2010 & 11. The work continues to tour to venues internationally including; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Kitchen, New York; Springdance Festival, Holland and most recently at the Southbank Centre, April 2014, as part of his retrospective exhibition at the Hayward gallery, London. Lorena has choreographed for the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, on three productions with director, Lee Blakeley. Sweeney Todd 2011, Sunday in the Park With George 2013, Into the Woods 2014. Their Sweeney Todd, will be revived for Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera in 2015. In 2012 she worked with singer Will Young, choreographing his live performances (TV and concerts) and his latest music video. She has also choreographed shoots/commercials for Stella Macartney/Adidas, Topman, Nike and EDF energy. In 2013 Lorena worked with director Sam Brown on two Operas composed by Gerald Barry, for Karlsrhue and Nancy Opera houses. Collaborating again that year in Nancy, with a production of Candide. Lorena recently performed a commissioned solo, an ‘improvised installation’ for ‘International Woman’s Day’ at the Royal Academy of Art, London. In 2014 Lorena began working with artist Hetain Patel. First on his solo show, American Boy performed at Lilian Baylis Theatre and Lets Talk About Dis, for Candoco. For her next project, she will be mentoring and collaborating with artist Nick Mauss. The performances will take place at Frieze Art Fair, October 2014.

Jackie Shemesh, Lighting Design

Jackie Shemesh is a designer of lighting and space. He originally trained at the Jerusalem School of Visual Theatre. Jackie has worked internationally in dance, theatre and music and his practice has extended into collaborations with performance and visual artists. Jackie has designed the lighting for each of Hetain’s previous live works. Other choreographers and dance companies he has worked with include: Luca Silvestrini’s Protein, Ben Duke and Lost Dog, Alexander Whitley and Balletboyz, The Batsheva Ensemble, Yasmeen Godder, Nigel Charnock and Scottish Dance Theatre.

Jackie has also designed for many theatre productions, including The Ramayana for Lyric Hammersmith and Bristol Old Vic (Director: David Farr); Parallax for Almeida Theatre (Director: Natalie Abrahami); The Beloved for The Young Vic, Bush Theatre and Shiber Hur (Director: Amir Nizar Zuabi); As You Like It for Curve Leicester (Director: Time Supple). Other collaborations include the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and a several projects with artists Phil Collins, Susanne Sachess and Yael Bartana.

Valentina Golfieri, Costume Design

Valentina is a London based performer, choreographer and designer. She is a member of Protein Dance Company, for whom she works as performer and rehearsal director. She also works regularly with Arthur Pita as performer and assistant director and has also performed for Frauke Requardt, Will Tuckett, Clod Ensemble, David Rosenberg, Dam Van Huynh amongst others. Her choreographic work has been presented at the Royal Opera House, The Place, Wilton’s Music Hall and London Graduate Fashion Week. Her interest in fashion and design, coming from a family of haberdashers, is a key feature of her choreographic and creative work. Valentina has designed costumes for Sally Marie’s Sweetshop Revolution production Tree, Protein Dance’s Border Tales and XOXO, Frauke Requardt’s Dancing in Libraries and Night Time for Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s Postgraduate Company Verve13, as well as Bell and Golfieri’s productions That Was the Time I Stopped and I Just Close My Eyes: Here Are The Devils.


fingersmiths is a bi-lingual theatre company working in British Sign Language and English. Their multi layered approach to language and physical expression allows for different perspectives to be presented, adding depth and meaning to the stories being told. Their recent tour of Frozen by Bryony Lavery, a co production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre was critically acclaimed and played to sold out houses. Jean St Clair’s extensive acting career has involved working internationally and in the West End as well as on film and TV. She was recently awarded Best Actress for her role in Louis Neethling’s film Still Here. She also works as a creative BSL consultant in the arts. Jeni Draper has also worked nationally and internationally as an actress. This year she has directed shows in London and Bristol. She is also a qualified sign language interpreter specialising in working in the arts


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